I don't understand my body.

A recently as Monday I was pushing 270. I was depressed, frustrated with my lack of progress and positive motivation. The whole "inability to afford the direct assistance from a trainer" thing was a much more crushing blow than I had expected -- and combined with other things going on in my world put me in a place where reuben sandwiches and take out pizza seemed like my best comfort.

But then something interesting happened -- one of my coworkers started to disappear.

A while back this guy had come to me and started talking up this meal plan his brother was on -- one that had helped said brother to lose over 100 pounds.

I suppose I should have listened, especially given the results the brother was getting -- but I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who's been approached with suggestions of ways to lose weight -- which I'm sure are given with good intentions, but frequently feel like people are saying, "Hey, you're fat -- you'll be interested in this."

Meal plan diets have been around for a while, and they seem to be pretty effective -- but like so many of the other things I've tried to get involved with lately the cost of the thing was a problem.

I couldn't afford to help myself. It felt like a money scam, and I had no proof it was actually effective (how did I know the brother wasn't a workout fiend or had a dormant high metabolism?). So I let it go.

But then the coworker began to radically lose weight. His head literally looked smaller. This was a big guy, and shit was working for him.

So I asked for deeper details -- the cost is still high, but the basic idea was the same. Limit calorie intake (pretty radically -- only 1100 calories allowed a day) and balance this change out with vitamin and mineral supplements. Meals were sent to you in the mail to prepare, and someone called every week to check progress and lend assistance. Sounds pretty cool, if you can pay for it.

Still, the idea seemed pretty solid. Limit calories to a specific number.

Add this to my friend James getting me hooked up with Loseit.com (despite a few problems getting the smartphone app to work) and I'm off.

Tracking calories with the site is easy enough, and it's led to some interesting revelations (soup = good, steak n' shake = beyond horrible for me) -- but four days of tracking numbers and eating more soup should in no way had led to almost 6 pounds of weight lost.

I'll take the number, but I have no idea where it came from.


257 (and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee)

I haven't really posted anything here since before I went for my tour/visit with the trainer -- although I have been doing a weekly email weigh-in with a friend, sort of a "where are you at?" type thing that's set on keeping you honest, even if it's only for the possibility of having someone you trust play straight with you, furrow their virtual brow, and kick you in the ass if you decide to slack.

I think in a sense that's what I wanted when I went to the trainer. I can admit now that even before I set the appointment I was pretty sure I couldn't afford it, but "personal training" is one of the few avenues to this goal that I haven't ever tried -- largely because of the cost, and I think in my mind because I'd never had a chance at it I was starting to think of it as some sort of "magic bullet."

In other words, the only path I hadn't really tried yet (short of surgery or finding a magic lamp) is having some skinny person standing next to me encouraging me, correcting me, keeping at me, and furrowing their brow and kicking me in the ass when I try to slack.

So even though I can fully attest that the Jacksonville HIT Center is full of cool gadgets and alternate workout tools (the impression I get is that it's a program built off professional sports cross-training techniques) -- like huge boat mooring ropes you're supposed to whip around for a full-body workout, sand pits, trapeze wires that suspend you from the wall, speed skating simulators, huge tank-tread sized treadmills that you tethered yourself to with a rope so that as it moved forward for your feet it actually pulled backwards on you to increase resistance, full body scanners and diagnostic equipment, yada yada yada --

The real reason I went was to see what it would be like to have a trainer.

I mean when you think about it, even though the equipment in the place is sort of non-traditional, if there was no one there telling you what to do or checking your form -- it wouldn't really be any different from a regular gym, where there's all sorts of tools and machines available -- but only your own personal sense of motivation and understanding to get any use out of them at all.

Most gyms just throw you out to the wolves. I specifically quit the last place I paid a membership too because it became apparent to me about a month in that all the fat people were on one side of the place huffing away pointlessly on treadmills, while all the fit people were on the other side using equipment that my "one free session with a trainer" person had never, ever shown me how to use.

Put me in a sandpit or load me down with boat ropes without any help at all and I'm pretty sure I'd get nowhere fast (which is pretty much how I tend to feel with most nautilus machines and the like). What I really wanted was that skinny bitch in the $300 Reeboks who looks like she's never even seen a chili dog in her life telling me exactly why fucking around with ropes was helpful in the first place and how to do the exercise correctly.

The girl who gave me the tour/sales pitch seemed nice enough, but the more I saw (the place is 3 times bigger than it looks from the outside) the more I knew the inevitable truth, which came almost instantly the moment she opened the pricing book.

To take part in this program would cost more a month that I'm currently paying in rent.

It was crushing. Even though I expected sticker shock, what I wasn't expecting was to see the place literally full of people, many of them kids and teenagers -- and then have it made clear that I couldn't afford to be one of them. That this sort of dedicated "guaranteed to work" system was simply not for people like me.

I went in there thinking I'd confirm that the whole thing was a luxury that might be nice to have, but was just out of my reach, especially with the holidays coming around the corner.

What I got was a room full of people confirming beyond a doubt that I was poor.

And I know that when you get down to it all you need is a pair of running shoes and a belly full of fire. I know that all you really need is the right sort of motivation, and you can turn anything into an effective workout. I know that I can get exercise equipment cheap and used, I can go to the gym at my apartment, all that stuff.

That's not the point.
..That's not the point at all.

It was this feeling I got from the look in the trainer/salesgirl's eyes that made me feel like I was the first person she'd ever met who didn't simply reach into their wallet and say "Well hell if it's that cheap, maybe I should get the bonus plan too."

Who has this kind of money to throw on a gym membership/training package?

..Not me, that's who.

It was a moment that passed pretty quickly (it's not like I don't already know that I'm living check to check) but it's one of those slap in the face type feelings you don't expect, especially when you walk into a place looking for help.

About an hour after all that -- I stopped at a store near my house and bought a $7 jump rope.

..Still haven't used it yet.



Sometime this week I'm going to meet with a trainer and tour this highly-touted fitness center here in town. When I went in last week, all I wanted was a price list -- but they wouldn't give me one without taking the tour first (which means it's probably too expensive anyways).

I've been in a money crunch lately, so I'm not even really sure why I'm following through with this -- because unless it's like five bucks a month it's probably not gonna happen, so it's sort of a weird thing all over.

I've been trying to eat better, but work's been insane lately and between the skipped lunches and the stress I've been coming home and just binging on anything I can find. Not a good pattern.

The good news (if you can call it that) is that I'm still pretty much in the same range I've been in for a while, which is nowhere near where I want to be -- but considering all the fast food I had yesterday, its pretty much a win.

In other words -- If I had a sister, this is the part where I'd be kissing her.