Tag Archive for fitocracy

We Should Encourage Health in One Another

I’m going to have a direct conversation about fat acceptance.

Across several social networks, I often see some skinny or muscular person make a crack about fat people needing to get in shape. Then someone—generally someone larger or who has difficulty cutting weight—takes them to task for their attitude. This is then followed by a swarm of posts offering support and encouragement to the larger person, telling them, “we love you for who you are.”

I can’t blame them. I hate seeing those arguments, too. The problem is the defense does not encourage a change in health.

Let me be clear: this does not mean said large person deserves scorn or derision. Fat people do not deserve to be belittled any more than anyone deserves to be teased for their race, sexuality, culture, or religion.

One of the saddest photo projects I’ve ever seen is Haley Morris-Cafiero’s Wait Watchers set. After a chance photo catching someone making fun of her weight behind her back, she set up situations to catch this happening over and over. Some of it is tough to look at because most of us have been guilty of this at one point or another.

Hell, I’m guilty. I’m down fifty pounds from my heaviest and I’m still a big guy. I shudder to think how large I could have gotten without a course correction. My friends tease me about my size or my eating, yet I’ll still make a fat crack now and again. Is it a defense mechanism? Is it just plain funny? Or am I just an asshole? (Probably the latter.)

This brings people down. We all know this. It makes fat people feel worthless, and if they’re already working on a fitness program, it makes them feel like they’ve failed. This is where the angels swoop in to tell them, “It’s okay, we love you for who you are.”

This is true. We do love you for who you are. We accept you. But we don’t have to accept your health situation. Overcompensating for the assholes pushes the problem of inaction to the opposite extreme. Instead of feeling like they’ve failed, the fat person feels like they don’t need to change their situation after all.

I think back to the number of people we’ve lost in the writing community. I think about dead friends and family members. About dead co-workers, both current and former. It’s not just fat people we’re talking about now, it’s a general lack of health. Heart disease. Diabetes. Cancer. Sometimes it’s drugs, alcohol, or depression, but for the most part, we’re talking preventable problems.

And I think about how those losses tear us up.

Would you ever tell someone, “I love you, and I can’t wait to see you in an early grave?” Hell no you wouldn’t. But that’s the behavior we encourage. I can’t count how many people I’ve seen show up on Fitocracy, bitch about how tough working out is, get an outpouring of empty support, and then disappear altogether.

There will always be assholes, and there will always be bleeding hearts. We need to do our best to find the balance between them. Here’s how:

1) Understand that the people who say shit like “fat people are fat because they’re lazy” aren’t being real or telling it like it is, they’re being tactless assholes.

2) Understand that general fitness is more important than size or weight. Seek good health, not a number on a scale. The latter tends to follow the former, but not always.

3) Understand fat jokes are funny. Yes, they hurt sometimes, but don’t read into them too far. Change the channel, browse to a different web page, ignore the trolls, and move on. If your friends are being intentionally hurtful, it’s time to find new friends.

4) Understand your friends and family absolutely do love you and accept you. Instead of seeking validation, ask them for help. A workout partner is by far better for you than an emotional crutch.

5) Understand that change is going to be difficult. There will be pain, sweat, and hunger. The payoff is worth it. Trust me.

6) Understand that you’re neither Jared Fogle nor a Biggest Loser contestant with monetary support and a trainer. You may not have a miracle transformation. Your change will take more time and effort than a thirty-second commercial or a one-hour special would have you believe. What works for them may not work for you.

7) Understand that your friends’ compliments and looks of surprise after your changes will be much more encouraging and affirming than false “it’s okay that you’re fat” sentiments.

In the end, we should all be encouraging good health in one another. We don’t need to beat one another over the head with it, but it should be made clear that we’re here for one another.

If you disagree with me, that’s fine. Please refer to #1 above. Otherwise let me know how I can help.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

I Ate a Frickin’ Shark!

Okay, so it was just an iridescent shark.

swai

Still sounds a lot more impressive than “swai,” anyway

This thing is basically an Asian catfish. I picked up a bag of filets cheap, and today I broiled one up with some salt and black & red pepper. You know what? It tasted pretty good. It didn’t have that dirt flavor that often comes with American catfish or tilapia. Tomorrow, I think I’ll try pan-frying one.

Point is I’m massaging the diet a bit again. I’m still stoked about completing the Warrior Dash, and my weight lifting and karate have both been progressing well, but the results haven’t shown on the scale. Even running a couple of times a week isn’t quite cutting it, though it’s worked in the past. Some of it may be added muscle (judging by some of what I see in the mirror), but to make the doc happy and to see real results, I’d still like to shed a few pounds.

I see the consequences on the scale after a night of even one beer and a greasy burger and loaded fries at the bar with friends. Pizza or Chinese food with the family? Even worse. It’s a temporary spike, usually gone in a day or two, but the effect is definitely there. So it’s back to basics with making sure I get a solid breakfast and not overdoing things at lunch or dinner. We already cook most of our dinner meals, but at lunch I want to shoot for more fresh fish or chicken rather than the prepared things like processed fish sticks or chicken nuggets and mac & cheese the kids favor during the summer.

Sushi!

Now if only I could afford to do this all the time…

I don’t drive myself insane counting calories, and I’m not about to start weighing my food and watching my macros like a bodybuilder. I’m going to exercise a little restraint and see how things go. Eat as clean as I can as a guy who’s not fond of most vegetables and is picky with fruits.

And I’m going to eat some more frickin’ shark.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to team up for workout motivation, check out Fitocracy. Some of my friends and readers are already aboard, and the more the merrier. Hit me up for an invite if you like. If nothing else, it’s a great way to track workouts and progress. I’m also on RunKeeper, but try not to laugh at my pathetic little entries there. If enough people do the Fitocracy thing, maybe I’ll start a The Pack group.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Lifting and Writing: Back in the Swing of Things

I haven’t done my weight lifting yet this week. My Fitocracy account mocks me.

Friday and Monday I was on airplanes. Over the weekend, I had hoped to at least get a dumbbell or treadmill workout in, but I was too busy catching up with friends. Yesterday I rested. Today, I didn’t have time to lift after work and had a special night of karate class. It pisses me off, but I’m going to swap my Wed/Fri lifts to Thurs/Sat and get back on track next week.

I beat myself up over workouts the same way I beat myself up about writing. I need to regroup and remember my motivation, and just get back to work as soon as possible.

Funny thing is, there is no shortage of motivational videos out there for weight lifting or body building.

Writing doesn’t quite work the same. Beyond opening a box of books hot off the press, there’s not a lot to get writers pumped up to spend hours behind the keyboard. Yes, we do it because we have to, or want to, but it’s still hard work, and motivation can, at times, be hard to come by.

Until you visit something like Sundance.

It’s not so much being part of the scene or the promise of big Hollywood bucks as it is the simple energy and excitement of it all. It’s contagious. I would be more than content to make a living off writing. Yet even if I never see a movie made, I can still push forward and build upon what I’ve written. I can expand my fan base and, ideally, increase sales to earn a steady wage.

Now we come back to my lifting, where my goal is similar. I don’t want to big as Jay Cutler. I have no aspirations to be Mr Olympia, or even to get on a local stage (I’m not especially interested in the fake spray tan and shaved chest, either). I just want to build upon what I have, get into better shape. I want to increase my strength and endurance and feel better.

We should aim high, but not call it defeat if we land in the middle. Day jobs and family and life in general is going to get in the way. It’s inevitable. Just take care of the disruption and then get back into the rhythm.

Push forward.

Onward and upward.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.