Celebrity deaths, election madness, and gorilla celebrity deaths. 2016 was an all-you-can-eat food poisoning fever dream. 2016 was also the first year in my life that I worked out and ate right the entire year. Here's what I've learned about myself from a solid year of getting down to business. Maybe you can steal a trick or two from my victories and failures.
1) I Wanted to Quit So I Had to Trick Myself Out of It
I've learned that I don't respond well to logic. I need pure, base, emotional appeal. If I don't want to work out, I have to figure out a way to trick myself into the gym. This could be getting In and Out protein style, animal style after my work out or just letting myself watch West World on the treadmill. I had to lay a trap for myself. It's easy to outsmart yourself when you're an idiot.
2) Depression May Be Metabolic for Me
I've always struggled with depression. Until this year. This is also the first year I lifted weights like I was auditioning to play "Tubby He-Man". You do the math.
3) I Learned to Cook
I was a pretty good cook before but eating healthy forced me to become a much better cook. When you’re restricting your diet, it can be a lot easier to make your own food. My favorite, relatively healthy food on keto used to be chicken wings. My wife and I would pay out the nose for wings at a place that just blared run ball and stick ball (those are names of sports, right? The only sport I lettered in was Speech and Debate). I could never figure out how to make good, wing-place-style-wings. After two months of Keto, I'd figured out where to buy cooking oils, got myself a fryer and was making some damn good chicken wings. They taste like victory...and SAVINGS!
4) I Cheat On Squat Day
I talk about this in another article but cheating on my diet on a squat day made things a lot easier for me. When you can find a cheat for cheating...it feels good.
5) I Pack My Own Salami (Laugh it Up)
When I get to a party, I'll inhale an entire package of salami and never break eye contact with whoever makes the mistake of talking to me. I have no shame. Especially when it comes to parties with food. People are cheap and boring. So are refined carbs. I can't tell you how many times I've been invited to a breakfast get together with other parents and it's only donuts and bagels. Be the guy who brings a sack of his own ham, rips chunks off it, talks with his mouth full and DGAF.
6) It's Harder Than I Thought
I stalled. I had plateaus. I lost weight much slower than I thought I should. I had to force myself to get to the gym some days. But remember, also...
7) It's Easier Than I Thought
My cravings went away and I learned to love the gym. I also marveled at how quickly my "newbie gainz" skyrocketed. That motivated me to keep going.
8) I Lost My Taste for Junk Food
I thought I loved junk food. The longer I've eaten healthy and worked out the more bogged down I feel by crappy eating. A similar thing happened to me with alcohol. The memory of my hangovers got stronger the older I got and now when I think about drinking I start to feel the hangover before I even start. The same thing is happening with bad food. I start to feel sick and tired when I look at it. It's like the finale of West World taught us: there can be no change without memory. It also taught us not to "f around" with robots….but that’s another topic for my 2020 list.
9) It Became One Of The Most Important Parts of My Life
I didn't realize how necessary working out and eating right would become to me. I need it like I once needed bong rips and all night breakfast diners. It's become a part of how I function at my best.
10) You Can Never Have Enough Butter
My wife always asks if we need one or two butters when we're at the store. We always need four. Always. All year. We've never not needed four packs of Kerrygold, Salted, Grass Fed Butter a week. Four is the number of butters we use in a week. We've tested this for 52 weeks in a row and we always, 100% of the time, need four. We get two.
11) I Became Frugal
Eating keto can be costly. I picked up tricks here and there to slow the cash hemorrhage. Beef cubed for stew is often cheaper than full on steaks but seasoned right is just like little steak morsels. A lot of grocery stores sell bacon ends which is mainly all fat, smells just like bacon and is cheaper. Keto win-win. You'll find your own tricks, too.
12) I Was Sad I Didn't Start Sooner
Like everything cool I've ever done, I'm really sad I didn't start seriously lifting and doing keto sooner. I can't get bogged down with regret but I am kicking myself. Especially because I love it.
13) My Wife Loves It
It's undeniable that being attractive is more attractive than being unattractive. You know what? I think that covers it.
14) I Got Better at Everything I Do
Everything I do, from writing to stand up to illustration has gotten better this year. I can't help but think that being in the best shape of my life (even though I'm still tubby) has a lot to do with my increased performance. It makes sense when you think about it. I do stand up with my body, I write with my brain, I draw with my hands, all of this stuff has been positively affected by lifting and keto. Why wouldn't I have gotten better at it all? It's not like my brain was squatting in some run down Craigslist one bedroom, half bath garden apartment temporarily. It lived there. When I moved my brain to a better neighborhood it started working harder. It might have let me down on that metaphor, though.
That's what I learned from a year of sticking to lifting, eating right and staying on top of my fitness. I hope it inspires you to stay on your path to fitness or if you haven't started already, I hope it gives you some useful tricks and excuses to start now. Here's to 2016. We miss you, Harambe. Always.
Andrew DeWitt is a stand-up comic, writer, illustrator and dad living in Los Angeles. Andrew won the TruTV Development award at the New York Television Festival for his comedy docuseries, Mike and Andrew Try to Lose Some Weight. He's written for E-How, Broscience Life, Geekster Ink, Sky Does Gaming, hosts the Andrew DeWitt Show podcast, a former voice actor for Action Figure Therapy and has appeared multiple times on The Jimmy Kimmel Show as a sketch actor.
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