Ugly When Naked – Struggles of a Fitness Community

It’s kind of ironic that I’m writing on anything to do with fitness. Without a doubt, there are quite literally thousands upon thousands of sport/health braniacs far better qualified (and way more suitable to the task) of documenting fitness journeys than a dumb chud like me. I have spent no time studying “the body” (unless you count the annual SI swimsuit issue, cough, cough….and maybe others….) or investigating proper, peer-reviewed, bon fide research into the latest findings on sport nutrition. In fact, all I’ve ever really learned diet-wise is that pooping scarlet for two days is not necessarily proof of an internal hemorrhage (thank you so much, red beets). I’m a terrible fitness example. But it gets worse.

Fitness Assessment Scarring

As embarrassing as it is to admit, there are darn few weirdo diet/exercise/workout schemes in existence that I have not considered (or even tried) over the course of my life. Truly, no idea or suggestion was too loony or whacked out for me. If it promised a body like a superhero I was there, ready and willing to believe. Now, in my own defense, this clearly self-destructive journey mainly started when I decided to try acting. That led to having my body assayed by a Hollywood casting director. Bad enough that his job by its very nature is fairly surface-oriented – he’s casting for a physical “look,” not a healthy self-image – and it’s not his business to worry about how said look comes about. Also, for the record, I will note that said casting director was gay. I say this not as some affront to anything but rather to highlight the additional damage inflicted on my psyche. Specifically, let’s just say actresses aren’t the only ones who get to feel icky and uncomfortable as they disrobe for an “assessment.”

Fitness Magic Bullets?

I did the weights, I did the running, I did the stairs, I did the bikes. I had classes focused on the ball, I had classes focused on the Bosu. I Soloflex-ed, I Abflex-ed, I abcrunch-ed. I watched Tony Little gazelle and Susan Powter stop the insanity. There was Kathy Smith, Billy Blanks, Body by Jake, Richard Simmons and more. I ate only red food, I ate only white food. I tried to think myself slim, I tried to smell myself thin (really, a pack of markers they tell you to sniff…..). I purchased Slim Fast in oil drum size and drank water by the pail. I starved myself of fat and gorged myself on cauliflower. I ran around the block wearing a black, plastic garbage bag. I even came to view the stomach flu as a weight-loss opportunity. I was (is? am?) a mess.
The really scary part is that a lot of this ridiculous stuff actually worked – at least for a time. But success never lasted long enough to ever adopt anything once and for all. More often than not I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t even the “scheme” at fault – it was me. I wonder if they somehow knew I would do that?
Living with this kind of mental chaos takes a lot of energy and usually leaves one facing the kind of depression no one needs. Success – in anything – requires hard work, discipline and more than a little personal denial. It doesn’t matter if the challenge in question is your body, your career, your family or getting a better cell phone contract.

Confession from the Fitness Community

Yeah, I can talk the talk, even as I sit within two feet of a garbage can littered with the discarded wrappers of items that should never have passed my lips. I know that each bite is a total rejection of the hard-ass work I’m putting in every day. Why do I defeat and frustrate the positive actions I am struggling to maintain? I don’t know – I’m weak, I’m lazy, I’m bothered about something else? The concentric circles that spin (and collide) within me each day are no better, worse or different than anyone else’s but it remains a fact that I’m the only one equipped to manage them.
Look, I feel like a tool admitting all the dumb things I’ve done or tried in an attempt to lose weight or get fit but I also know I’m not alone. Tons of us face this test every day. It’s not easy, no matter what anyone says. But worthwhile things are usually hard. Hmm….maybe it isn’t so ironic that I’m writing about this stuff after all.

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