Tag Archives: weight loss

CRISPR, Biohacking, And Beauty Standards

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Years ago when I just started working out, a friend of a relative who worked part-time as a personal trainer gave me some advance. At the time, I was not in exceptionally good shape, but I wanted to get healthy and look good with my shirt off. Upon hearing this, he gave me what he called his three simple/inescapable truths about fitness.

Truth #1: To see results, you need to be patient and work out consistently.

Truth #2: To see results, you also need to tweak your diet and eat right.

Truth #3: No matter how hard you work out or how well you eat, everybody is still at the mercy of their genetics.

The passage of time, along with many long hours in the gym, have only proven those truths right. They reflect some of the inescapable obstacles that the multi-billion dollar fitness industry pretends aren’t there. As magician/performer Penn Jillette once so wisely said, “Great T&A requires great DNA.”

That doesn’t stop every fad diet and fitness gimmick from convincing people that they can overcome their genetic limitations and do so without putting in the necessary work. That’s akin to telling people they can become a foot taller just by wishing for it and giving some photogenic infomercial star their credit card information.

For the most part, we are very much at the mercy of our genetic limits and the basic chemistry of our bodies. If you want to lose fat, you got to get your body to burn fat, which can be harder for certain people with certain genetic dispositions. If you want to build muscle, you basically have to work that muscle until it breaks, forcing your body to repair it and make it bigger. Again, there are genetic limits at work here.

Those limits are frustrating. Believe me, I know and I have plenty of soreness to prove it. Despite that frustration, working out has been great for my health, my confidence, and my overall appearance. Those three truths still bug me at times, but I understand and accept them. For certain people, those hard truths are much greater burden.

As I write this, though, those truths are starting to falter. Unlike every other point in the history of fitness, health, and sex appeal, we have a working knowledge of the basic building blocks of the human genome. We have insights and understandings to our genetics that no infomercial star in the 90s could’ve imagined.

We know the genes that cause muscle growth. We know the genes that cause our bodies to burn fat. Some of these discoveries are very new and haven’t yet made their way to weight loss clinics or fad diets. The only barrier to making use of this knowledge is having a tool that can manipulate genes directly and precisely.

If you’ve read my previous articles on the future of treating infectious disease or fixing the flawed parts of the human body, then you know that such a tool exists and is being refined as we speak. That tool is CRISPR and, on top of potentially curing once fatal diseases, it may very well shatter those three truths of fitness. It may also destroy every other hard truth regarding bodybuilding, beauty standards, and sex appeal.

I’m not saying you should cancel your gym membership or junk those free weights just yet. However, the potential for CRISPR to change the way we think about our health and how we stay healthy cannot be overstated. While it’s still very much in the early stages of development, some people are already getting impatient.

That’s where biohackers come in. They’re not quite as badass as they sound, but what they’re doing is still pretty amazing and pretty dangerous. They’re basically skipping the part where they wait for the FDA or the World Health Organization to tell everyone that CRISPR is safe. They actually use themselves as guinea pigs to refine CRISPR.

Now, I need to make clear that this is exceedingly risky and not in the “Jurassic Park” sort of way. Tampering with our genome is uncharted, unregulated territory and we don’t yet have a full understanding of the potential dangers. That said, in the field of fitness and sex appeal, CRISPR may put gyms, plastic surgeons, and weight loss clinics on notice.

Renegade biohackers like Josiah Zayner, have actually live-streamed stunts where they inject themselves with CRISPR. Another biohacker, Aaron Traywick, injected himself with an experimental herpes treatment in front of a live audience. These are not scientists in cold laboratories using lab rats. These are real people tampering with their DNA.

Where this intersects with fitness comes back to those hard genetic limits I mentioned earlier. When you think about it, the way we build muscle and burn fat is pretty crude. We basically have to purposefully strain our bodies, even hurting them in the case of building muscle, to get it to do what we want. It can be imprecise, to say the least.

In theory, CRISPR would be more direct and far less strenuous than spending two hours in a gym every day. Instead of straining the muscles or sweating off the fat, you would just inject CRISPR into targeted areas of your body, like your belly or your bicep, and have it activate/inhibit the necessary genes.

Like cheat codes in a video game, it would prompt muscle growth in the specific areas you want. It would prompt fat burning in the areas you want. You could even take it further than that. Using the same techniques, you could use CRISPR to edit the genes of your skin so that it reduces the risk of blemishes and acne. As someone who suffered horrible acne as a teenager, I can attest to the value of such a treatment.

Some of this isn’t even just theory, either. Remember Josiah Zayner? Well, he injected himself with a CRISPR cocktail designed to block the production of myostatin. Those who are into bodybuilding know why that’s a big deal because blocking myosatin is one of the main functions of steroids.

While Zayner hasn’t gone full Hulk just yet, other more legitimate brands of research have already demonstrated that CRISPR could be the ultimate steroid. Researchers in China used the same technique as Zayner to create a breed of heavily-muscled dogs. This isn’t on paper. This stuff is real and it will affect both our health and our sex appeal.

Imagine, for a moment, standing in front of a mirror and documenting the parts of your body you want shrunk, grown, or smoothed out in some way. Maybe you’ll even make a detailed list, complete with diagrams and a full rendering of how you want your body to look.

Then, once that information is compiled, your personal doctor/biohacker programs all this into a series of targeted CRISPR injections. Some go into your arms. Some go into your abs. Some go into your face, butt, and genitals. If you hate needles, it may get uncomfortable. If you love gaining muscle and sex appeal without any real work, then it’s basically the miracle drug that every bad infomercial failed to deliver.

Considering the beauty industry is worth over $445 billion dollars, it’s pretty much a guarantee that some enterprising biohacker who may or may not already work for a major cosmetics company will make this a commercial product. There’s just too much money to be made along with too many people unsatisfied with how they look.

It may be costly at first, as most new treatments tend to be. People will pay for it, though. If you could exchange spending hours at the gym for just a few injections and get similar results, I think most people would gladly pay a premium for that. Sure, it’s a shortcut and it’s lazy, but if the results are the same, why does it matter?

That’s a question that has many answers, some of which are too difficult to contemplate. One of the reasons we find certain people so beautiful is because that beauty is so rare. Only a handful of women look as beautiful as Jennifer Lawrence or Kate Hudson. Only a handful of men look as beautiful as Brad Pitt and Idris Elba. Some of that beauty comes from hard work and conditions. Some of it is just good genetics.

What happens when that kind of beauty is as easy as administering a few injections with CRISPR? This is a question I already asked in my novel, “Skin Deep.” I offered hopeful, but incomplete answer. I have a feeling, though, that our entire notion of beauty standards will undergo major upheavals once people can shape their bodies the same way they customize their cars.

With CRISPR, we’re not just adding a layer of paint or trying to tweak an old engine. We’re modifying the foundation and scaffolding of our bodies. In theory, people could use CRISPR to achieve an appearance that is otherwise impossible, no matter how many hours are spent in a gym or how many dangerous steroids they inject. For all we know, what counts as sexy 20 years from now will look bizarre to most people today.

These trends will take time to emerge, but they’ll probably emerge faster than most fad diets or exercise gimmicks because once we start tweaking genetics, the old rules no longer apply. All the traditions and truths we’ve had about exercise, bodybuilding, and beauty collapse. It’s hard to know what will manifest in its place.

For a while, we may get a world where most women are thin and pretty while most men are tall and muscular. However, chances are people will get bored of seeing the same thing. As such, they’ll start experimenting. They’ll try coming up with entirely new body shapes, body features, and physiques that defy the existing laws of biology. As long as some people find that sexy, though, it won’t matter.

Then, there’s the impact of CRISPR on athletes. It’s one thing to test for performance enhancing drugs. What happens when some determined athlete injects a bit of LeBron James’ DNA into their genome to improve their basketball skills? What happens when an Olympic athlete tweaks something in their lung DNA to help them run a three-minute mile? How would we even test for that?

There are so many implications, both for sports and for beauty. It’s hard to know how our society will react, but unlike some of the other emerging technologies I’ve mentioned, CRISPR is real and it’s growing rapidly.

It’s still a very young technology and these things take time to develop. For a quick reference, penicillin was discovered in 1928, but it wasn’t commercially available until 1945. By comparison, CRISPR is barely five years old and biohackers are just starting to learn its limits and potential.

As that potential is realized, we may have to revisit other hard truths beyond those pertaining to fitness and health. From body image to sex appeal, a lot is going to change with this technology. It may be overwhelming, at times, but when it comes to sex appeal, humans are nothing if not adaptive.

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Making Exercise Obsolete (While Still Looking Sexy)

About nine years ago, I finally came to the realization that I was not as healthy, attractive, or fit as I wanted to be. I was weak, undersized, unassuming, and got winded just by walking around the block a few times. I had next to no sex appeal and hesitated to remove my shirt at the beach. Sadly, it wasn’t until five years ago that I got serious about getting healthy.

Why did it take so long for me to get my act together? It’s simple. That kind of health and sex appeal takes work. It takes a lot of work. To look like I do now, I go running for at least a half hour, six times a week. I go to the gym and lift weights at least twice a week. I also try to limit my sugar intake and drink plenty of water.

While the results have done wonders for my confidence and my sex appeal, it still took a lot of work. Most people, especially those who were die-hard couch potatoes like I was, are reluctant to do that kind of work. It’s strenuous, inconvenient, and downright uncomfortable at times. Go try running four miles in 102 degree weather to see why. Yes, I’ve done that. No, it’s not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

It’s a big reason why most diet and weight loss efforts fail. It’s also why most people tend to break their New Years Resolution to get healthy. Given the extent of the obesity epidemic, it shouldn’t take that much to motivate people into being healthier. However, the work it takes to get that kind of sex appeal is pretty significant, especially when you lack the genetics of a supermodel.

This is now the part where I get peoples’ hopes up about a sexier future, but have to temper them because we’re not quite there yet. However, in reflecting on how hard I worked to reach my current level of health and sex appeal, I think this is something that should give hope those who have given up at becoming sexy something.

For years, diet companies and bad infomercials have been looking for that magic diet pill. You’ve probably heard and/or fantasized about it to some extent. It’s that special pill that you take one a day, change nothing about your lifestyle, and still lose weight. It’s magic because, by and large, that’s literally what such a pill requires in order to work.

Many people claim to have discovered it. Dr. Oz has discovered it no fewer than 16 times. The fact that obesity is still a problem and people still need to exercise in order to lose weight and gain sex appeal shows just how bogus these products are. If you’re depressed now, please bear with me because there is some good news here.

That magic pill that Dr. Oz keeps failing to find might actually be possible, minus the magic. According to research conducted at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, it is possible for a pill that will not only help them lose weight, but mimic the effects of exercise. It basically means that you can get the equivalent of a two-hour workout and never leave your couch. It’s a lazy person’s ultimate dream.

How is that possible, though? How can it not rely on magic? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know how much I belabor the inherent flaws in the human body. The human body, despite its beauty and sexiness, is kind of crude. It can easily be tricked, hacked, and hijacked like an old computer running Windows 95.

According to the research, the miracle drug involved, unoriginally called GW501516, basically tricks the body into doing the same thing it does when you actually exercise. As it turns out, there are all sorts of basic, but varied process that happen when you work out. Your heart rate goes up, your metabolism spikes, and your body basically stresses itself into burning energy, becoming fitter and sexier in the process.

Those same processes are, like I said, fairly crude. Exercise is just the reaction your body has. If a pill can induce that same reaction, then your body won’t know the difference. It doesn’t have to do the same workout as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It just has to react as though it did.

If it sounds like cheating, that’s because it is, from a biological perspective. Unlike professional athletes and certain World of Warcraft players, the only consequence is washboard abs, toned arms, and legs that can kick a soccer ball across the field. Biology is pretty lousy at punishing cheaters, especially when it helps them look sexier and survive.

Now, if you’re wondering why this miracle drug isn’t already making billions turning everyone into fitness models, there’s a damn good reason. The drug, in its current state, has some nasty side-effects, one of which is cancer. No matter how much you want those washboard abs, cancer isn’t worth paying that kind of price.

However, the fact that pill worked is a proof of concept. Finding ways to mitigate those side-effects, or remove them entirely, is simply a matter of refinement, research, and testing. Given that the weight loss market it worth $66 billion, rest assured there are plenty of incentives to get this drug right.

It’s promising, but still a ways off, as many of the other advancements I’ve mentioned tend to be. However, unlike major breakthroughs such as smart blood, this one is probably closer than most. Given the incentives and the scale of the obesity epidemic, it’s only a matter of time before someone turns this into a true magic bullet for obesity.

It also means that, when that time comes, it’ll be possible for more people to get in shape, get sexier, and stay that way without maintaining a ridiculous workout routine. I’m not going to lie. If I could just take a pill instead of running 15 miles a week, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Who among us wouldn’t?

It might very well make the very concept of exercise obsolete. Who would want to go to the gym or run every day if they didn’t have to? While that may upset gym owners, I think a fitter, healthier, sexier population is a price worth paying.

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Why We Make (And Fail) New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about that time when people start making a list of all those who ruined their holiday and how they’ll get back at them. That time has already passed. It’s a new year. It’s 2017. That means we’ve all got a clean slate so to speak. We have a chance to shake off the burdens of 2016 and make 2017 better.

It’s that very sentiment that leads many to make New Years Resolutions. I’m definitely among that crowd. For most of my adult life, especially in recent years, I’ve tried to make New Years Resolutions that will help me improve myself, my life, and all those around me.

I know it sounds cheesy. Some might not even think it’s very sexy. I think it’s an important part of being an adult, finding ways to improve yourself. Isn’t improvement supposed to be sexy? Isn’t that why women get breast implants and why men smother themselves in aftershave? Call it whatever you want. Improvement on any level should be sexy.

I know I’m not alone in making these resolutions. Around this time of year, I notice a significant uptick in crowd sizes at the gym I go to. In fact, there have been some instances where the gym is so crowded on the first week of the new year that it’s hard to get a good workout in.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as may be the case), those crowds tend to taper off. Usually by mid-February, the crowds are almost back to normal. I think that says a lot about New Years Resolutions and how hard they are to fulfill.

I think we’re all guilty of it at some point in our lives. We make a promise to ourselves to do better or be better in some capacity. Then, for reasons that aren’t always our fault, we fail. It’s sad. It’s frustrating. It can be downright demoralizing. Unless you’re rich enough to pay someone to meet your goals for you, it’s downright inevitable.

Why is this though? Why is it that so many people fail at New Years Resolutions? Well, some of that goes back to the “caveman logic” I’ve cited many times before on this blog. In some respects, our own evolutionary biology is working against.

This isn’t just a case of our brains being wired primarily for survival and reproduction. This is more a product of our brains favoring certainty over uncertainty. Back in the caveman days, not knowing where we would get our next meal, when we would hump our mate, or whether there was a hungry bear around the corner caused a lot of stress. We needed to feel stress so that we’d do something about it. That’s just the laws of nature.

Once again, the problem with our brains is that it still hasn’t gotten the memo that this is 2017. We’re not living in caves anymore. Our wiring still confuses the uncertainty surrounding our whole weight-loss resolution with the uncertainty that comes with not knowing whether a bear will steal the meat we gathered from our last hunt.

Being so crude and blunt, reorienting our brain is like trying to cut glass with a hammer. Technically, it is possible. It’s just not very precise. Our brains are wired to avoid the distress that comes with uncertainty. That’s why it’ll fight you tooth and nail when you try to change something in your life.

I know this because I certainly had to fight it when I pursued some of my resolutions. As I documented before, my efforts to get in shape did not happen overnight. I had to slowly work my way into a healthier mindset. It took time. It took patience. It took a whole lot of frustration as well, but I did it.

In some respects, I was lucky. I had some strong motivating factors behind that resolution, namely recent health issues that some close relatives endured. That, along with getting older, helped provide incentives that my brain just couldn’t work around. Those incentives have served me well, so much so that not exercising causes me distress.

This has been the key to a lot of my resolutions. It’s not so much that I make bold promises. It’s how I go about it. I try to work my new resolutions into a system of sorts. I’ve always been a very regimented person by nature. So when I want to do something, I try to fit it into a schedule or a system that I can live by. If possible, I try to make it as flexible as possible.

A lack of flexibility in setting a goal or a system is usually the first step towards failing. I don’t like to fail. That’s why flexibility is so important. Some of that actually comes from my parents, who made it a point to make everyone flexible to deal with the daily chaos of our lives. It worked when I was a kid. It works even better as an adult.

Now I’m not saying I’m an expert in helping you achieve your New Years Resolution. I’m as qualified to be a self-help guru as I am to be starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. However, I’m not one of those late night infomercial scam-artists who will charge you a hundred bucks just to tell you what you want to hear. I prefer to keep things simple and practical.

I know my experiences with New Years Resolutions won’t work for everyone. My situation is wholly unique and it probably won’t work for everybody. I can definitely relate to those seeking a career in publishing or wanting to explore the world of superhero comics. I can’t exactly relate to those whose resolutions involve buying the perfect Ferrari or not getting mauled by a hungry cheetah.

So in the interest of not overplaying my hand or making light of the fact that I’m still an aspiring erotica/romance writer who has yet to accomplish many of his goals, I’ll try to keep my New Years advice simple and concise. It goes like this:

  • Take a moment to analyze your routine/system, how you go about your day, and how well it’s working at the moment
  • Highlight specific areas of that routine/system that has room for improvement and identify those areas as “blanks” that you can reorganize
  • Assess how flexible you are in your current routine/system and, wherever possible, try to improve that flexibility to the greatest extent possible
  • Set small, concise goals at first within the “blanks” and try to work it into your system
  • Do not try to pursue more goals than you can count on one hand at the same time
  • Be realistic and be willing to fail
  • Above all else, learn from your failures

There, that is Jack Fisher’s unofficial guide to pursuing your New Years Resolution. It’s simple. It’s free. You don’t need a guru charging you by the hour. You just need commitment, motivation, and a willingness to try, fail, and learn from those failures. In the long run, the successes will emerge in places you don’t expect.

Also, in keeping with my admission that I am as much an expert as I am a rocket scientist, I’ll cite another more comprehensive list from the fine folks at Psychology Today. The people on this site are likely more qualified than me to assess the intricacies of self-improvement. Their article “Why New Years Resolutions Fail” offers more in depth advice that I’m not qualified to give.

Whatever advice you choose to follow, I strongly encourage everyone to pursue a New Years Resolution. We should all strive to improve as best we can with what little time we have in this world. Why not start now?

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How I Shamed Myself Into Being Healthier

There’s no way around it. Compared to all the characters in movies, TV shows, and comic books, we’re ugly as hell. We don’t take care of ourselves. We’re fat. We’re weak. We’re unmotivated. Despite all this, we still like to pretend we’re sexier than Jennifer Lawrence in a bikini sucking on a popsicle. It’s as unhealthy as it is delusional.

What I just wrote is not to be taken as motivation or a sales pitch. It’s not even directed towards any person or group in particular. In fact, what I just said is merely a reflection of the thoughts I once conveyed whenever I looked in a mirror, minus that part about Jennifer Lawrence. Just like I am with my writing, I am my own harshest critic when it comes to my body and health.

I shamed myself. I shamed myself a lot for a good chunk of my adult life. It wasn’t just about my looks either. I had a serious self-esteem issue growing up. It wasn’t because of anything my friends or family did. That’s for sure. I did it to myself and not for all the right reasons. I was fucking miserable. I hated myself. In the end, however, it helped me in a profound way.

Confused? That’s to be expected. Annoyed? Yeah, I have that effect on people. Anxious? Well, you should be because I’m about to get personal again. I’ve talked about sleeping naked. I’ve talked about my own circumcision. Those topics are bound to fill peoples’ heads with unpleasant imagery. I hope this time is little anecdote is a bit more pleasant.

This personal story is a follow-up, of sorts, to my post on body-shaming. I understand that what I wrote probably offended certain people because I took the unpopular position that there’s some kind of merit to shaming. Then again, the people who took offense to that probably get offended when someone points out the color of the sky so I’m not going to worry too much about those people.

Instead, I want craft a real-life example of how shaming can make us better ourselves. It’s not enough to just be happy with who you are, love yourself no matter what, and never acknowledge any flaws you may have. I think it’s an important lesson to learn because people make a big fucking deal of self-esteem these days and worry endlessly that kids and adults alike or suffering when they don’t have enough of it.

Like snake oil and diet pills, self-esteem is basically seen as this cure-all for every mental shortcoming. Chief among those shortcomings involves how we look. We shouldn’t shame each other for looking different, right? We should love ourselves and embrace our inner beauty, right? It’s the lesson that Lady Gaga has taught an entire generation.

First off, this lesson is bogus. Second, it’s extremely easy for Lady Gaga to love herself. Why? She looks like this.

It’s very easy to love yourself when you’re beautiful. Beauty like this is beauty you actually have to work at. You think Lady Gaga looks this way because she just loves herself? Hell no! She has to fucking work at it. She has to actually earn the right to look this good.

This is an important concept and one that more people need to learn. Beauty and health aren’t things that we can gain just by loving ourselves. Self-esteem does not help you lose weight, nor does it make your acne go away. A lack of self-esteem can make it even worse. I would know.

This is how my story played out. For most of my life, I wasn’t very attractive. That’s not to say I was ugly. I wasn’t short, fat, or deformed in any way. I was basically just average at best or below average at worst. I also wore dorky glasses and had a horrible acne problem that plagued me for most of my teenage years. I never felt attractive. I never felt sexy. I basically went out of my way to make myself more miserable for not looking good.

I admit I was probably much harsher on myself than I should’ve been. While I was in school, I knew people who actually did have health issues, be it their weight or their appearance. Harsh or not, it did mess me up. It didn’t make me very pleasant to be around, that’s for sure.

I certainly didn’t get a lot of attention from women either. Believe it or not, girls don’t find pudgy, pale, self-loathing guys with an acne problem attractive. This certainly did plenty to undermine my self-esteem even more, but looking back on it, I can hardly blame them. I can’t imagine I would’ve been a good partner for any woman during that time.

So what changed? It had to have changed. I wouldn’t have the energy or the self-esteem to share this story if I had remained this sad, dorky, overly-emo kid with an acne problem. So how exactly did I respond to all that self-shaming and self-loathing?

Well, for one thing, it ensured I didn’t ignore it. When my acne got really bad, I made it a point to go to a doctor and get actual medication to help treat it. Believe it or not, modern medicine does work. I was able to find a treatment for my acne that more-or-less solved the problem. So thanks modern medicine! That’s one issue solved.

Modern medicine helped me out again down the line. Remember those dorky glasses I mentioned? Well, they’re gone now. I don’t wear them because I got Lasik surgery on my eyes to fix them. I now see perfectly. I now have a face that is unhindered by acne or glasses. I like to think it’s a cute face. I’m not Ryan Gosling, but I’m no George Costanza either.

However, modern medicine could only do so much. Sometimes, you need a good kick in the ass to get yourself to change. I definitely got that when a close relative of mine suffered a serious heart attack. He didn’t die, but it was serious.

The fact that he was only in his 50s really concerned me because after that incident, I found out that there is a history of heart disease and cancer in my family. On top of that, I didn’t take care of myself. My meals consisted primarily of sugary cereal, cookies, greasy burgers, and pizza. My exercise regiment was restricted to walking up to the store to buy more junk food. I was playing a risky game of poker with the deck stacked against me.

Despite this very disconcerting knowledge, I was still reluctant to get off my ass. The caveman part of my brain just didn’t want to change. It was just too easy to keep doing what I was doing. Plus, I really like the taste of cookies and junk food.

In the end, I feel the shaming gave me the extra push that I needed. Seeing myself in the mirror every day and not liking what I saw motivated me to do something about it. On top of that, I love comic books, as I’ve made clear on this blog many times before. In case you’ve forgotten, Superman looks like this.

Look at those muscles. Look at those abs. Look at that raw masculine power. Is it an unrealistic ideal for men? Absolutely. Superman is, by his own nature, the embodiment of an ideal. However, just because something is unattainable doesn’t mean it’s worth striving for. That’s a lesson Superman himself preaches.

I finally got that message loud and clear. One day, I finally dragged my pudgy ass out of bed and to a gym at the local rec center. I convinced myself to go there by promising myself that I would soak in the hot tub after getting in a workout. It wasn’t much of a workout to begin with, but it was a start and that hot tub felt dam good.

From there, a new habit formed. I started going to the gym more regularly, once a week to start. I soon felt the urge to do more so I started going twice. I bought workout clothes. I looked up fitness tips online. I didn’t buy into any gimmicky weight-loss crap from late-night infomercials. I just ran, lifted, and sweated.

Flash forward a bit more and now I’m an avid runner. I go out running for at least 30 minutes a day or four miles, whichever comes first. I do weight-training twice a week and I don’t go light either. I grunt, I sweat, and I toil. After every workout, I look like I just swam in a pool of my own sweat loved every second of it. I’m not going to lie either. It makes me feel damn sexy.

On top of the exercise, I did tweak my diet. This was, by far, the hardest. I had to cut a lot of sugar out of my diet. That meant cutting soda completely and saving cookies for special occasions only. That was painful. It meant eating more protein, such as eggs and chicken. It meant eating less red meat. These changes were tough, but worth it.

Now I’m not saying I look like Superman. I don’t. I’m not saying I have Brad Pitt’s abs or Hugh Jackman’s ass. I don’t. However, I can say that I look a lot healthier and a lot more attractive than I did before I started working out. I don’t have as much body fat anymore. I can actually see my abs. I actually have good bicep now. It does work, people. You can work out, eat better, get healthier, and become more attractive.

None of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t shamed myself into action. If I had just done what Lady Gaga said and loved myself, I would be 25 pounds heavier and far less healthy than I am now. Working out and becoming more attractive gave me more confidence and energy. It made me better to be around. It also made me more attractive to women, which is certainly a nice bonus.

I get that there are still problems with body shaming. There are people whose biology simply doesn’t allow them to look the way they want. It’s a difficult issue. Hell, it was the primary topic of my book, “Skin Deep.”

Until science advances to a point where it can make everybody look like Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence, we need to push ourselves. We need to actually work at it if we want to be beautiful, healthy, and attractive. Just being content with who we are isn’t enough sometimes.

We need to shame each other to some extent to get our asses in gear and get healthier. It can be hard and downright demoralizing at times, but it’s worth doing. You feel better, happier, and sexier as a result.

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