Growing up I was never the most physically active boy around. When asked to identify the animal I most resembled, "sloth" frequently got mentioned. Not for me was the endless running of laps in gym class. Although I enjoyed bicycling it was strictly for the fresh air and scenery. My best events were lifting the 1 kg bag of chocolate chip cookies and the 2 kg sour cream 'n' onion chips.
There wer, of course, bursts of exercise in there somewhere. While working at a part time job during undergrad one of my bosses looked at my stomach one day and asked when I was due. That got me to the university gym for a couple of months. Then there was the 7 week trip to Israel between 2nd and 3rd year medical school where I diligently gained 2 lbs a week. When I developed the photos after returning home, the site of my new second chin again briefly shocked me into action and I took up jogging for a couple of months until the autumn weather turned cool. But otherwise, it was my picture next to the word "sedentary" in the dictionary.
Until about 8 years ago when I went into a clothing store with my father to look for a new pair of pants. A salesman approached me and asked what size I was. Upon telling him, my father looked at my waistline, then back to the salesman and shook his head. "Not anymore. He's the next size up."
And something inside me snapped.
It took a few years to make it a completely regular thing but eventually I got into a routine, and one I figured out that downing a litre of Powerade right after running for an hour just replenished the calories I'd burned off and I switched to water, the pounds started melting off. Finally last year I reached my goal weight and took great pride in being able to drop a couple of belt sizes along the way.
But here's the problem. Whoever said one's body is a temple was full of it.
After all, you build a temple, you're done. Yeah, there's the occasional sweeping and minor fixup jobs but more or less the structure remains intact without much effort.
The human body, on the other hand, doesn't act like that. It's amazing how taking two weeks off from a regular exercise routine causes you to feel like you're starting from scratch when you go back. It's also amazing how it takes 3-4 weeks of intense activity to drop a pound of fat but only one large pizza with double cheese to put it back on. Proof of God's sense of humour, I suppose.
So here I am, trapped on the gerbil wheel. I'm quite happy with how I look and feel and, as a physician I know that I'm benefiting myself through my continued activity. But as a goal-directed person, I'd like to reach the goal and move on. That's not likely to happen.