Fit at 40: How to Get in Shape and Other Stupid Questions
A few weeks ago, I was scanning my appointment summary after a routine checkup when I saw it at the bottom of the diagnoses list: Obesity.
The word itself somehow looked fat. It just sat there, immovable, right after “acid reflux” and “too old for cartoons but won’t admit it.” How did it come to this? What series of events had lead me to this moment, to this portly noun mocking me from the safety of its righteous and awful truth? I didn’t know. I didn’t have any answers, just more questions. Like that episode of Transformers where Bumblebee lost to Starscream.
I’ve never been accused of being anything resembling athletic—or fat, for that matter. I’ve always tread that thin line between the two, at best achieving a “I guess he’ll do” shrug from the ladies. And that was fine by me. I was proud of that shrug. It made me feel good.
But somewhere along the way, something happened. Treading that line became more and more difficult. In my early twenties, I’d just eat salad for a few weeks and then go back to being awesome. And with a collar of the decidedly blue persuasion, I got all the exercise I needed at work, thank you very much. I was fully capable of maintaining a dad-bod long before the term was cool, and I was happy doing it. All was right with the world.
But at some point, a fat vampire came along and stole my youth. The days of two-week salads have been gone for quite some time. Looking back, I now see quite clearly the sad, empty craters of my failed attempts at a healthier lifestyle, pocking the landscape of my past like a moonscape made of cheese. Mmm, cheese . . .
Focus, fatty. Where was I? Failed attempts as far as I could see, right. They were everywhere. The crumpled gym membership cards that had died in my wallet, squeezed to death by countless fast food receipts. The many large clothes hangers I had owned, and the realisation that their original design was meant to be that of exercise equipment. The innumerable New Year’s resolutions that had passed my lips, only to be abandoned because they were hard. And stupid. Just so, so stupid.
And perhaps the most painful of all, the realisation that it had been some years since I’d seen that shrug. That glorious, life-affirming shrug that always managed to just barely tip the scales in my favour. The only thing that had really changed for the better was that my collar had turned from blue to white, which was great—but that meant I didn’t even get the exercise from blue collar work anymore.
It all leads to a number of questions. Can I become fit at 40? Can I use the title ‘Fit at 40’ when I’m actually turning 42 in three months? Am I relegated to spending the next 40 years as I have the previous? Can a lifetime of habit, excuses, low expectations and no commitment be turned around? Or am I stuck here, a dude with a dad-bod but no kids to justify it?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not one to wallow in self-pity unless there’s money involved.
I’ve been talking with my friend and mentor Ash Sunassee, and starting today, we’re taking a 90-day fitness challenge. Based on the Four Pillars of Wellfinity, we’re going to focus on all aspects of our wellbeing and share the journey with you.
- Nutrition: we’re cutting out the carbs and sugar, and cleaning up our diets.
- Fitness: we’re starting with 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week.
- Mindfulness: we’re warming up our workouts with some breathing exercises and meditation.
- Community: Ash and I are in this together—with you for additional support!
For me, the ultimate goal is more than just a six-pack and a sick pair of guns—I want to understand why people like me find fitness so difficult to get into and make a permanent part of their lives.
Plus, I’ve been dying to try para-cliff-biking and board-mountain-kayaking. After DuckTales, of course.
Interested in writing a book about your fitness journey? Already have a manuscript? Ready to publish and market your book? Whatever the case, the dedicated team at Wellfinity Scribe is here to help. Drop us a line and let’s have a quick chat about your project!
Walker Kornfeld is the director of the Unleash Your Inner Writer programme and a co-founder of Wellfinity Scribe.
Reach him at email@example.com.