I once found myself stuck in my home country (Brazil) for almost three months while waiting for a visa to come live in Australia.

During that time I found myself unnacceptably unfit and flabby. Granted, if you looked at me back then you wouldn't think "Gee, this guy really needs to lose weight." In fact, most people wouldn't even have a problem with it had they reached the same stage as I. But regardless of that, I found my physical condition to be unnacceptable to my own standards and worthy of a complete overhaul.

Since I had nothing to do over there but wait I decided to take the time to get serious and fit, and to dedicate my entire time to that purpose, only. I set no particular goals. All I knew is that I was going to run... to run a lot. So I got out of the apartment one day, weighing 72.5 kg, with a BMI of 24.5, which is .5 short of overweight by established standards and decided to run. The first couple of weeks I ran just about everyday, the distance varying between 4 to 5 km per run. I took it slowly, since I didn't want to injure myself - especially when I suffered from shin splints before. By the third week I had dropped below the 70 kg mark and was doing 7 km stretches with ease. I should perhaps mention that I cut down severely on my caloric intake as well, managing to consume no more than about 1300 Kcal a day - consistently. (Ok, I did have pizza once a week or so and sometimes indulged in McDonalds.)

By the time Christmas had arrived (I began on Nov 14th) I was down to just above 66 kg. Not just that, but I was running some pretty good distances (10 to 12 km daily). I also began going to a local gym, engaging in a very easy weight training routine, so as to not stress my body too much.

By the end of January I had dropped to below 64 kg. The changes in my appearance were obvious, and a dream to look at. The fat had lifted almost entirely, and I was beginning to get was is commonly known as a washboard stomach. The very light weight training helped add toning to the muscles, resulting in a body which was a far cry from what it was three months ago.

Vain you may say? The most immature of us would think that what I did wasn't exactly a manly thing to do, as "we're not supposed to care about our bodies" (right!) With my new body I felt on top of the world. The magnitudeof my achievement gave me a confidence boost unlike any I had ever received before. And I fit into my clothes, all of them. No more squeezing the gut to fit into those trousers, or that shirt that didn't look "right". I could even wear body hugging shirts and they would look good. I also felt incredibly fit, being able to run long distances (18 km in one stretch was my record). I could also run faster than before (my pb being 7 km in about 33 min). I know it's not much, but to someone like me such results seemed completely out of reach. I couldn't believe I could reach such heights in fitness.

Unfortunately, like many others this story has to have a sad ending. After two years of my feat I have recovered most of what I lost (on 69 kg right now). Such are the consequences of an office life.

In any case, I hope my story can serve as inspiration for those of you who have found yourselves in that situation. I don't care what anyone says. I cannot feel good about myself unless my body is in great shape. And the feeling you get when you alter your bodily composition is great. Not to mention the multitude of "runner's highs" that I experienced during that time. The feeling of having little in your stomach was also quite gratifying.

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