Saturday, June 24, 2017

GUEST POST: On Willpower by Ann Sterzinger

Hey kids, I've got a special treat for you today! You may know Ann Sterzinger from the reviews of her novels, The Talkative Corpse and NVSQVAM (nowhere), that I've done on here. Recently, Sterzinger decided to branch out and write a book about fitness. Like diet and exercise, not me fitness boot up your ass. 

I'll be reviewing Disaster Fitness: Make Your Demons Do the Work over at Cultured Vultures within the next few weeks. To tide you over while you're waiting with your hand on your dick/pussy, here's Sterzinger on the nature of willpower and how her book will help you direct it. Yes, she's selling you shit, but I like the shit she's selling, so I'm hosting this for her. I'm nice like that. So be sure to check out her book, and maybe you can stop looking like half-melted ice cream.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed below are Ann Sterzinger's and not mine. If they cause you to fly into a homicidal rage, track her down and not me. 

Hi! I’m Ann Sterzinger, a novelist who somehow stays normal sized despite spending eternities sitting on my butt writing. I’m also certifiably mental; I should look like the comic book guy from the Simpsons, right? But nope, I’m 42 and people still won’t take me seriously, because I kind of look like a kid.

At a certain point I realized that if I figure out how I manage to do this, I can tell other people how to do it too. So I eventually managed to quit looking down my nose at self-help authors for long enough to write it all down.

Here’s the basic realization I came to: The most valuable commodity a person has is not time—it’s willpower. Especially if you’re a crazy person who wants to get in shape.

As proud as you are when you manage to white-knuckle it through a workout you hate and a diet that makes you suicidal, teh science mans have announced that you have only got so much willpower to spend each day, and then your brain cracks under the stress.

It makes intuitive sense. Think of how many days go like this for you:

You dragged yourself out of bed to work out this morning, you were nice to your ass-hat coworkers, and you ate a salad for lunch—but that last bullshit project that came in at work was the last straw. Trouble ensues. Cheesecake goes down the hatch. Whiskey shots get pounded.

Are you going to get up early and work out tomorrow? Giant bowl of nope, you say! Fool me once!

But imagine this: what if you could stop pouring that giant chunk of your daily willpower into your fitness plan?

At the risk of pointing out what you think is obvious, one of the major expenditures in your willpower budget is working out. Most people exhaust a lot of their mental resources just getting off the couch, and then pushing through the pain… and then you pig out afterwards, undoing all of your work and then some, because your willpower for the day is gone.

What if you didn’t have to exhaust yourself mentally just getting off the couch? What if you actually looked forward to exercise? Would you work out more often? Would you save that willpower to start your own business after your dumb job is finished every day? Would you escape the horrible loop of exercising so you can pig out, and then punishing yourself for pigging out with exercise?

Welcome to the way out of the cycle. The bad news is that the way out is straight through your personal psychological disaster zones. But the GREAT news is that I’ve written a book that will guide you along this fiery path to the willpower savings you need to improve your life.

DISASTER FITNESS: Make Your Demons Do the Work is a bitchy but compassionate workout motivation program that has been reverse-engineered by a lady who got tired of people snarling “Why are you not fat?” at her for free and decided to get paid to explain why.

DISASTER FITNESS is a fitness program for those of you who are tired of letting your mental exhaustion and whatever the psychiatrist says is wrong with you get the better of your fitness efforts.

Tl;dr version: The craziness of your brain and your life is making you fat. But you can totally use it to get yourself in shape again.

This isn’t a program that will help motivate you. This is a program that will cut your need for motivation.

It isn’t easy for me to bring you this information. I’m embarrassed to write about fitness. There’s so much stupid crap out there about it, for one thing; and more important, pseudo-intellectuals such as myself aren’t supposed to admit they work out anyway. But amongst the many things I’m sick of having to do for free in the Internet age, being sneered at for knowing how to take care of myself is up there.

So it’s time to tell people what I do, and ask them for legal tender in exchange.

I’m not the sanest or most together person in the world—for Christ’s sake, I’m a novelist—so if I can do this, anyone can.

This is the only fitness “secret” that really counts:

All the stuff that bugs you deep inside can become your secret weapon.

Be honest: When you look in the mirror and see a slob that doesn’t look like you, do you blame your mental health? Did you have terrible parents, a tour in Iraq, a chemical imbalance, a trauma?—Do you think it’s pinning you to your couch and your Doritos?

Here’s the truth: you aren’t a victim of your circumstances. You aren’t inherently lazy. The deck isn’t stacked against you. Inertia is not destiny. You have a mighty sword in your hand; you’re just holding it by the wrong end.

Your damage is a hidden superpower.

Somehow my crazy has helped keep me active. That’s an understatement; it makes daily physical activity inescapable. What’s the difference between you and me?

Nothing. Except for one little tweak:

I’m holding the sword by the hilt, and you’re holding it by the blade.

You may think you’re hopelessly depressed, but the numbness that started out as a defense mechanism can be used as a tool. You may feel hopelessly mired in “mental illness”—but each of your “disorders” began as a trick that a healthy brain learns to do to protect itself when it can’t escape bad circumstances. Your brain has developed marvelous coping tools. All you need to do is learn to rewire those tools to get you fit instead of getting you fat.


Cause I’m tired of hearing people complain about a problem they are perfectly capable of solving. I can’t make you a supermodel; I can’t make me a supermodel, either. I’m a girl and I look like Joey Ramone, for Christ’s sake. But we can be strong and healthy, and that’s always hot. And the way is straightforward, believe it or not. (At least compared with most of our other problems.)

As long as you have a problem to solve that is within your control, you’re the luckiest guy/gal in the world. Success beckons, and nobody stands in your way. To paraphrase Yoda, don’t bitch—do.

Give me a few puny shekels and I’ll tell you how to turn it around:

And this book is probably going to get pirated, so go ahead and donate to my patreon to make up for it:
OR donate to me via PayPal:

And watch my Grumpy Book Review of Jeff Gephart’s hilarious and thoughtful Accidental Adulthood. Grumpy Book Reviews is my new video series, in which I tell you what to read besides my stuff, while hopefully providing entertainment, even if it’s unintentional humor:

Check out the Disaster Fitness blog for more fitness advice, plus my personal blog (where Jeff has a guest post! Funny as fuck, as we used to say when I was a screwed-up but still not fat punk rock kid).

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