By Chase S. Wilkinson
The problem being that nachos are delicious and I can’t stop shoving them in my face. It’s hard because 2015 was supposed to be the year I finally shed the extra baby fat and got super sexy and ripped. And then I began my love affair with nachos. Every year, I make the same New Year’s resolution. To get fit. And every year a new food item derails me with its sultry ways. Chicken nuggets were 2014’s Temptress of the Year; 2013 saw the rise of Chinese take-out. But despite my crippling queso-drenched addiction, I seriously thought I could make my New Year’s resolutions work. Oh how wrong I was.
I didn’t think I was being too ambitious when I looked at my cinnamon roll belly and was like “Hey, I bet there are some abs of steel under there.” Working out more is pretty much everyone’s number one resolution. Even though I may be a towering 6’3”, I still tip the scales at 300 pounds. It doesn’t look obvious upon first glance (people mainly get caught up in my luxurious beard), but it is a fact that I am extremely conscious of in my everyday life.
So this year I set out to change that with Marine-level discipline.
But I don’t have Marine-level discipline. I barely have baby pug-level discipline. But that didn’t stop me from writing elaborate workout plans and pumping myself up with my Taylor Swift workout mix only to spend a few hours crying on a yoga mat. Crunches are hard and my shoulders make scary clicking noises when I do pushups. Through yoga I’ve discovered that I have all the grace of a snowman made of bowling balls and the patience of a toddler up way past its bedtime. I don’t know if you’ve ever yelled at a yoga DVD to go faster but it’s kind of the opposite effect the practice should have on you.
Self-discipline is not really my thing. I’m a good day dreamer. If I made a resolution to day dream about being Superman at least five times a day, I would have passed with flying colors and be pretty fulfilled right about now. But no, I decided to actually become Superman and discovered that fast food and YouTube videos are my kryptonite.
For the first few months of the year, I slaved away at workouts in my tiny bedroom.
Apparently a full range of motion is a requirement for good yoga. I often found myself twisting into impossible shapes to avoid slamming my arms into the wall when stretching. My dad would often find me pinned in a knot with my head on the shelf of a bookcase and my lower half wedged under my bed. Carpet burn was a regular fixture on my face for a few months. But then I decided to give the gym a whirl.
I had avoided the gym for the majority of my life because I simply had no idea what to do in one. I’d always get all dressed up and excited to get a workout in only to walk around the gym and stare at the equipment in utter confusion. How does the chest fly machine work? Am I allowed in the free weight section if I’m not training to be to be Mr. Olympia? Is it okay if I just drink a smoothie and watch TV? Spoiler alert: I drank a smoothie and watched TV.
But then the buddy system kicked in.
I found that going to the gym with friends who actually knew how to work out was very helpful. I learned that I love a good squat and that bench pressing a bunch of weight is pretty fulfilling. For three beautiful months, my whole world changed. The gym became a pleasant escape from work and the stresses of the day. I looked forward to joking around, playing games and seeing just how strong I could be. Before long I was bench pressing over 200 pounds and squatting even more than that. Sure I may have dropped a medicine ball on my face a few too many times, but progress is progress. Although some draws are just too strong.
While my friends ran on the treadmill, I sat in the corner, day dreaming about nachos again. I spent my afternoons drenched in sweat, only to go home and gorge on a mountain of queso, chips, ground beef and salsa that was bigger than my head. No matter how large my biceps grew, my stomach was still out-pacing them.
By the end of May, my perfect attendance at the gym had crumbled into a pile of Taco Bell wrappers and defeat.
The grind of work would eventually derail my workout schedule, separating me from my workout buddies and forcing me to do it alone again. It turns out the gym closes at 9 p.m. but junk food knows no curfew.
New Year’s resolutions, whether big or small, are all an attempt to apply discipline to our lives. And while I enjoy a good spanking from time to time, it always feels better when you have a partner to help you out. Having a friend get in on the action, finally helped jump me into some real progress. It wasn’t until work broke up my buddy system broke down, that I descended back into another Tex-Mex themed bender.
So this year, make a pact with a good friend to do your New Year’s resolutions together. Check in with each other regularly. Carpool to the gym. Go to dinner together. Handcuff yourselves together and never let them out of your sight again. It’s for your health after all. It’s hard to shove food in your mouth when your hand is tethered to another human being.