i’ve been fat, well, almost all of my life. starting in fifth grade my mom quit her job to stay home after the birth of my youngest sister. i would come home from school to the smell of homemade cookies, cakes, etc. within a few months i was shopping for clothes at sears or montgomery wards and had been officially relegated to the ‘husky’ section for boys. ugh.
that was the beginning and my life has pretty much continued down that path for the last 30+ years. it’s always bothered me, but never enough to do all the work necessary to become skinny. don’t get me wrong, i still tried the occasional 2-week to 6-month diet and/or exercise routines, but never stuck with them. i used all sorts of things as excuses over the years, too. things like …
- it’s too hard to work out all the time
- i like food too much
- i don’t have enough time
- it’s too hot to do any exercise
- it’s boring to work out by yourself
- it’s too cold to do any exercise
- i just don’t feel like it
- i would if it didn’t feel so much like work
- the weathers too perfect to do any exercise
- i’d have to work out too much to make up for that gallon of ice cream i just ate
- if i ever needed to, i could last for years on chemo because of my fat
but now i’ve heard this latest description of me, it makes me want to embrace my chunky ninja self. viking fat. i like it. and no, i didn’t give myself that description. one of my KG cohorts did.
at first, being sensitive to my apparent fatness for the last third of a century, i asked for an explanation. so he ‘splained …
“dude, some people are what i call ‘powder puff’ fat. they’ve got the weight, but it’s all soft. no muscle there. you’re not powder puff. you’re like freaky strong in your arms and chest. you’re a big guy, but you’ve got a lot of muscle behind it. you’re like viking fat.”
then i thought of my perception of the vikings (not the football team) and visuals like Liam Neeson in Rob Roy, Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, or Gerard Butler in 300. now before you quickly correct me, i’m well aware none of these characters were vikings, but they were all skilled warriors who fought with great passion and heart. so take these characters and add a horned helmet and a beard and that’s the image in my mind — kinda like the modern-day biker gang
truth be told, while i do like the ‘viking fat’ label (as opposed to powder puff, jelly soft, marshmallow, and fluffy), i don’t want to stay here. i’ve been more consistent at losing weight (or inches) than i have at any other time in my life. i know i could work harder at it and become obsessive about what i eat and how hard i’m working, but i also know that i’d quit pretty quickly if i did. it’s just how i’m wired. but i am making progress and that’s what matters.
i’ve continued working my kenpo 4-6 hours per week. i also find myself thinking about techniques or general concepts more and more even if i’m not physically practicing my techniques. all of this is leading up to an upcoming belt test. a few of us have been given a bit of warning that the test is coming soon. i’m guessing in the next month or so and i’m going to do whatever i can to be ready. fortunately, my instructor is the one who gave us the ‘heads-up’ which means he must think we’re close to ready, too. that always gives me a bit more confidence.
i’m continuing to ride my bike to also help prepare me for my ongoing kenpo life and to help get into better shape. i can say i’ve gone from a 2x shirt to a 1x. and i’ve gone down 2 inches in my waist. so while i still look like a big guy, i’m gradually getting smaller and it’s proportionate which would make it less noticeable if you’re just looking at me. but i know and can tell the difference in how i feel.
example: while i may still get winded sparring, it’s not nearly as fast and my recovery time is also quicker. (i’m still not a fan of sparring, but my instructor has started having us spar more and more.)
i don’t think i’ll ever be ‘skinny’. ever. but if i can reduce my overall size, have more wind, and make progress in this wonderful art, i will be satisfied. hopefully soon i’ll be tying a purple belt around my waist and begin working on a news set of techniques and katas.
for now, i’m embracing the term ‘viking fat’. where’s my helmet?
— chunky ninja