Saturday, January 3, 2009

The trip that you never come back from

I have a good friend who has struggled with his weight for most of his life. He recently informed that he's trying to get back on the wagon and with dieting alone, he's already dropped several pounds. I'm happy for his progress but I was disappointed when I saw him walking out the door with a bag of KFC take-out. Unfortunately, I don't think he's going to stick with it.

I'm not trying to sound like a naysayer but I don't think he, like many others, has ever been truly serious about losing the weight. Part of the problem is the notion of going on a diet. If you want to get fit and stay healthy then there's nothing temporary about it. It's a permanent change and you're never going back. Getting healthy isn't a trip or a vacation. It doesn't have an endpoint where you can go back to the way that you used to eat. If anything, it's an exile. It's a trip that you never come back from.

One of the cruel tricks that your fat cells play on your plans is that you can always make new ones but you never get rid of the old ones. When you get into shape, you just deplete them of their stores. If you fall off the wagon, they are still there, ready to absorb the incoming fat. So, the price you pay for building up those fat cells is eternal vigilance. You will always have to watch how much you eat.

Oh, and don't be surprised by how little cheat food it takes to provoke fat gain. Remember my other friend that I've blogged about? After two kids, she can notice her pants getting tight after just two bad days of eating. You don't get to decide what is enough bad food that you can eat and get away with. Your body does that for you.

Plus, don't even think for a second that you can lose weight without exercise. That is a lazy, half-ass way of thinking that will only work for so long. Even if you take off the weight, I'll bet that you'll be left with a body that will disappoint you. Plus, extra muscle gain and conditioning goes a long way towards keeping a healthy body weight. While muscle-building and strengthening exercises don't burn copious amounts of fat, they do help use up the calories that you're taking in. It takes far more calories to maintain a pound of healthy muscle mass than it does to maintain a pound of fat cells.

So, don't look at this lifestyle change as a temporary fix. You'll always fail that way. Get yourself into a place where you realize that the changes that you make in the way that you live are going to be permanent. There's no shortcut and there's no endpoint. It's like the title of this entry says: you're never going back. You don't have to like it, but I can guarantee that sooner or later, it won't matter. You won't have to like it, you'll have to do it!


Anonymous said...

If your friend with the KFC doesn't over indulge in the side orders, and mainly sticks to eating the chicken -- if his digestive system is anything like mine -- that chicken won't be in his intestines long enough to get properly digest into fat cells...if you know what I mean. (wink)

Anonymous said...

I think that your friend is someone that needs daily motivation to keep him focusing on his goals...
Thing is you pay for everything in life....for an example if you want to be a bjj world champion you must have to pay the price to achieve this goal, becuase if everything in life is priceless life woudn't mean anything....
just my 2 cents.

-workout warrior

Anonymous said...

Try the Charles Atlas course at and find out that anyone can get fit. All they need is a will.