On Becoming a Lesser Person: The Excuse King (Snowshoeing to Reduce Fat)

To become fleet-a-foot . . . well, some of us are destined never to achieve that particular notation, but all can go a long way to improving ourselves not only to snowshoe quicker and better, trail run quicker and better, and perhaps even extend our life expectancies to the point where we actually get
out of debt. . . Yes, that long!

What you are about to read is a guaranteed method to reduce body fat.

Note the emphasis is not on ‘losing weight,’ which seems to possess the popular media’s attention and is pounded home through magazine starlet’s photos where sticks replace limbs. Imagine snowshoes being lifted by those!

As snowshoe athletes we need muscle to propel with silent propulsion those appliances through hill and dale, some rather steep, in extreme conditions, often for extended periods of time.

Excess body fat weighs one down and does no good. Now, there is a relative nature to all of this. If your body fat is, say, three percent, go eat some more Clif Bars for goodness sake. But, if 20% is your reading, with more of you hanging over the waist line than within the confines of clothing, study on because you are gonna learn some magic.

Just suppose it has been a hard day . . . your proposal, culminating months of effort, is roundly rejected by an uncaring review group led by a duffus who is unable to eat a meal without drooling gravy out the side of the mouth.

Or, the school calls. Your child, an A+ student, and perfect as far as you know, has just been expelled for possessing one of those ubiquitous ‘controlled substances.’

Or, you have a voice mail upon arriving home from the friendly folks at VISA; this time they aren’t asking you to take more credit . . . they want to know where the payments have been for the last several months, and while you’re at it, kindly pay off the balance, tomorrow would be just fine, and, “Oh . . . have a nice day.”

Crumpled, you go lie in a corner, bowing at the robe of the Excuse King, bringing forth your problems, asking for some relief. The Excuse King listens intently, counterfeiting interest, nodding sympathetically. “There, there,” he says, comforting you with his artificial dribble.

After spilling your guts, the Excuse King ponders to you, moving his head knowingly, “Deposit five tokens of your self respect in my treasure chest, then you can go eat this bag of Oreo’s to sooth your anguish.”

You quickly deposit the required remittance; the EK hands you the cellophane bag, crinkling in your hands like the sounds of a fire as you rush to open the favorite variety, with three rows and double crème filling, your preference. You know, more licks per cookie!

The Excuse King takes the chest, laughs derisively and with his following robe sweeping the floor, adoring attendants caught up in his sphere assisting, opens the thick, hanging curtains, and disappears into a haze.

You sink back in the corner, digging in, taking no time to even get a glass of milk. You can’t wait; you need relief.

One day many of us wake and discover Bubba Fatz has become our best friend and constant companion. We even take Fatz snowshoeing with us. Actually, we have no choice as Bubba is firmly attached to all of our body parts and seems to be growing in stature in our lives, as far as our body is concerned.

A male, looking into a mirror, notes the six-pack abs of yesteryear have morphed into a kegger staring back. God created the miracle of the female form which gets obliterated through the deviated sculpture of Bubba Fatz.

It doesn’t have to be this way. “Yesterday’s gone,” Fleetwood Mac sings in their song Don’t Stop; it doesn’t count anymore. What matters is tomorrow. This is your plan for reaching it.

Think of it this way: If there is less of you, less body fat, then your muscles are going to be able to propel you quicker on the snow and trail as you can drop the equivalent of a good sized back pack . . . or two. Even smaller numbers can make a big improvement.

The #1 thing you’re going to need is commitment. Yes, yes, you’ve tried before and always failed. If you are truly motivated, then this is what you need to do:

*Find a similar committed friend, business partner, spouse, office mate, and you make the following proposition:

On a certain date, say, three months forward, you will weigh ‘X’, and will have lost, let’s say, ten pounds. Choose someone who won’t let you off the hook. Someone equally committed. Just Ask.
Having to answer to someone else, someone who will take your money if you fail, is powerfully motivating and will weigh on your mind every day. You’ll find yourself passing the cookie stand saying, “Either I’m serious about this, or not. I’m serious, I’m not gonna fail. Where’s that banana?”

You’re laughing! I can lose ten pounds this week; I’ll just starve myself, you’ll see. Yeah, right. That’s worked so well in the past, huh?

No, this is to lose body fat, and one or two pounds a week, some weeks nothing, maybe even a week of an uptick, sure to get your attention; the goal, though, and will lead you to success.

The key components to this plan are:

*A written contract sealed with a dollar commitment, say $50, you will pay the companion if you fail. If the opposite occurs, you get the cash. If $50 doesn’t hurt you, then make it a $100 or $500, something that you don’t want to pay, can’t afford to pay. An amount that will hurt!

If your companion drops, and this can happen, find a new partner, and continue on.

*Have a Wednesday morning weigh-in, same time every week, email the results to your companion, they do the same. Encourage each other, but have some fun, too. If you’re in an office together and those doughnuts are contributed to the coffee room, email your friend to egg ‘em on to eat them.

*Change your habits, change your life. Eat like my cat. This cat eats the same thing 24/7/365, little crunchy bits of ocean fish and rice. The cat is fit and fast. He never complains, “Well, I ate chicken yesterday, so today I need peach cobbler. . . .”

*What to eat? Maybe it is easier to list the things you can’t:

If advertised heavily, likely is a no-no.

No pop, either, diet or otherwise.

The salt shaker is thrown away, never to be retrieved.

Drive-thru lanes are a thing of the past.

When not in endurance events, pass on breads, ‘taters (substitute sweet potatoes or yams), processed meats (chicken and fish are your friends as long as they’re not the Kentucky Fried versions).

*What do I suggest? Actually, what have I done in my program?

Breakfast: You have to eat breakfast; I don’t care about the past. Pre-prepare it so it is ready if you can’t get up in time, you’ll learn. My daily breakfast, with body fat chasing ten percent, down from, well. . , a LARGER number, is:

4 eggs with the yolks, except one, tossed away, along with two packs of Kashi oatmeal. I take it to the office and eat right at my desk.

Lunch: salad, maybe with chicken, or leftover vegetables with chicken, but use my recommendation: Consorzio Raspberry & Balsamic Fat-Free dressing (tasty and low sodium, available at supermarkets). Don’t use those little packets of dressing.

Dinner: chicken, fish, (do I really have to say no fried foods?), along with vegetables, like corn, and a yam . . . . Yams are a wonder food. Put some of my dressing on it.

Afterward: Somehow, when I’ve brushed my teeth and done the gargling routine, I don’t eat anymore, so do this as soon as possible after dinner. You’re done for the night.

Yes, drink plenty of water as taste dictates but alcohol is taboo. You can’t lose weight and drink alcohol. Once you reach your goal, knock yourself out, but you better be well below your goal number because anytime you go above it, right then and there you’re back at it. This is less of a problem than you might imagine because you will be proud of your accomplishment and once achieved, you will likely want to go for more.

Take pleasure in your program, don’t make any excuses for what you’re doing, simply say: “I’ve got goals in my snowshoeing (or any other sport) I cannot reach unless I take off body fat. I’ll take a rain check on that Ultimate Margarita, just black coffee for tonight, please,” or simplify, “I’m in training.”

This is where snowshoeing comes in: The exercise component, revving up your motor to burn fat. Continue your fueling program during exercise just as you’re doing, using your favorites. Snowshoe more, cross train more, enjoy the outside even more! You’ll be seeing benefits by the end of the first week.

You know what to do here, so I’m spending little time on this.

Upon reaching your planned goal, you once again go to the Excuse King to tell him he’s history and no longer a part of your life. The King, who is still laughing at you derisively, turns to strut out; you take your snowshoe and – whack! – drive a crampon into his rumpus with a ballpark-sized swing. Magically, suddenly, the Excuse King deflates like one of those holiday blow up figurines in the lawn, fizzing like a balloon losing air, and disappears in a fog of smoke and ashes.

There, in the cloud of debris, is the treasure chest full of your self respect. You reach in and take a handful back, carrying it out with you. You start feeling better, even wonderful, again. For weeks at a time you come back and take another handful, never to let those tokens out of your control again.

About the author

Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition, including drag racing, his favorite motorsport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra-distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING: Keys" in a unique way. Currently, he has two books in the works.
Write to him at Phillip@ultrasuperior.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.