Monday, July 22, 2013

Ironman: Man or Suit?

I'm not a huge superhero gal, but I've always had a thing for Ironman. Ever since I saw Ironman 3, I've been thinking about Tony and his personal struggle at the heart of the film. 

Is he the sum of his parts as a man, or is he the sum of his suits?

I think this really struck home with me because I've come to a very difficult part of my weight loss journey. It used to be that I had a progress picture to post every month or some new personal record to tweet or blog about. As I edge ever closer to my goal, things are slowing down and I'm transferring my focus from a diet to a way to live daily. There are fewer shiny new "IronAnne" suits to show off on a regular basis.Frankly, sharing them was one thing, but they meant more to me than they did for anyone else. Without hanging onto the victories, there's only the climb- and the climb can be damn tiresome. 

Like they were for Tony, my "suits" were a way of proving to myself I was on the right track and distracting me from any daily struggles I was having. They showed my skill, my determinations, and of course the results of my evolving lifestyle. Do I want a cookie? Yeah, but think about how great it was to cosplay at PAX? Don't I want to look even more badass at BronyCon? Looking at those results makes me hunger for more of the same. 

In Ironman 3, Tony's work keeps him from facing his crippling horror following the events in New York at the end of The Avengers. Focusing on building the suits makes him feel like he has some sort of control in a situation of such staggering proportions that is beyond his comprehension.

Similarily, you have some control in weight loss, but when it comes to the scale, you can't force it do anything. You can do everything right from eating to working out and still, you can't say definitively whether you'll lose three lbs that week or none. You can only set yourself up for success and your body is just going to do what it does.  In other words, you can only try to build suits. If they explode in your hands before seeing the light of day, that's just the risk you accept when you take on the challenge. 

Hell, even Tony Stark faces his fair share of unexpected malfunctions.

If the suits are unreliable, what then? Without the suits, who are we?

We are the suit makers. Your suit didn't work out the first time? Great. Make a new one. The power is in your hands. 

In layman's terms? Your results are great, but it's the work and your will to do it that matters. Even on my worst days, I still worked out. Even after I binged on donuts and BBQ, I got up the next day and I went grocery shopping so I could restock my fridge with Paleo goodness. Even when I was afraid to see the results on the scale, I still faced them because I remember how awful it was the first time. I'm never going back to square one because in square one, I didn't even have the will to try. 

Our perseverance in the overwhelmingly massive task of our daily health is absolutely key to our success. There won't be more results if you can't recover from setbacks. It's only a failure if you stop trying. Plus, despite how awesome it feels to build suits and get results, at the end of the day- heck, at the end of our lives- you have to be enough for yourself. 

You're the only person who can make the changes and flip that switch inside your head from "excuses" to "game on." We can elude ourselves all we want with distractions like measurements and scales and diet plans, but none of that gets executed without the man or woman inside the suit calling the shots. 

So what am I saying?

I'm saying be Ironman, damnit. Make the suits, sure, but don't forget that the ability to craft and control them is more powerful than the suits themselves. 


  1. I think that's very insightful! What I've started to do now is very much in the spirit of "owning" the suit, I think, which is to say that I focus more on fun physical challenges and milestones. There's the "Oh man I just broke my record for push ups!" but also more exciting things like "Hey, I want to be able to go on an overnight hiking trip without dying!"

    Haven't quite worked up to that yet... ;)

    1. I couldn't agree more! Finding new ways to motivate yourself that are within your grasp is totally key- especially when it comes to maintenance! And don't worry! You'll build yourself up to that overnight trip. You can do it!

  2. I needed this today - thanks! :)

    1. Aw! I love your blog, btw- especially the Skyrim post! Thanks for reading!

    2. Aw, thanks! I haven't had a lot of time for things lately, but I'm hoping to increase both the nerd and fit aspects over there. You are some great inspiration. :D