A Promise to Wait Before Dieting Again
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
Commentator Kevin R. Free wants to keep it real when if comes to his resolutions for 2007.
KEVIN R. FREE: 2007 is almost hare. And once again, I'm going to take control of my diet and, once and for all, change myself in the lean, mean acting machine I know I should be.
I knew it was time to stop the insanity when an actor I'm working with right now referred to me as chunky - not that I care that he was talking about me. Frankly, I can't think of a better subject. I just would rather not be called chunky. It feels a little too much like the truth.
I mentioned to my trainer that I was embarrassed to work out sometimes because I make ugly faces and grunting noises when I lift weights. He explained that ugly faces and grunting noises are entirely appropriate at the gym because the gym is not supposed to be like happy hour.
I've always been a few pounds overweight. I played football and soccer when I was growing up, but sports never helped me lose weight. Besides, when I was a kid, I believed that my chubby cheeks were my ticket to becoming the next Gary Coleman. That's why I balanced all of my little league exercise with a healthy appetite.
As an adult, it was my sense of entitlement that was getting me into trouble. I'm an American. If I work hard, I'll get what I deserve. I work very hard at auditions, at rehearsal, or just being my sweet self which, believe you me, is hard work.
So I'm in for a great reward, right? Chicken fingers for my appetizer, steak for dinner, and a big old slice of cheesecake for desert - I ate like that every day until I was 40 lbs. overweight.
The satisfaction of a job well done wasn't enough. I wanted more, and I got it - more knee problems, more back problems and more self-image issues.
I realize that weight loss is all about choices. Do I want a turkey burger so I won't be hungry later? Or do I want a ginger bread cookie so I can be in a good mood now? Don't I deserve a treat just for getting through 2006?
Do I need to subtract all the treats I had during the year from my end of year bonus treats? These are important questions, but nothing like the questions I have once I get to the gym.
How long until I'm gorgeous? Am I done yet? Do I look butch lifting weights? My trainer was so right - going to the gym is nothing at all like happy hour. I would love to work in a fitness club where all the smoothie-drinking, Speedo-wearing, spin-class teaching perfect-bodied people have been banned. Is that bad? I only want them kicked out until I have a chance to catch up with them.
I have been so close to having a great physique for most of my life. I've been both too heavy and too thin. And I am, at age 37, pretty happy with my looks. But I'm deciding right here and right now, for 2007, that I will become even happier.
I'm not sure yet if that means I'll work out more or if I need to find a new therapist to help me with my self-image, or if I'll spend more time at happy hour. All I know for sure is that it is much too late for me to be the next Gary Coleman.
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CHIDEYA: Wise choice, Kevin. Kevin R. Free is an actor and career coach living in New York City.
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This is NPR News.