"I refuse to go back up to that weight again," a friend of mine stated on Facebook. He'd lost around 30 pounds or so through exercise, diet and the help of a personal trainer. He asked the FB community to give him suggestions on furthering his weight loss. He must have gotten 80 different answers.
I posted, "Why do you have to weigh a certain amount?" He never answered. Though, I doubt he was open to learning the meaning behind the question.
Sometimes when we chase something, we bombard ourselves with failed expectations, and then pursue other solutions to meet the expectations, only to find disappointment yet again. Our minds can swirl in a never ending accumulation of thoughts that collapses in on itself like a dying star to a black hole. As we all know, even light can't escape black holes.
But we can escape the black holes of our minds once we stop feeding it more mass, i.e. thoughts. That's why meditation is touted as a stress reliever. The basis of meditation is the silencing of our minds.
But forget that for now. What is the meaning behind my question? What's the real reason he wants to lose the weight?
To get a woman.
I had dinner with him last year when he started this process, and we talked at length, which is how I know. The way I see it, he'll always fail in regards to his weight. He'll never be satisfied because he thinks that achieving the ideal weight, whatever that is, will bring throngs of women to him. But that's not how women work.
Ask any woman what they want in a guy, they always say confidence and a sense of humor. I'm not saying women aren't superficial. But they're way more forgiving of men's looks than men are of theirs. Take my word for it. I've benefitted from that fact.
I had told my dear friend to work on being honest with himself. Know thyself, the good and the bad. Say what he wants, feels. Don't take thyself so seriously. Have fun. Joke around.
I don't think he heeded my advice, since, from his perspective, he hasn't reached his ideal weight. And I totally get that. I still fall for that trap. When I see a woman checking me out at the gym, my mind immediately surmises that I'm getting more cut, defined. The truth is, she could be looking at me and thinking to herself, "Yeesh. Yuck," or "Did I turn off my curling iron?" or "Ugh. I can feel Aunt Flo coming." All of those thoughts are made up because I have no real proof what she's really thinking. And knowing this allows me to pay little to no attention to those made up thoughts. I don't want to be pulled into that black hole.
If my friend does reach his ideal weight and finds that women are still not attracted to him, then he'll blame it on the one thing he thinks he has some control over. His situation. He'll think his body isn't good enough, so he'll workout harder. Or he'll find a way to earn more money, buy a flashier car, dress snappier, all in the pursuit of impressing women. Again, he'll continue to fail because good women want a confident man. And a man isn’t confident if he has to rely on superficial things to attract women.
That’s why my main pieces of clothing are t-shirt and jeans. Or maybe I'm just lazy.
Then how should my friend approach weight loss? Or how should anyone for that matter?
I remember as a kid when I had to do my homework that time seemed to know. So it decided to slow the clock, where each tick felt like a lifetime. Then when I went outside to play with my friends, the day melted away like an ice cube sitting in the scorching hot desert. Time flies when you're having fun. That's the key. Fun.
There are two basic components to changing your body composition, which is way different than losing weight. Diet: the number of calories we take in. Calorie expenditure: what we do to use those calories. I want to focus on the expenditure portion.
A lot of people go to the gym. But that isn't necessarily fun or the best way to burn calories. I love hikes, especially urban hikes. I trek though San Francisco a lot. All over. Other people love dancing. Recreational sports such as basketball can be great fun with friends.
Fun is an essential ingredient to becoming healthier because it'll make it easier for you to make the activity a habit. And time does fly, though I wouldn't put a schedule on changing your body composition. That'll often lead to failed expectations.
And changing our focus from weight loss to body composition is important. Body composition is the mix of fat, bone, muscle, and water in regards to physical fitness. People generally want less fat and more muscle. However, muscle weighs more than fat. So someone could weigh more by gaining muscle and losing the same amount of mass of fat, making the scale the worst measure of health.
Coming back to my friend...if he wants to date more, then his pure focus on looks is wrong. Take showers. Stinking like you haven't been is a huge turn off. He should wear clothes that fit him. Definitely have clean shoes. Now, he won't win any best in show contests. Neither would I. So he should be his real self. This is where he's lacking. When he talks to a woman he's attracted to, he's not himself. He needs to trust that being real is what confidence truly is. Unlike photography, filters like the Nice Guy, the Bad Boy, the Rico Suave, the Hipster Who's Too Cool to Care will hide who he is as a person, making him look fake. And if people are repelled that he has no filter, which some are, then they won't include him in their circle of trust. I'd tell him that real friends are really rare.