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It’s interesting that we still gauge strength of engines/devices by a comparison to the amount of power an actual horse puts out. You would think we would use a much cooler term in this day and age. I think we need to at least “Americanize” it and name it after Lance Armstrong. Maybe call it a unit of Armstrong Brawn Power. We’ll base the standard on the power Lance puts out when he is riding up those hills in France. It’s great watching him shutting up the rifle-dropping Frenchmen. Brawn is also a word with great onomatopoeia. Can’t you just see Arnold picking up a big weight and grunting “Braaaaawn” as he strains to get it up?

The reason I bring this up is that I was asked today how I avoided hitting the wall on the weight loss. The term everyone uses is plateau. The truth is, I have hit a few of them but managed to pick it up again.

I know a little bit about engines and cars. I was never a guy that was really into racing or having a hot rod to cruise around town. I believe that cars are utilitarian. Growing up, I owned a 1975 Toyota pick up with about a million miles on it and no money for repairs. I learned enough from my dad and my friends to hopefully keep myself from being stranded along the side of the road. In rural areas, before cell phones, you would end up walking a ways to get help if you needed it.

My friends seemed to all be into cars. I even worked for a time selling car parts. So, I have a working knowledge of engines and I know enough now to keep myself from being ripped off by my local mechanics. If I get stumped by a breakdown, I can always call my friends back home. My dad and his friends all have great knowledge about car repairs. They came from a time when guys were expected to be about to change their own flats and you didn’t call Triple A. My friend Danny was born 40 years too late. I think he wanted to work in Fonzie’s garage and work on the T-bird Susan Summers drove that night in ’63.

I hear you asking, “Where is this all going, Paulie?” I have seen the human body compared to an engine many times. Here is my go at that comparison.

I can compare my “diet” program to building an engine. When you want to build a new motor, you start with the basics; engine block, pistons, carburetor, ignition and fuel system, etc. Then you start assembly. In my case, I call my friends over and bribe them with beer, pizza and a promise to take them to the really seedy strip clubs when they finish. You assemble the components of the engine and get the basics down.

You’ve got to get it running to see if it works. Once you get it running, you start tuning…that gets it running right. The next step is to test it and then fine-tune it. It’s those adjustments where you get the important horsepower that give you the edge the other wannabe Ricky Bobby’s in the world.

My diet plan started out with the basics. Drink water and eat less. Pretty basic. It was the tuning and then fine tuning along the way that really got the horsepower up. I feel like its all about keeping my metabolism running as effectively as possible. I stopped eating things that I knew would slow my metabolism down, such as candy with heavy sugar.

My fine-tuning started with walking at lunch. Then I moved to going to the gym 6 times a week. I have since added evening weightlifting to my schedule 3 times a week. If started this routine in the beginning, I never could have kept it up. I had to work into it. Like so many people, I am very impatient and I wanted to drop all the weight at once. I did push, but I was able to maintain my momentum and at the same time not get so carried away by trying to do it all at once. I pushed myself just enough to keep the weight coming off and not burn out on the process or hurt myself. If nothing else, I learned some patience by the process.

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