I was going through my facebook page and found this pic of me from 2009. It was a bit weird to see. Although I felt fine at the time, I didn’t realize how much weight I was carrying. Granted, it is not the most important thing in the world, and having recently moved to San Jose, I had more pressing concerns at the time – finding employment, friends, etc. I don’t recall just how much I weighed back then, all I knew was that I felt okay. I felt attractive, but didn’t have confidence. I thought I was cute, but really didn’t seem to have the guts to approach guys.
So in 2009, I got a gym membership to YMCA. I had been working out off and on for several years prior, but never on a steady schedule, and never really paying much attention to diet. So this time around, I promised myself that, at the very least, I would continue to work out, even if setbacks, and other things, like depression or self-pity, hit. So forging ahead, I worked out off and on for a while, not really having a goal. Well, I suppose the goal was to have fun, since working out seemed to always get boring very fast. So I took myself to task to make my workouts interesting. Pushing myself to go further was a pretty fun goal. First a couple miles on the treadmill, then a couple more. I would race myself to burn more calories faster. I then gave myself the goal of getting to 365 calories before I left the gym. It seemed like it took forever the first couple times I did that, but soon found myself pushing that goal higher. First to 365 Calories in 30 minutes, then 400. And 450, 500, 525, 650. These were arbitrary goals and numbers. I didn’t really know why I chose these goals, but they felt like milestones for some reason, and so I’d feel accomplished by the time I left the gym.
So having seemed to have conquered cardio, or so it felt, I needed more. I didn’t want to spend all that time in the gym only to maintain my weight. I wanted to lose weight. I have never been skinny, so this was a very seductive goal for me – lose the weight, and change the way I looked. (Never mind the inside stuff – haha, this is the gym after all, not the therapists office.) So I spoke with a personal trainer, who showed me some new exercises. I was starting to get the hang of this workout thing.
Soon, I was getting too old to keep paying the young adult’s rate at the YMCA, which meant a big increase in my monthly fees (from $20 to $55!) So I needed to find a new place to workout. I had a lot of stress from my job at the time, and decided to take it out at a local self-defense club (Academy of Self-Defense in Santa Clara – check it out, it was really fun). It was really intense, and I always looked forward to a killer workout. I really enjoyed being able to punch the punching bags and think of everything that I didn’t like i the world. It was cathartic and a great way to de-stress. I got bruises almost everywhere I can think of… lol, and must have had bloody knuckles for months. I even got a fat lip and black eye at one point. It was that same week that I was to be on TV in an interview. So I decided either I really needed to block better, or go back to the regular gym. I wasn’t sure how other people managed to not have the same issue from time to time. I felt defeated and embarrassed. But I didn’t want to give up. I decided to get a membership at 24 hour fitness, at a lot cheaper rate than YMCA. So I started getting back into the cardio groove.
I started working out with my friend Brian, and traded workout tips. He was quite athletic since he was a kid, so I definitely learned a lot about lifting weights from him. I would scour the internet for new workouts and for eating tips and would share what I learned with Brian, and we’d try out the workouts. Sharing tips with each other really gave us motivation to keep trying, despite life showing up for both of us. So after a year and a half, we ran a half-marathon, and would have some really killer workouts, trying the TRX straps, crazy workout routines, killing ourselves on the treadmill and elliptical, and rewarding ourselves with the gym jacuzzi (and the occasional tan – please don’t judge, it was actually really fun).
It is now 2012, and almost 2013. I have lost weight, and gained weight, built muscle, and lost muscle, ate well, ate a lot, ate very little, and now eating differently still. I have always loved pasta, and even when I am eating “healthy” I always managed to work pasta into the equation. I felt like I deserved it for all my efforts at the gym. I’m working on that now, and trying to collect and compile all the TONS of info about healthy eating that inundates me every time I look up. A diet that works, has to work for me, else I won’t do it. So I take all the info with a grain of salt (well not literally, too much salt is bad for you… lol). I have found that diet has made up for a lot that working out has yet to accomplish. I still have some work to go there, but I feel like I’m doing ok for now.
I was never a popular kid in school. I was an outcast. I was the slightly chubby, shy, geeky, gay boy who people tended to make fun of. I didn’t usually hate the way I looked, but tended to hate the way others made me feel. I blamed them for my low self-esteem. I wanted someone to blame. All this working out has made me only slightly more self-assured. But all the exterior work will not necessarily fix the insides. It merely gave me a boost, and something I could rely on. I have always felt that I have lacked discipline. I wanted to join the military at the age of 18, but was too scared to do it, given what I had heard about how they treated gay people. I wanted the discipline that came with being of service. I have always respected that. I want to have respect and be respected. But alas, it was not in the cards. I still to this day want to join the ranks of the revered and the honorable. Well, sometimes, the sacrifices we make, are the ones that allow for other sacrifices to be made. With a future in non-profit work, I don’t see myself as merely taking up space. But if I could ever find a way to join the army at this point I probably would in a heartbeat. Oh well. So seeking a path which leads to strength and confidence, I push myself in every way I can. I constantly find myself giving up, but I go back, I regroup, I don’t ever give up. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I’d rather die that submit to all the fear. I really don’t have a choice. Redefine success, and I can achieve it any day of the week.