I’m in City Sports, browsing while one of the nephews makes a purchase.
Because I’ve never exercised or been interested in exercise, I’ve not spent much time in sporting goods stores. (The last time I was in a sporting goods store, in fact, was Halloween 2002, when I bought a pair of hot pink short shorts for Clyde to wear as part of his Richard Simmons costume.)
But now, thanks to my work with the Wii Fit, I see sporting goods stores differently. I picture how I’d look in those tight, black, synthetic shirts (not something I’m ready to pull on quite yet … but the time is coming). I try out the weights. I wonder if any of the cycling helmets could possibly fit my unnaturally large head.
Eventually, Clyde and I wind up in the same spot, where the shelves are stocked with ankle weights, wrist weights, and weighed clothing for those hyper-fit people who have lost so much body fat, they feel the need to fake being fatter in order to make their muscles work harder.
Clyde picks up one of these items — a vest with twenty extra pounds sewn into the liner. “Feel this,” he says, passing it to me.
The box is clearly labeled “20 pounds,” but, in the hand, it feels much heavier. I can lift it easily, of course — but I wouldn’t want to carry it around the store while shopping.
“That’s how much weight you’ve lost,” Clyde says.
That takes me by surprise, and it takes a moment for me to grasp the scope of that truth. For the past several years, I wore that twenty-pound vest every moment of every day. I slept in it. I wore it while writing. I carried it, wrapped around my waist, everywhere I went, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
No wonder I felt exhausted all the time.
I’ve just lost twenty pounds — but I gotta tell ya, that’s a life-changing amount of weight. I still marvel at how easily I get up and down, how quickly I can move, how much lighter and more responsive my body feels.
It is still very much a surprise to catch a glimpse of my own reflection in a mirror and, for the first time in decades, actually like what I see. It is still very much a surprise — a pleasant one — to have other people see the difference and respond to it with comments, admiring glances, and, yes, even a little harmless flirtation.
Ideally, I have one more twenty-pound vest to remove. If taking off the first one changed life this much … how much more will life change when I take off the second one?
If you’re reading this and you’ve been thinking about the need to start exercising … or if you’re reading this and you’ve been daydreaming about losing some weight … take it from me:
Don’t wait. Don’t put it off.
Take off the vest.