Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lessons Learned from George Bush

A few weeks ago I hired a trainer. Strike that, I hired a dominatrix disguised as a trainer.

Now I have had trainers before, but none like this guy. The whole experience leaves me questioning my sanity for either I am now an avowed masochist or I have officially lost it.

I suppose it’s human nature to want what we can’t have.

Yes, I would love to look like an Abercrombie & Fitch model, but no matter how much money or time I spend working out with some fitness junkie, I will never have a six pack, unless we’re talking beer.

Paying lots of money to have your ass kicked for an hour is a sure sign of commitment, or perhaps it just means you should be committed -- to a hospital for the twisted.

Exercise has been key to my success throughout this process but there is some subtle distinction, I suppose, between exercise or cardio and weight training. When you are shedding weight like a dog sheds hair on a hot summer day, no matter how much time you spend on a treadmill, your body just starts to sag in areas you didn’t know existed. At a certain point, all the aerobics is great, but you really need to start to tone.

To me SAG has always been an actor’s union and I have never really given a whole lot of thought to what’s sagging because the bulge was always in the way.

For the first time in my journey, I have decided to build beyond the Elzer cardio routine. Time to stop walking past machines that looked intimidating. Time to do more than my weak attempt at bicep curls.

Now to be honest, in the two weeks since I started up with Zack the Trainer from Hell, I have had to reschedule three appointments because of some faux Hollywood crisis or some silly Sigalert. But even with those hiccups, I am still finding time in the schedule for this important date with torture.

After my first focused leg workout, I could barely walk, much less sleep for two frickin days. But the other night, after Zack was done playing Marquis de Sade with what he lovingly called his “fat burning” routine, he had me hop on the treadmill to finish off the night of fun and merriment.

While I was walking and wincing in some dual delusion of agony and accomplishment, I turned on the Treadmill TV and up popped The Biggest Loser.

I have not been following the show religiously this season, but for the skinny at heart, TV does not get any more inspirational than this. As I was throwing my petty little pity party complaining to myself about how much I hated this whole decision to hire a trainer, I was slapped with a serious dose of perspective.

These Biggest Loser contestants were suffering round the clock agony in pursuit of their dream. As much as my muscles may have been aching (and they were), I started to imagine how painful the experience must be for the heavy ones on the tv in front of me.

Sure, I thought, they were on TV playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the stakes for me are higher. I am playing for something much more valuable -- life.

Until I started really focusing on change, my day-to-day existence had been pretty sedentary. I was like a high functioning baby-man. I slept, I woke up, I crapped, I dined, I whined at the freeway traffic or work, and my idea of exercise was lifting a fork to my face or climbing the stairs to my bedroom at the end of the day only to plop down in my overstuffed bean bag with a big bowl of buttered popcorn. I lived some version of this cycle for years – practically my whole life.


And when I think that this ridiculous routine is broken – shattered really – and replaced with getting home from the office, eating something healthy with my family, and then forcing myself to hit the gym for 1-2 hours a few times a week, it almost doesn’t seem real because it has never been “me.”

I don’t like pain. Never have. But pain, weirdly enough, scared me to the point of meaningful change and if pain got me here, I can endure a little muscle stress. Because whatever I am feeling, it’s not 1/100th of the pain those brave people on tv are experiencing with their trainers.

As much as I may love to hate Zack, he isn’t driving me into the ground on some last chance workout.

I lost another 3 pounds this week. Grand total is now 132 pounds shed since January 1.

I am still noshing on things I know I shouldn’t have – mainly peanuts – and I even went to another wine dinner this week, but I still think I have found a way to make it all work.

Dangerous talk, I know.

But I am finally at a point where I can finally see a checkered flag in the distance. It’s still months and months away, but I am more than 2/3rds of the way to my goal.

Today I picked up a new pair of jeans that are 18 inches smaller than my largest pair of pants. And as proud as I am of all the fantastic progress, I also know deep within that I will never cross that proverbial finish line.

George Bush taught us many important lessons, but one of the most memorable was never land your jet on the tarmac and declare “Mission Accomplished.”


  1. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO? Say it with me ONE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO. Do you even get how amazing that is? You're plodding away, pound by pound, but step back for a minute and look at that number.


  2. I am thrilled to have found your blog and am in the process of starting my own....Your words sound like mine, your perspective is much like my own, and I too have a family that is benefiting form a total life style food and activity make over.
    As soon as my blog is up - I would love to add you to it -
    please keep up your posts and insights -
    Through honest communication and positive support, we all can help each other -
    God Bless -