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"So, Eli, we know you're pretty busy on a perpetual basis, but can you give us details about something interesting you've been doing lately, as part of your daily life?"

One of the habits I've effectively established lately is that of lifting weights. Nothing that requires too much equipment, as I lack the space to dedicate to it, but I've been doing some kind of strength/toning exercise on a 3-day cycle (upper body, lower body, rest) for the past three months, and I've been seeing results. To wit, as of this writing, I'm using 20 lb. dumbbells for the larger upper body muscle groups, and 15 lb. dumbbells for the smaller ones. That, and I'm doing squats and some Pilates abdominal exercises for the lower body. Minimal engagement time, minimal disengagement time, and something that can be done every morning I'm at home and I'm not rushing out the door.

Observation: Muscle growth happens continuously, but the results happen in quanta. A few vignettes:

I walked into the supermarket to get soda, etc. for a party later that night. As I was contemplating the secrets of the universe, as one does while walking by a sign for LOW LOW PRICES, I walked right past the shopping carts and picked up one of those little baskets you use when you only need to pick up *two* more items than will fit. The shopping begins. A gallon of cider, a liter bottle of tonic water, several 2-liter bottles of Coke products, and so on. I figured I'd stop when the basket got heavy. As I was putting the tenth bottle in, I noticed two things. First, there was no place to put it. Secondly, the basket itself had bent, buckled, and otherwise deformed under the weight of its fizzy payload. Yet, the basket wasn't heavy at all. I'm stronger than plastic. Cool.

Also, having muscles all the time is kind of interesting. None of this "if I flex really hard and use my imagination" stuff. If my arm is bent more then a few degrees, there is a definitive bicep there.

Finally, I look at myself in the mirror now, and I no longer see this unitary fat guy. I can now faintly see that I have pieces that interlock together under my skin. I'm a whole bunch of moving parts, and I can see those now. I've gone from "fat guy" to "muscular guy in a fat suit". I will continue to wrestle with self-image and weight, but there are only two things to be done about that, those being 'diet' and 'exercise'.

It's working.

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Elias K. Mangosteen

May 2017

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