Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The College Forty

It has occurred to me that this blog has strayed in the past few months. I've been writing mostly about my writing, with the occasional other topics popping up here and there. While writing is a huge part of my life, it isn't the only part. I found myself thinking of this as more of a blog about writing instead of a blog about myself, and as a result I was often forcing myself to talk about things that just weren't interesting. (For example, in my last post, for some reason I decided to write about something I already wrote about.) While I do have a lot to say about the world of creative literature, it is not all I should be talking about.
So without further ado:

I've grown fat since college began. From what I've seen and heard this is not unique to me, but in a way that makes it an even better topic to talk about because it's so common.
At my most fit, I was about 130 lbs. sometime around the beginning and middle of my junior year in high school. This is mostly the result of being employed as a cart pusher at a busy grocery store, as I remember that I had apparently lost some weight as a result (and the doctors were worried it was diabetes, which runs in my family).
Here's a photo taken around that time:

If I am correct, this is not exactly me at my thinnest, but shortly after. However it is the only photo I can find that shows my entire body. As you can see I am a proud and awkwardly skinny teen. In other photos I seem almost to be too skinny; as though my structure was meant to be heavier.

So what happened? Well several things contributed to my gain of weight. Firstly is that I quit my job as a cart pusher to become a dishwasher at a restaurant. Secondly I started dating for the first time and met my now-fiancée, and apparently studies have shown that men tend to subconsciously eat more when around women so as to impress them. Thirdly I grew addicted to ice cream and had found lots of time to eat it. Fourthly I began college and was left to regulate my own diet, which I had decided would consist of only things that I knew I liked (as opposed to when my parents cooked new things for me that I would only eat half of if I didn't like it very much).

So now about four years after that photo was taken, here I am now:
I now weigh 173 lbs. and absolutely hate it. Let's get something straight though, I'm fully aware that I'm still totally handsome when viewed from most angles. What bothers me is that I don't look as thin as I feel. I feel like I should weigh no more than 150 lbs. and that I shouldn't be embarrassed to wear medium-sized shirts. What's worse is that I feel like I don't look like the guy that my fiancée deserves. My fiancée is taller than me and has maintained her thin figure the whole time I've known her. When we go out together I can't help but feel like we don't look right for each other.
Of course this inevitably leads to me feeling like I don't deserve her.
I don't intend to just whine about this. For more than a year I had been trying various forms of exercise to work it off, but to put it bluntly I was doing everything half-assed. At one time I was jogging half a mile every other day, and then I gave that up to do a few push-ups and sit-ups every day, and then I told myself I would bike to work every day but gave that up when the summer got too hot.
I honestly haven't seen any progress.
Instead of letting this get me down and trick myself into thinking "I just can't loose it, so why bother trying?" I've become more and more determined to look good for my girl. I bought a scale that tracks my weight and tells if I've lost or gained compared to the average of the last five times I've checked, I've started going to my apartment complex's exercise room more regularly (usually every day) to run at least a mile and do some weight-lifting and other physical stuff, and I've been researching the best ways to boost my metabolism without going on any commercial diets.

I'm making this public because keeping it private meant keeping my failure private. I need people to know what I'm trying to do so they can tell me if I'm doing it wrong and tell me when I'm failing. I need people to keep me in check.
My ultimate goal is to get down to 150 lbs. in time for my wedding, but since that's still over a year away let's say I want to be down to 150 lbs by my next birthday. If I didn't have school or a job and knew my way around a gym this would be a piece of cake, but I have limited time and limited knowledge so I expect it to be a slow process.

This will be my birthday present to myself.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Starting Anew ... Again

Wow, yeah. I hate to do this again so soon, but you should have seen this coming.

Yup, I started over. Again. What started off as a crappy novella, and was then restarted to become a badass novel, turned into a bland mediocre novel.
So now I'm restarting it to be a short story.
As was made obvious by my last post I wasn't happy with where my novel was going. I wasn't completely sure what to do until I let my amazing, smart, and insightful fiancée read the draft.

Boy am I glad I had her read it. She came back at me with the brutal honesty that a wannabe author needs to hear from the people that care. Two of the characters didn't make sense (and one came off as a bitch), the main character's motives didn't make any sense, and the plot was thin as a wafer (which I knew from the beginning, but I hoped depth would occur naturally -- it didn't).
So, like the last time this happened, I've gone back and started over with no regrets; I knew what had to be done.
I've thought of an angle that will make the story way more my style, way more fun to write, and I swear that if it doesn't work out this third time then I'll give up on it for good. However after already starting the rewrite I'm really feeling that the third time is the charm.

Yes, I liked the direction that the second draft was going, and I liked that I was trying my hand at a new style, but it feels so good going back to a style (and the short story format) that I'm familiar with.

I swear this is the last time I restart this story.