Why am I fat? Part 2 in a series.

If you fail, it’s your own goddamn fault

When is the last time you heard someone say “I was doing great on my diet, but then some maniac kidnapped me, tied me down, put a gun to my head, forced me to eat a dozen pieces of pizza, and told me that if I ate anything healthy ever again he was going to kill me and my whole family”? Never, right? Because that would be insane. But it would probably also make for a blockbuster rom-com.

How about “I was doing great on my diet, but then I ruined it by having a couple of Oreos, so I said fuck it and ate two extra large pizzas and a tub of ice cream and I’m a failure so I’m just not going to bother any more”? It happens, a lot. And it’s just as insane.

I partially blame this all-or-nothing 110%-all-the-goddamn-time attitude on society and the media, but that’s a rant for another time. Perfection is the enemy of progress.

Unfortunately, I personally still prefer cheesecake to broccoli, and probably always will. So I’ve had to figure out ways to let myself have the things I love without turning into a cheap parody of Jabba the Hutt, but without the hot slavegirl (note: I am accepting applications for the currently vacant position of slavegirl. The Contact Us link on the left works just fine). It turns out that staying on track most of the time but still letting yourself indulge a little occasionally is a lot more maintainable and fun than the 110% on/off mentality that many people seem to have.

When you fail, when you give up, it’s your own goddamn fault. When you quit, that is your choice. No one else’s. You were lazy.

You decided that “this is just too hard, and I don’t care enough” and that change was less important than comfort. And if that is what you want to do and be, own it. Don’t blame anyone else, and don’t make up excuses. If you are going to be a fat, lazy slob, be the best goddamn fat lazy slob that you can be. Don’t let anyone make you be less fat or lazy. Who gives a shit about health anyways, right? But you haven’t failed until you quit.

If it’s worth doing, you will push through the discomfort of changing things. You will look at the habits that cause you to fail, and work on changing them. Oh, and that whole “21 days to form a habit” thing you hear all the time? Mostly bullshit. Research1 suggests that takes somewhere between 18 to 254 days to form a solid habit, with an average of 66 days for fairly simple ones.

So, give it three months. At least. And if you eat an extra oreo cookie? That’s about an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill or exercise bike. If you eat two entire pizzas and a tub of ice cream? That’s two weeks worth of hard work and dedication wiped out. Either way, you can choose to do one of two things afterwards: fail, or pick yourself up and continue. You haven’t failed until you quit. So don’t quit right now, no matter if you slipped a bit or not. Sleep on it first.

But if you choose to fail, don’t blame someone else. Figure out what it is inside you that made you choose to fail. And maybe work on that first. You can always give it another shot later.

It’s your choice.


Footnotes:
  1. Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998–1009. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.674

Examine.com is having a birthday!

I really don’t want this to turn into the kind of place where we push products. But examine.com is really really awesome. They are without a doubt the best and most reliable unbiased resource for learning about supplements and vitamins and how they relate to the human body.

And in celebration of them turning 4 this year (they grow up so FAST!), they are having a sale.  You can get any of their products for 40% off. And they are worth it. So you should consider doing that.

Why am I fat? Part 1 in a series.

You are fat because you choose to be, and you are the cause of all your problems

You know the saying that goes something like “the one constant in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you”? Well, it’s true about relationships, and it’s true about fitness.

You might actually be genetically predisposed to being fat. I expect that most of us are, if only because we evolved to survive in times of scarcity, when it wasn’t possible to waddle to the fridge and grab a bottle of sugar water that would cover the caloric requirements of a small third-world village for a week.

I was a fat kid. Not morbidly obese or anything, but I was definitely the guy who got picked dead last in PE class for absolutely everything that didn’t involve math. So, everything. I hated exercise and thought it was basically a special form of cruel and unusual torture that was only good at keeping me away from my books. I also loved food – and still do, actually. This means that I was always predisposed to be a little on the hefty side. My dad has always been a fair bit overweight, so it’s not something I ever thought much of.

Vegetables were a thing that showed up on the plate and I did my best to avoid. I’m sure my parents (Hi, mom!) had some vague idea of what a proper “balanced” diet looked like, but I was always a fan of “garbage” foods. I’m also sure if you take pretty much any single parent in the world who is just trying to do their best, and give them the choice between fighting for an hour or two with a stubborn kid over a couple of pieces of cauliflower or just letting them eat most of their food and skip dessert instead of eating the goddamn cauliflower, they’re gonna pick the easy route so that they don’t go to jail for killing their children.

I ate a lot of crap as a kid, especially once I reached middle/high school age and was allowed to deal with my own lunches. Two packs of instant noodles per day? Check. Cheezies, ice cream, ALL THE CAKE? Check. So, my parents tried. They really did. It’s not their fault that I was a willful little shit and just did what I wanted.

I’ve always joked that I should have “poor impulse control” tattooed on my forehead as a warning to others. For a lot of years I thought that “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to excess.” So, I was fat. Never ridiculously so, though I really don’t know why (unlike a certain lazy fuck that I know. Get off your ass and back on the bike, House).

And who’s fault was it? Was it my dad’s, who gave me the dreaded “fat gene”? Was it either of my parents, who would just decide that after an hour of screaming back and forth with me that it wasn’t worth fighting any more? Was it the government, that didn’t beat proper and simple nutrition information into the heads of it’s citizens? Was it the food industry, that has become really really good at giving us what we want – delicious foods with salt and sweet and fat? No. It was my own. No one put a gun to my head and told me to eat the cake. If someone tried to do that, I would be totally OK with it, because that meant I could eat their slice too.

I was, and am, the source of all my problems. You are the source of all of your problems. The only one who can work on them is you.

Life dealt you a shitty hand? That sucks, bro. Guess what, you’re still doing better than at least 50% of the population just by being able to be in a position to read this. “Bad genes”? Ditto. I think it’s called being human – well over 50% of the upper part of my family tree is between slightly and quite hefty.

It might not be completely, or even mostly, your own fault that you got into the position you’re in. But the only person keeping you in the place that you are in is you. If you want to complain about being morbidly obese while swilling down a 500oz Ultra-Mega-Super-Diabeetus-Gulp and stuffing your face with cake, you need to understand that it’s your own damn fault. You are the source of all of your dissatisfying choices and decisions.

You have the ability to change things if you want to. It’s all at your fingertips. The only person holding you back is yourself.

Isn’t that awesome? I think it is.

PS: If you are part of the approximately 1% of the population that has a medical condition that makes it literally impossible to maintain a healthy weight, I’m sorry for your situation, and this advice is not meant for you. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Talk to one of them. No, seriously. You should do that.

PPS: Here’s a hint: stop thinking about it as “I AM fat” but rather “I HAVE fat.” One is a state of being that feels immutable. One is something that you can do something about. Your choice.

In which we test the website things, and link you to awesome

Greg Nuckols knows his shit. Lincoln had the pleasure of chatting with him about all things fitness not too long ago, and it was super helpful and informative.

He wrote some books. They’re on sale as a pre-sale thing. You should consider getting them. Because they are awesome. Check them out by clicking right –>here<–.

Lincoln already pre-ordered the books, isn’t getting anything to post this, and is having trouble writing in the third person.

Go forth, and be awesome. Regular posting begins tomorrow morning!