An introduction to the weight loss mentality
By: The Icon Diet Reader
After a particularly grueling workout I find myself sitting in the steam room taking stock of my aching body. I spent the last hour of my life breaking down my muscle fibers, forcing them to rebuild. I spent the last hour of my life sweating my way through a few hundred gut wrenching ab exercises. My shoulders, pecs and triceps are warm and slightly numb with fatigue. My abs are a whole zone of dull ache. Not only does my body ache but my ego has been busied as well. I am by no means like most of the hard bodies I see at the gym. They float into the gym wearing several hundred dollars worth of high fashion fitness gear. Most of the people at my gym start to look better as they sweat. To me, it looks like they come to the gym to show off the temple of their bodies. Each and every movement they make is a declaration of pride.
They come to the gym to maintain. I come to the gym to renovate. I don't look glamorous when I sweat. With every successive exercise I do, my face becomes more flushed and I look every more maniacal. My baggy old work out clothes - last summers painting shorts and a ratty tee- become plastered to my body. My body may be a temple now, but in a past life it was a condemned building facing a wrecking ball.
I Lean my head back and take a deep breath. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Of course by the time I exhale, the answer is clear in my mind.
Up until a year and a half ago I worked in an office, buried from the world behind a computer. I sat in the same ergonomic chair for most of my forty hour work week. The chair is a point of interest because it is designed by highly educated people to make the act of sitting for long periods more comfortable. It's as though they know that I spend my life stuck in a chair and by making it comfortable, I will be blind to it. My chair, in my office. I drank my pop there, ate my junk food there and I put on about thirty pounds there.
While not a huge amount of weight to gain, the thirty pounds came on top of an already out of shape body. Realistically speaking, a year and a half ago, I was at least forty pounds overweight.
I only really became aware of it when I noticed myself in a wedding photo. I looked like a man who was carrying an extra forty pounds. I looked like hell.
Denial is a wonderful thing. When I first became aware that I no longer had the boyish figure I once had, I simply ignored it. I told myself that the changes were only minor and not really that noticeable.
Denial is only a temporarily wonderful thing. Six months later, I went to buy jeans for myself and discovered that my waist had grown by about four inches. My initial reaction was that the clothing line had changed their sizing practice. But after hitting a few different shops, it was clear that there was no size conspiracy; my waist had grown. It was only by the grace of modern technology and the miracle of stretch fabrics that my current pants still fit me. I was embarrassed. I felt shameful. I felt awful. I ate a pizza.
When I got up I decided that I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to be leaner and fitter. I wanted to look like an underwear model, tight tank top synched across a bulging set of abs, leg muscles carved up into well defined portions of muscular geography. Well, at least leaner and fitter. That was a year ago.
I started to dig around and do some research. My first radical decision was to cut out the junk food. Not a tremendous step, but it forced me to learn how to cook in record time. Just cutting out the junk food evened out my caloric intake. Quite by fluke I may add. My weight gain slowed to the point of stopping all together. The most remarkable thing about cutting the junk was the way my body responded. I actually felt better; more up beat, even cool. Psychologically I felt better because I was doing something about my health; I was actively improving my life.
I was thinking about this while daydreaming at the office. I really do work hard, but everyone has their moments. Anyway, I was daydreaming at the office thinking about my active participation in shaping my life. When the full weight of it came down on me (no pun intended). This epiphany came in two parts. Number one; it was my life. Number two; up until recently it had been passing me by in a most unsightly fashion. I sat bolt upright in my ergonomically designed chair, my eyes darting about the office with a fire and intensity not seen in me since winning the regional bicycle safety rally in grade three. I had decided that enough was enough.
Life is a term to describe the sum total of our actions before we die. Life describes every single interaction we have with our environment, its people and places. Put another way, life is all the time we have to do everything. Eat, sleep, meet that special someone, move to the suburbs, get a hobby, drive the kids to soccer, play darts at the pub, join the PTA, go fishing, visit Vegas, go shopping, eat sushi, burn a toss salad and retire. That's life. The real eye opener is that for most of us, we choose how to spend our lives. We make choices that fill up our life. Even more poignant is the fact the many of us make choices that have a negative impact on our capacity to enjoy our lives, even end them prematurely.
I sat stock still in my chair swaying ever so slightly. The earth had moved and a change was afoot.
Sometimes in the comfort of my own home, in front of the bathroom mirror I recount this story to myself. Out loud. I tell my self how after realizing the fragility of my own mortality I rose from my chair, a pillar of renewed strength. How I marched, head held high, into the boss's office and gave them a peace of my mind right before throwing my resignation on their desk. How I joined peace corp. and lived a life of adventure and danger helping those in need; a variable modern-day Robin Hood.
And then I smile and realize that each time I tell the story to myself, it gets better and better. The story is true right up to the point where I tell off my boss. Everything else is poetic license en mass. But the fact is I did have a radical shift in thinking. I did want to be able to enjoy my life. I wanted to make positive choices. So I hit the books.
I dug around the internet for diet and lifestyle help. I came across a whole mess of fad diets, miracle solutions and countless pills, tinctures and supplements. I examined all the hip diets and went through them with a fine tooth comb. Each one of them promising much but lacking even more. None of them really presented me with the tools needed to reshape not just my diet, but my lifestyle as well.
I came across the Icon Diet at when I was close to my wits end. I came at it with all the bias I had acquired over the course of my research. I was jaded and pessimistic. I figured that to really make a difference I would have to design a program for myself - which I really did not look forward to. I was wrong.
I found in the Icon Diet, a means to an end. So I bought the guide and through my self head long into its instruction.
So as I sit in the steam room with my muscles aching and my body sore, I know exactly why I am here. More importantly I know exactly how I got here. They say that power is knowledge. It's true, but knowledge is also a great way to kick yourself in the butt. I know that because of what I have learned I will be back in the gym in couple of days. I know that my muscles will ache again. I have not quit my job. But that's about all that has remained. I focus my life and energy on making positive choices. I want my life to be about growth and learning. In no way do I want to short change myself. My life is a finite, non renewable resource and I want to fill it with good things. I know that I have a long way to go meet my own goals. I know that there will be many more days with aching muscles. But I take comfort in the fact that I am moving towards a greater good; moving one step closer to being an underwear model.
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