When you look at the process on paper, losing weight is actually pretty easy to do: you don’t need to learn any special skills or memorize arcane knowledge or anything of that sort. To lose weight, all you have to do is ingest less calories than you burn off during the day. That’s it. It’s simple math – eat 1,000 calories while burning off 1,500 calories and you end up with a 500 calorie deficit; the body is forced to burn off fat to make up the deficit and bingo bango bongo! Weight loss! When I was a freshman in high school, I lost about 30 lbs in 3 months doing exactly that: I skipped breakfast and lunch every school day and totally transformed my body in a single semester.
Yeah, that all sounds well and good until I mention the part about passing out in the bathroom while getting ready for school on multiple occasions during that semester of transformation – my fainting spells landing me in the hospital with my already struggling to pay bills parents on the hook for two days worth of tests just to be told all I really needed was a Pop*Tart. And while the Stressed Out Starvation Diet finally landed me in jeans with the waist size smaller than the leg length, it didn’t do me any other favors – I got no corresponding muscle gain with the weight loss, so I was skinny but still soft; coupled with the pepperoni pizza complexion I developed from the poor nutrition, I just plain looked sickly.
Now, when I joined the Army at 24 I was again around 30 lbs overweight, and again lost all the weight and then some in a little over 4 months; this time, however, I looked awesome: flat stomach, tight butt, actual biceps, clear complexion and a healthy glow. And I was able to accomplish this while eating nearly everything I wanted (soft drinks had been banned while in Basic Training) – I was also doing 3 plus hours of physical training and aerobic exercise nearly everyday coupled with marching all over post and being dropped for push-ups every time the Drill Sergeant looked at me funny.
So to recap: losing weight is a breeze if you’re okay with starving yourself to the point of unconsciousness or willing to succumb to hours of physical training a day to the point of utter exhaustion – neither of which being recommendable if you’re still working 9-to-5 and planning on keeping your job.
It doesn’t help that I love food. With the exception of lima beans, I eat everything and I’ll taste anything. Octopus? No problem. Smoked eel? Delightful. Hagis? You bet. Rattlesnake? Alligator? Roll in corn meal and deep-fry those bad boys, tastes like chewy, gamey chicken. And lest I forget, alcohol is DELICIOUS – dark chocolate and a fruity, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon like Bin 36 is pure decadence, and if you ever get the chance to sample Chateau D’yquem, it is literally sex in a glass.
So I want to be thin and in shape while keeping my job and still eating wonderful food – completely impossible. Which is why, for all of its “ease,” losing weight is one of the most difficult tasks you can attempt, trumped by quitting cigarettes and not much else.
Sacrifices have to be made; moreover, multiple sacrifices have to be made.
Nothing worth having comes easy, right?