I’m into fitness, take nine: What keeps me going

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About 90 pounds later. From 305 at the beginning of 2010 to 215 in September 2011.

A few weeks ago, I was having one of those days as I headed into the gym. I’d just finished a three-mile run and was dripping with sweat, completely exhausted. Forty minutes of lifting weights and 10 minutes of situps ranked about 1,567th on the list of things I wanted to do, right behind watching an “Oprah” marathon.

As I headed upstairs, dreading the workout, I noticed a guy in a wheelchair lifting weights hardcore. Suddenly, my workout seemed pretty easy. I don’t know the guy, have no clue who he is. But he’s at the gym often, and I respect the hell out of that.

My point is, everything happens for a reason. The day I was dreading my workout, being negative, that was a clear message. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what shape you’re in – get in the gym and get your work in.

I’m not exactly the smallest guy in the gym. But I’m not the biggest anymore, either. For those of you who aren’t in shape and worrying about people judging you in the gym, I can tell you right now that nobody is. I’ve learned that the past few months. In fact, I’ve learned that people respect the effort.

STICKING WITH IT

One of the most common questions people ask me is, “How do you keep going?” or “How do you stay motivated?” Here are a few things that keep me going:

Compliments

I know it sounds ridiculous, but one of the big reasons I lift weights is to show the girlfriend new-found muscles.

Forget about losing weight without a support system. It’s just not going to happen. We all need help. I have been overwhelmed with the support and kind words from friends, family, even the Facebook community.

“He has this attitude … ‘I’m awesome’ … and that’s cool because he is awesome”: That’s from the girlfriend’s sister, a longtime friend from high school. When the girlfriend told me this, I immediately thought how great a compliment it is. Not because I think it’s true (it is, I am awesome), but because I’m projecting that attitude. It’s a direct result of working out and eating healthy. It’s the complete opposite of what I used to project. And I can’t thank her enough for saying it.

“You look taller, Uncle Ernie,” and “You look small, Uncle Ernie”: From my nephews. If kids notice it … I think that says a ton.

There have been other compliments from my mom and dad, and I could fill 500 pages writing about the sweet things my wonderful girlfriend says. I already feel pretentious writing the above. Let’s just say all these words of inspiration keep me going.

Fear

It has such a negative connotation, but fear can be a good thing. What do I fear? Looking like this again …

Right before moving to Tulsa in 2011. I remember taking the tag off this photo when my friend Andi posted it on Facebook because I was so embarrassed.

The fear of being that guy, unhealthy, lazy, negative, tired, boring, is plenty of motivation. There’s also the fear of not looking good and dying young. The latter was a very real possibility a few years ago.

The scale

I know, I know. They say you should step on the scale once a week. I just can’t do it. I’m on that damn thing at least once a day, sometimes three times a day (in the morning, after my workout, then before bed).

If the numbers move the wrong direction, it makes me work harder. If the numbers move in the right direction, it makes me work harder. If the numbers stay the same, like they have the last three weeks … it simply pisses me off. But I’m not going to give up.

PROGRESS REPORT

The weight loss has slowed a bit, but I can run a 5K now. Chicka Chicka yeeeah.

I hit the 90-pounds-lost milestone early this week, which means I’m about 35 pounds short of my goal weight. The progress has been slow of late. I’m clearly plateauing. The girlfriend thinks I’m putting on muscle. She might be right.

I’ll learn more next week at my fitness evaluation. I’m looking forward to some tips on new workouts. If that means trying something other than running … I’m OK with that.

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