In the past month, I've swum 6,250 yards, biked for about 10 hours and run approximately 36.5 miles.

That might sound like bragging or fibbing — or even mileage amounts I usually only log while circling all-you-can-eat buffets — but it's not.

The reason I mention my fitness feats for the past month is so you didn't continue to think editors accidentally put the wrong title and incorrect writer's name on this column. Yep, it really was me — Chuck Arama — who insanely proclaimed to be training for a triathlon.

Just kidding — well, at least about the Mr. Arama part. I've officially entered the Shark Attack triathlon at Crystal Hot Springs on May 31, and I have begun Week 9 of the training torture sessions.

Truth be told, there have really only been two days in which I felt like I was torturing myself in my latest quest to become fit instead of fat.

The first day was almost four weeks ago. The torture part didn't come from the treadmill, bike or pool. It came from the worst invention ever made: the scale.

When I stepped onto the scale that Monday morning — the day I track my weekly weight on a graph-paper poster in my bathroom — it showed a gain of 4 pounds. As in FOUR POUNDS!!!!

Go back to December, and I almost would have been happy with only gaining that much. But this was February. This was not long after I had insanely proclaimed to be training for an upcoming triathlon to the public. This was 4 1/2 weeks after the training program for said race had begun, too! This was also a month into adhering faithfully to my recommitted-for-good-again-deja-vu-but-for-real-this-time eating program.

Yet I gained weight?!

I was devastated. I even punched the bathroom wall. Now my fist was devastated, too. Not the wall. It laughed at me like the scale.

That morning I moaned and groaned around the house and then — strongly wanting to drown my sorrows in a big, juicy burger and fries — I went to the gym and cycled and swam my blues away.

Though I craved the immediate satisfaction of a great weigh-in, I knew deep inside that I had been eating healthy and in control, and that I'd been exercising a bunch. I tried to convince myself that if I kept doing those things, eventually it would pay off.

And it did. The next day — of course I checked! — all 4 pounds were gone. I've lost 10 pounds since that day and 21 total this year.

The other torture came last Saturday. I was only a few minutes into my walk/jog, and the spark just wasn't there. I hated every step. I doubted myself and my abilities. I wanted to be on my couch. I even felt like crying — not exactly manly, but the truth. Despite having shoes and a heart that felt like lead, I finished the 2.5 miles.

I was nervous for my next walk/jog on Tuesday, but I did it. Fortunately, my jog fog had cleared up. It was my best workout on the treadmill yet. I felt light, energized, motivated, tired, sweaty and then really tired and sweaty. It was an amazing difference.

Both of those incidents are now encouraging and empowering lessons for me. They've helped me realize that results and progress will eventually catch up as I keep on going.

Another lesson learned: Bathroom walls are really hard.


Jody Genessy's weight-loss column runs the first Friday of the month.

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