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I open my eyes and stare at the glowing green digits on the digital clock next to my bed.  It’s 4:29 AM; the alarm goes off at 4:30 every morning.  I reach over and turn it off before it has a chance to bark at me.  That’s when the negotiation starts.  I could just lay here another five minutes and then get up and go.  Or one step further:  ya know, I could just skip today’s workout, hit my diet hard today, and then double-up tomorrow on the exercise.  But I know this isn’t going to happen, and the inner negotiation is as worthless as it is fruitless.  I get up from the bed, put on my robe, and stumble out of the bedroom.  I try not to trip over last night’s dirty clothes and shoes in the hallway as I head to the bathroom.   


I strip down completely and hit the button on my scale.  Every morning I find myself in this place–both looking forward to and desperately dreading what the scale is going to tell me–all at the exact same time.  I step on, take a deep breath, and watch as the red digital number comes to a stop.  Shit.  The scale tells me I am up half a pound.  Maybe if I let out my breath and hold it, I will drop weight?  How much does a lung full of air weigh?  I reach for the pocket calendar on the shelf in front of me.  If I am up weight, the numbers get logged in red ink, if I am down, blue.  Today is a damn red day.  Tomorrow, I decide, that I will switch to the metric system because it’s so much better to be 120 kilos–it just sounds a lot smaller than 238.4 pounds.   


I quickly brush my teeth, gargle, and dunk my head under the faucet.  I comb my tangled mess out into something presentable.  So much for the bouncing and behaving hair my shampoo promised me.  If I am going to go swimming, I put on my bathing suit–but since today is a weightlifting day, I get into my old school cotton sweats, workout shirt and hoodie.


I stumble into the laundry room next to my bathroom and dig through the basket for a clean pair of socks.  Failing to find a any, I scope out the laundry room floor for the cleanest dirty pair.  Quick sniff test and we have a winner–I put on some passable, though slightly dingy, grey socks.   To the office I go–pick up my iPod, check to make sure the battery got a charge, wake up the computer by shaking the mouse, and sync the mp3 player.  Feels like an AC/DC kinda morning, so Dirty Deeds is the choice for today’s workout music.


I sit down and slip on my workout shoes.  They’re size 13.5 Reeboks–I’ve lost a half-size with the weight loss.  My weightlifting gloves are on the end of the counter with my keys–I pull them on and reach for the jacket.  It’s not just any jacket.  I own several.  It’s one of the last remaining articles of clothing from the old me. 

It’s an 8XL.

Yes, I’m sure there’s some subconscious psychological reason why I insist on keeping this–I do have other things I can wear, but I can’t bring myself to get sweaty in them.  Besides, it’s a light color, and it’s nice and quilted and warm–when I am risking my life crossing the parking lot at my gym in the freezing darkness and of the early morning, I want to be painfully visible to the old bluehairs headed for their water aerobics class. 


I get to the gym and back into the same parking spot.  It’s my spot.  Hell I’m here early enough so I don’t have to worry about anyone snagging it. 

This is the worst part of my day–the walk from my car to the front door of the gym.  I absolutely hate it.  The walk is worse that the actual workout.  It’s not far to the front door or anything like that–it’s the anticipation of the pain in front of me.  I know I have to make the walk no matter what.  It’s like the final walk to the gas chamber.  I swear if I listen closely enough to the sounds of the morning, I can almost hear “Fat Man Walking!” coming from somewhere. 


Walk from hell completed, I queue up in the vestibule at 4:55 AM.  They open at 5, and I  go in first thing in the morning so I don’t have to dread my looming workout while I’m at work.  It’s kinda like knowing you have to swallow a toad–best do it first thing in the morning, that way you can get it over with and move on with your day.   


I check in and head downstairs to the weight room–getting there early in the morning is nice, because there are only a couple of guys in there, and they leave me alone.  For the most part, no one in the weight room is here this early to make friends.  Get in, get done, get out.  I pick up the dumbbells and get the bench press work done first, swallowing another toad.  I follow it up with squats, curls, military presses, legs and shoulders–then move to the treadmill.  Run a sprint for a minute, followed by two minutes of walking.  Then sprints again.  I repeat this until I feel like I am gonna pass out and wake up with a Pulp Fiction adrenaline syringe stuck in my chest.  And when I hit that point, I’m finished.  Best feeling ever is when I’m done.  I like that more than anything, because I know I have the most time in front of me before my next workout. 


I head back home, and my first stop inside the house is in the kitchen, where I scrounge up some leftover meat or cheese for a post-workout protein fix.  I grab and drink my first two bottles of water–two of thirteen–for the day.  To the laundry room I go, strip off the sweaty clothes, drop them into the washing machine, and head to the shower.  I get out, immediately get dressed in my work clothes, and go back to the kitchen for breakfast.  Most days I get a piece of toast and some cheese, maybe a small bowl of cornflakes.  Since I eat a good deal of protein, I also like the benefits of the fiber. (Sucks to get old!)    If I’m eating carbs that day, I eat them in the morning.


This is the part where I (once again) remind you that I am not a guru for weight loss.  I don’t claim to have the answers, nor do I necessarily do things the right way.  So with that disclaimer in place…I head to work.  During I drink five more liters of water, most of which I drink in the morning.  Almost every day I skip lunch and head to the mall to walk.  One lap around the mall is about ¾ of a mile.  I don’t really do it for exercise but more for the activity.  It helps keeps my mind off eating lunch.  


At 4:30 or so I head home–I get in about 5:15 and start dinner.  Tonight’s taco night.  I drink my last bottle of water just before I eat–helps curb my hunger.  I sit down to work on my computer or watch TV and just try to relax–sometimes with all the effort to drive my metabolism, I find it hard to slow down and just chill.  I usually get to bed around 10:30 PM–but I actually sleep around four hours a night.  Five, tops.  Like most people, I spend a lot of time laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to sort things out in my head enough so that I can calm down and get to sleep.  The whole process starts all over again, at 4:29 AM.  It’s my own little Groundhog Day, minus Andie McDowell. 



Thereyago.  That’s the big secret to my weight loss.  People ask me all the time how to lose the weight–and over time, I’ve started telling them the same thing.  You have to be willing to do the work.  Every day.  Religiously.  Not sexy.  Not fun.  Not interesting.  Just put in the effort, the time, and the work.  Every day.  It is so very worth it.   




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