When I first tried to lose weight in my teens, I didn’t know where to turn for answers. It was the era of the TV infomercial, and that market was dominated by women. Some were more knowledgeable than others, but most of them seemed to be selling colorful workout clothes more than solid weight loss plans. I tried some of those products out of ignorant desperation.
Who remembers the classic “step aerobics” workouts that were so popular in the 80’s? I tried them because they promised to raise my heart rate to the “fat burning zone”, as long as I was replacing all fat in my diet with Snackwell cookies and fat free cheese, or course. I spent many days jumping around the living room trying to keep up with a group of women who were already thin and fit, all grinning like circus clowns and offering lame advice like “C’mon, girls, feel the burn”. Oh, I felt the burn, all right, usually as a tendon lost contact with the bone.
Sigh. It wasn’t a good fit. Where was the sweaty, fat guy rolling his eyes and muttering sarcastic comments? I wanted someone I could relate to, someone who understood the limitations of my body in its current state, someone who could offer sound advice that didn’t require dance lessons.
American capitalism being what it is, more programs for men began to materialize, but I struggled with those, too. All the guys in those videos were fitness model types, Greek Gods in short shorts and Nikes. I preferred them to Aquanet and sparkles, but they were unattainable wish fulfillment. I wanted to be those guys, but I knew in my heart that genetics were not on my side. No amount of weight lifting was going to transform me into the Diet Coke guy. It also turns out that drinking gallons of diet coke won’t work either. Who knew???
As I reached adulthood and my issues with weight became more serious, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to eat and live like a real person. I wanted to be physically active and strong, so I could do real things, like hike and bike and play with dogs. I wanted to be healthy and to learn how to take care of myself so I could age gracefully, avoid diseases of excess and be a proper example for my children. Sure, it would be nice to look like a celebrity, but that was no longer the point.
It took years of searching, experimenting and failing, but I’ve finally found the answer. Intermittent fasting is the real deal, guys. I eat what I want. I don’t have to shun anything. I don’t have to sit on the sidelines of any barbeque, birthday party or holiday. I don’t have to eat like a bird. I don’t have to pretend that I don’t LOVE food. I eat with enthusiasm and make no apologies.
IF also made me realize that exercise for its own sake is not really necessary. When you eat is far more important than working out for fat loss. Movement is awesome and promotes good overall health, but gone are the days of jumping around in a contrived routine. Now I walk a lot, sometimes I run, I do yoga, and maybe someday I will climb a real mountain. Whatever I do, it will be living my life, not “doing a workout”.
I am in the best condition of my life, and I did it without spandex, big hair, waxing my chest, buying fancy sneakers, embarrassment, deprivation or struggle. I’m a 46 year old man who finally found the freedom to just live.
The whole story of my search for answers is in our book, Unbelievable Freedom: How Intermittent Fasting Transformed Our Health and Happiness, available on Amazon using the link below.