Changes in attitudes

A fat man can never hear often enough what a friend told me this morning in the weight room at the Muscatine Community Y.

“You look like you’ve lost a little weight,” Dan Rose said after he finished giving me a hard time for arriving late.

I didn’t mind his ribbing. But the compliment was nice — especially considering the source. Dan is one of the most-fit guys I know. And he would have been unafraid to also point out if it looked like I had gained 25 pounds since the last time I saw him. He is a 50-something cancer survivor who is still built like a college jock. Dan is an avid weightlifter and a pretty good bicyclist. He and his wife, Julie — who was a college athlete 30 years ago and now bikes, hikes and kayaks — are fit, active and fun. [Well, Julie is a lot of fun. :)]

They live the lifestyle I am determined to live. And the mere fact that Dan noticed will offer more than enough incentive for me to drag my big butt out of bed for the next several mornings.

It doesn’t end there, however, which is why this has so far been a pretty good week.

Believe it or not, I was hired the other day to teach an  indoor cycling class at the Y, making me perhaps the world’s most-unlikely fitness instructor. But I’m looking at it as just another step in the right direction.

Also, I wrote the other day about cleaning and reorganizing my closet after realizing some of my older — and smaller — clothes might actually fit. That has prompted me to dress a little better  for work this week, which has been noticed. As I pulled on a sport coat this morning in the locker room at the Y and headed for the exit, two buddies stopped me. “What’s going on?” one of them asked. “You can’t pull on a jacket like that and just leave.”

The proprietress of my favorite coffee shop commented on my attire this morning and on Tuesday when I ran into her downtown.

When I got home from work Tuesday night, my next-door neighbor asked where I had been. “I’ve never seen you dressed like that for work,” he said.

Of course, what this also means is that I’ve been going around looking like a schlub. Still, it’s nice to hear you look sharp.

The challenge in all of this — eating better, working out, losing weight and dressing better — will be to not quit. I’ve been down this road before: Lost a lot of weight, made big changes, went through all kinds of turmoil and stress and fell back into a hole of bad habits from which I am just now beginning to climb out.

It’s all scary. But I am tired of being known for being strong on a bike for a guy who weighs 300-plus pounds. I want the lifestyle lived by Dan, Julie and all of my other friends. And this time, I am not going to allow myself or anyone else to derail me in attaining and maintaining that goal. I’ll make any changes I have to in order to make sure there is no more falling into a hole.

An additional note: A friend asked me today how much weight I would like to lose. According to much of what I’ve read, this is a question for which I should have a specific goal. But I don’t know if I have an answer. How much weight I lose is less important to me than how I feel and look. So, if I have a goal, it would be to be built someday like this guy. For now, I guess that is as specific as I can be.

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