"Self-improvement is masturbation." -- Tyler Durden, Fight Club (1999)

Well, it's a clever saying at least, but it's bullshit. Then again, masturbation's pretty good stuff too anyway, heh. Anyway, with all the introspection and self-healing I'm embarking on these days, I haven't neglected my body, but I haven't exactly focused on it either.

That ends today.

For the first time in my life, starting about a month ago, but that I first actually noticed yesterday, I'm actually pleased with how I look. When a pair of young women smiled at me, just because they wanted to, as I strolled down the Santa Cruz Boardwalk yesterday during my "time off", it occured to me that "hey, you look good, women are checking you out!"

Of course, just because I'm pleased doesn't mean I'm done. Every part of me has room for improvement, and it's only when we stop trying to improve things (even when it looks okay) that we stop growing as people.

I love lists. We all know that by now. This is what we call a shitlist; everything that appears here is doomed to be destroyed:

  • Ten more pounds. I'm officially at the top end of my healthy target weight. I've never been there before as an adult -- I peaked at 235 pounds. I'm down to 189. My target range is 151 to 189. So I've made it that far already, and the funny thing is I wasn't even trying to diet. I'm still not. But getting down to 175 to 180 will satisfy me.
  • The beer gut. I've lost 46 pounds. Holy shit. My stomach has shrunk immensely, but there's still some flab there. I still have love handles I don't want. They're doomed -- and they're next. They're going down with the weight.
  • The unremarkable tone. There's no flab in my arms or legs -- not tons of muscle tone but they look good enough. My stomach, though, even without the "beer gut", is missing the mild six pack I want. I want more muscle tone across the whole body. I want to turn heads when I walk outside in a bathing suit.
  • The sleepy, droopy eyes. This one's something that plastic surgery will be needed for, unless I can discover muscles I have that I've never used. My eyes always look droopy and sad. I tend to look sleepy, or upset, or worried. Okay, fine, for much of my adult life, that's been an accurate description. But not anymore. I want to be able to express sadness when I need to, but my eyes need to beam when I'm happy. It's the eyelids -- they're huge and thick and need to be "adjusted."
  • The bent nose. Another surgery thing, but I'm sick of it being bent the way it is. Time to go.

My beer gut has bothered me for years. Even my ex-wife got sick of me whining about it. I realized though that since I've managed to lose all this weight without really trying, it's time to put real effort into my physical appearance. It won't take lots of time each day, just some focus and drive. Anybody who read my March 21, 2004 entry knows that I have found a whole big stash of that stuff. I've already got some good confidence -- it's time to back it up with some good looks.

The plan
I already exercise a decent amount. I don't mind walking, I take stairs when I can instead of elevators, since I'm not too thrilled with elevators anyway, I lift things and move stuff around, and I'm even improving my posture (no more slouching; I don't even let sadness or depression serve as an excuse anymore for slouching and anytime I catch myself doing it, I force myself to stop).

Still, some minor things need to change:

  • Daily exercise. Probably just some crunches and a round or two of Dance Dance Revolution should do the trick. Just for now -- if I end up needing more for the muscle tone I'm after (remember, not beefcake, just "cut" a bit more than now) I'll do that later. The gut and the weight are the current targets. I don't mind replacing fat weight with muscle weight; if I end up around 185 but look nice and ripped, then I'll be happy.
  • Watching the diet. I am already doing very well here. I will devote a bit more attention to making sure it stays right. I don't eat breakfast enough, which must be fixed. I am already eating appropriate meal portions, so that won't change. I just need to eat more often.

You, my intrepid readers, get to follow along on this process. I'm going to write daily about what I've done to achieve these goals. Obviously the first few are easier -- I just have to do stuff. The ones requiring plastic surgery, though, require me to start putting all these different pieces together in my life and get the money situation cleaned up again. Still, having goals is important. And here, mine begin.

I'm still going to write more about my other goals as I work them out. Obviously, from yesterday's entry, some of my goals are already apparent and clear to me. I've got some more I'm figuring out, and I'll pile those in too.

I want to let the world watch (if it wants to) my own rebirth, so that's what I'm going to focus on over the next month or so. Maybe longer.

One of the suggestions I got from a minister at the church I visited yesterday (Novus Spiritus if anyone's curious) was that I should write letters to the universe. I'm going to be doing that too, but I think writing all this stuff down, too, is important. I'm going to pick up a notepad and do the letter thing as well; the physical part is apparently important, since the idea is to burn the letter after I write it, to turn it to smoke and give it back to the universe. Kinda sounds like bunk, as the letter itself is obviously a part of a universe even before I torch it, but hey, I've always liked playing with fire anyway, and what could it hurt to try this? At worst, I'll still be able to figure out things and write it down, just for me, and help it stay clear and focused. At best, it'll actually work, and the universe will pay attention to me, and offer up some help.

I've also decided to clone my entries here onto LiveJournal. I'll be stripping out the Everything2 specific markup (the square brackets), but leaving the rest of the markup alone. I'm doing that for Erica in fact, since reading writeups on E2 bugs her a bit, but I also want to do it for a few other people back in Colorado who read my stuff sometimes too. It's time for that journal to stop stagnating.

For those of you reading this from LiveJournal, and who want to see my writeups on Everything2, head over to http://everything2.com/, and type "willfe" into the search box. You'll see my user page; click the number (currently it's 87) in the "number of write-ups/experience" box to see a list of everything I've written there. It's split into pages of fifty entries each, so if you seriously get into my writing, you'll want to check every page of the list.