Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I watched my family eat delicious food on our first night at the beach two weeks ago, also my first day off-diet. Fried everything, cornbread, hush puppies: the foods we permanent restrictors see in visions of heaven, awaiting our arrival on La-Z-Boy couches with live goat-pillows while Dumb and Dumber plays on repeat. I grew an immediate ache in my gut as I wondered if my lifelong decision to restrict was wastefully, abnormally, sufferingly incorrect.

Adult males and females are not meant to maintain mid-single- and mid-teen-digit body fat percentages, respectively. I have accomplished the feat several times, only to see my leanness slip away.

I slimmed down in preparation for my First Descents rock-climbing trip next week in Estes Park, Colorado, as my fundraising challenge. My goal was to reach about 7% body fat. Here are some observations from my nine-week challenge:

  1. I’m getting too old for this shit.
  2. I have an addictive personality.
  3. I love food.
  4. I must rededicate myself to exercise, as evident by a drop in my average beats-per-minute. Maybe I’ll just blame watching Homeland and Breaking Bad, which are too engrossing and cause me to stop cycling on my spin bike.
  5. Ain’t nobody got time to work out for two hours a day.
  6. I now need almond butter before bed so I can sleep (see #1 above).
  7. I now require weekly mini-cheats (see #1 above), which may be beneficial by spiking glucose and metabolism, but once I flip that food switch, I struggle keeping the cheats mini (see #2 above).

My dieting cycle seems to be six months off, two months on. Maintenance requires a severe and permanent lifestyle change which I have generally implemented during all my off-diet cycles, but each time I developed different loopholes, and each time I regained at least one pound per month.

I am hopeful I have turned a corner and can extend my off-diet to eight or 10 months. I now accept a consistent and small caloric deficit, while only occasionally eliminating the chains of restriction. Over the past two weeks I have felt more at peace with watching others eat heaven while I just barely participate.

Crafting a physique is a science: to gain muscle mass you need to eat more than you burn, but in order to maintain minimal body fat that extra amount must be precise. The protein/fat/carbohydrate ratio must also be precise. Ain’t nobody got time for that precision, so (at the moment) I accept the following order of priorities:
  1. Leanness
  2. Food
  3. Coke Zero
  4. La-Z-Boy couches
  5. Muscle bulk

My priorities are reinforced each time a gay man hits on me. Seriously ladies, do you not see where I live?

Lower abdominal veins, the hardest to visibly achieve = fitness challenge accomplished
Benjamin Rubenstein demonstrates seven percent body fat