Wake Up and Smell The Fat
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by Josh Lee
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        Iím not entirely sure why I wanted to lose weight. In this country we tend to believe that beauty, at least physical beauty, comes with the physique of a Roman God. And with that beauty may come opportunity and chance and acceptance. True? Maybe, if your career goals involve the entertainment industry: modeling, acting, etc., but then again look how far Kevin James and Eric Stonestreet have gotten themselves.
        If you look around at the posterized picture of what beauty is, youíll see skinny, svelt, lean, fit, slim, and trim people with body fat percentages in the single digits. Women need only look at a Victoria Secret publication, men the advertisements and packaging of brands like 2(X)IST. Donít know what 2(X)IST is? Chances are youíd never wear their products therefore youíve never had any interest in them. Itís pronounced ďto existĒ and itís the trendiest and most flamboyant menís underwear you can buy. And yes, youíre very likely to find them on the trim, fit bodies of the boys in West Hollywood. Even more so than Calvin Klein, the images of 2(X)IST men from their print advertisements to the packing of their products are all of the aforementioned.
        Images of this perceived beauty are everywhere. So naturally, we try to emulate them. Men and women religiously go to the gym. They buy the latest athletic wear from Nike and Adidas and Underarmour because Nike and Adidas and Underarmour have models that are both physically fit and fit for the image of beauty.
        I, just like any other American with eyes, ate it up. I wanted to be them. More than the body I wanted the lifestyle that advertisers enjoy suggesting comes with the body. There was just a slight problem: I was two hundred and twenty-five pounds. For an Asian male standing five feet, five inches, thatís a tad on the heavy side. Fine ó very heavy. And Iíll be the first to admit that part of the reason that I lost weight was because I wanted to fit into a size small and I wanted to somewhat conform to the superficial standards of beauty. Yeah, duh. Iím a single teenager. Single, fat teenagers donít get very far in the game.
        So I made a decision the summer I graduated from high school. I was going to get back in shape. It didnít seem like a daunting task. I didnít consider myself that big. I always had high self confidence. Maybe a little too high.
        Every college freshman knows about the ďfreshman fifteenĒ, that horrid weight gain that accompanies the transition between the comfortable sheltered life at home and the big wide open world of college. The world where a meal plan to a cafeteria replaces mom and dadís grocery shopping and where if youíd like to eat french fries and a burger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner youíre more than welcome to. Where a night of drinking ends at Jack In The Box at two in the morning for another burger, fries, and maybe even a milkshake ó no, wait, an ice cream cone.
        Nobody thinks itíll happen to them. The skinny bitches are overly confident in their ability to maintain their weight. If not, theyíll just puke it up in the bathroom. The fatsos are already so heavy that another fifteen will hardly even be visible.
       Okay, so maybe itís not that extreme. But in general most people who hear about it donít realize itís possible to gain that weight until itís happened and itís too late. And in general, most people do gain the freshman fifteen.
       I, as a member of the latter extreme, decided that it was time to do something. At first I tried to eat healthy at my collegeís cafe. I made decisions like getting eggs and potatoes and turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. For lunch I took advantage of their deli-cut meats and made sandwiches with lettuce and mustard instead of mayo. And for dinner I would get whatever their healthy choice was.
       But as the weeks wore on, I started to slip. I got that regular bacon in the morning and an extra helping of potatoes. Some days Iíd skip the eggs completely and have just potatoes and bacon. For lunch I started getting pizzas loaded with extra cheese and pepperoni. I started getting burgers for dinner with fries. I started going out to eat with friends as I started to make them. Conveniently located next door to our dorms was the most disgusting (albeit delicious) diner open twenty-four hours. Their specialty was a sampler platter: fried mozarella sticks, fried zuchinni, fried onion rings, tater tots, and french fries.
       Holy shit.
       I was in heaven. I loved it. 
       ďWanna go to the Hurricane?Ē
       Our weekly trips turned into nearly daily trips. I started to feel my body giving into the consumption of calories, cholesterol, and everything else that was clogging my arteries and my better judgement.
       I distinctly remember one afternoon spent in my dorm room. I had gotten sick (not from eating horribly, just a common cold that was going around) and without the energy to find something more productive to do, I lay in my bed for the entire day. I felt terrible. Lying there for twelve hours I became aware of how large I was. Remember that overly-compensating self confidence I have? Iíd always thought that even if I was perhaps a tad larger than the hot boys that I was still acceptably fit. Iíd always fit into a medium shirt (just barely) and Iíd always been able to look good.
       But that afternoon as I lay there with the shade drawn and the heater on, I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I was fat. Like, really fat. It was a major realization. Iíd always been thankful when I saw someone overweight that I didnít look like that. As I lay there it dawned on me, people were probably thinking that very same thing about me.
       At first I was livid. Why hadnít anyone said anything? Why hadnít I realized how big Iíd gotten? Why? Why? Why?
       So I decided to put an end to it.
       Like a seal flopping around on the beach, I rolled over on my side and grabbed my laptop from the night stand. Yeah, I was that person that had everything I could need in bed at arms length. Heaven forbid I ever have to get up once Iím comfy in bed.
       I logged onto the website for 24 Hour FItness and bought myself a membership.
      Just under two years later here I am, about seventy pounds lighter, weighing in at 147 last I checked. Thatís only two pounds over the goal weight that my pediatrician had been bitching at me to get to. I wear a size small in shirts and have a thirty-inch waist. And I have a jawline! Yeah! Thatís probably the most exciting for me. Iíve always thought that one of the sexiest parts of a man was his strong jawline. And now I have one.
       I never followed any published workout routine or diet, I never used any weight loss supplements or fat-blocking pills. I just donít think thatís worth it. I wanted to lose the weight myself, for myself, by myself.
       I started doing cardio at the gym. I still do. An hour of cardio, half an hour of weights. I started eating lots of veggies and lean proteins and try to keep the starch and trans-fats to a minimum. And the best (and perhaps most surprising) aspect of it all is that Iím not miserable. Yeah! Iím not miserable. Itís taken a while but Iíve found ways to make a healthy diet an enjoyable one. And this is coming from a kid who ate nothing but french fries and pizza and onion rings and mounds of pasta before.
       I donít think that thereís any one diet or workout plan that works for anyone so I wonít press upon you the rather mundane details of mine. All Iíll say is that when it comes to dieting and exercise you really have to find what works for you and what you can be happy with. Dedication is the hardest part of losing weight and dedication is easiest when youíre happy with what youíre doing.
       Iím still not anywhere near the territory of the men that grace the covers of Menís Health, I donít have a glamorous lifestyle or huge groups of friends, and I donít party every weekend in a skimpy pair of 2(X)IST briefs in West Hollywood. But Iím happy now. Iím happy with how I look, how I feel, and I like myself now.
       I guess, looking back, I lost weight because I wanted to be more attractive; not to other people, but to myself. And with it came the benefits of a healthier, cleaner body and much more active life.
       And, really, who am I kidding, going to the beach now and not having to wear a wetsuit to try to conceal my body is going to be pretty damn epic.