Fat Richard is my name. I call myself Fat Richard so people won’t call me that behind my back. And yes, I stole that line from a movie.
All this talk about the high obesity rate in Tooele County finally hit me hard after working at the Transcript-Bulletin for the past five months. I’ve been a tubby-tub for more than half of my life, and I work in an office of health-conscious folks.
The way they go on about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, coupled with the stories written about the county’s high obesity rate, got to me. Over the past few weeks, dating back to Super Bowl Sunday, I started eating better and exercising.
Forward I’ve pressed to go from zero to hero — much like my personal hero Kevin James. Looking to his example, I too can go from Paul Blart to UFC fighter.
At least that’s the goal, anyway. Too often I hear my boss say things like “If I didn’t race bicycles, I’d be in serious trouble” and cringe because it takes extra effort on my part just to do a few pushups. I’ve always had the desire to be healthy, but I just haven’t been able to overcome whatever it is that’s holding me back.
For years, my motivation behind changing my eating habits and exercising usually centered around becoming a sexy beast to women, and that motivation always died quickly. Unfortunately, I can’t say my motivations have changed much, but I feel like something is different this time around.
A friend of mine in St. George said something important that I haven’t taken to heart all that often. He said, “Take it one day at a time.”
This guy ran the St. George Marathon in October and is currently training for a triathlon. He fits the mold of a healthy individual and is someone I admire and aspire to be like. Part of my problem has always been not taking a lifestyle change one day at a time, which is why I fail.
Friends really do make a difference when attempting to change. My two roommates have kept me accountable, and it feels good when I’m able to say “Yes, I went running today” or “Yes, I played basketball today — full court.” I’ve also had to reply that I hadn’t exercised, and that feeling makes my stomach churn worse than when I eat something splendidly awful.
Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in December 2011 and came back just nine months later to have one of the best seasons for a running back in NFL history, winning the Most Valuable Player award. If he can do that, then the least I can do is perform 50 squat thrusts (by the way, those were the worst things I’ve ever done. It took me an entire week to move my legs again properly).
There’s another problem I run into. I compare myself to others. That should be rule No. 1 for us fat people trying to change our lives: Don’t worry about what other people are doing. We need to take our victories where we can get them. Right now, simply not eating fast food and making an effort to get my heart rate moving and breaking a sweat are my victories. Eventually, I hope to have victories on a grander scale.
Food and exercise have never lined up together when I try to change my life. When I got on a big exercise kick, like playing high school football, I couldn’t set down the cheeseburger. But when I decided to eat better foods, I couldn’t get my fat butt to even jog in place. The past month is the closest I’ve been to consistently doing both parts of living a healthy lifestyle, although admittedly, consistent exercise has been the more difficult of the two this time around.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have made it this far with eating right foods and exercising, but I know I still have a long way to go. Turning myself around to live a healthy lifestyle is a lot like baseball season for a pitcher. There will be a few days where I’ll have no-hitter stuff, and then I’ll have a few days where I’ll throw nothing but junk. It’s what I do with the days in between that will decide whether I win a Cy Young Award or get shipped to the minor leagues. I just need to remember my friend’s advice:
“Take it one day at a time.”