Working on ‘shaping’ things up

Luis Bahena

It had been one month into the New Year when I realized that I hadn’t really begun on my new year’s resolution. What might that be? Well like many Americans across the nation, it was to get in shape.

I started thinking about my shape when I was filling out my dating profile on Match.com (I know it’s kind of sad, but the bars haven’t resulted in good dates lately). So when it asked about my appearance, my options were: “Slender, About Average, Athletic and Toned, Heavyset, A Few Extra Pounds, Stocky and No Answer.”

Alright, so I didn’t want to select “No Answer” because that could be considered suspicious, so I had to consider the options. I’m not “Slender”, never have been, so that option was eliminated. I’m not “Heavyset” or “Stocky”, so those options were eliminated, along with “Athletic and Toned”.

Considering that my Nintendo game Wii Fit says that I am overweight (my BMI was at 25.55 last time I checked), I could’ve selected the” A few Extra Pounds” option. However, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape for my age so in the end I went with “About Average”.

Thinking about it though, “Athletic and Toned” would mean that a person is in pretty good shape to be considered “Athletic”, right. Let’s say that I was to get in good shape, how would that make me “Athletic” if I don’t even play sports?

I was never really big on sports to begin with. I liked volleyball when I was in elementary school, but I never really pursued it. One time I was picked as goalie for a soccer game at school, but was taken out because I blocked the ball. With my face!

Football confuses me, baseball seems to go around in circles and basketball can be entertaining at times, but I am too damn short to play the sport.

So, say I was to get in shape, all six pack abs and everything, why would that make me an “Athletic” shape? Perhaps that’s why Match.com decided to add the “Toned” part to that option.

America does not make it easy to get in shape. In almost every corner there are temptations in fast food. McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s Jack-in-the-Box, Carl’s Jr., and the list go on and on. You can’t travel 5 miles without coming across a fast food joint.

It’s easy to feed our kids these fattening meals, especially when parents are on the go. I would know, my mother pretty much raised me on Happy Meals growing up. She was a working single mother and was always on the go.

Being raised on happy meals resulted in me being overweight for most of my teen years and, although I wasn’t miserable, I wasn’t necessarily happy either. Flash forward some 8 years later and I can say that I am much happier with my weight now than I was back then (60 pounds lighter too).

The truth is, trying to get in shape isn’t only about looking good, it’s also about feeling good. It’s hard. It takes hard work and discipline, with both food and exercise but, in the long run, it is so much better for you.

Healthy eating and exercise reduce the risks of a lot of problems such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Getting in shape has really been a challenge, and I’m still not even halfway to my goal. Already I can see the changes in my body. My lungs are stronger, my legs feel more powerful, I’m not as tired and my mood tends to be on the happier side.

I consider myself a healthy person, but I want to be able to fall under the “fit” category one of these days. And in reality, I do the healthy eating and all the exercise for myself, not for a website that offers a possibility of dating.

Perhaps having a new year’s resolution may be a little silly and cliche, but sometimes challenging yourself is what you need to get things going. I am the only one who can keep me down, and I have no intention of being left behind.