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It was an awkward time for me Then again middle school is an awkward time for all of us I was in seventh gradefive-foot ten clearly overweight at 163 pounds February came around the corner and brought with it a bad case of strep throat I couldnt eat solid food for a week But who was I to complain I managed to get out of school for seven days My twelve-year-old-self would trade a sore throat for Moms homemade hot soup in the middle of northeastern-Ohio winter any day Besides strep really wasnt that bad and I had a plan to kill the damn strep-germs anyway Id burn em out An hour a day on the stationary bike would sweat them out for sure I could use the exercise too being overweight and allSeven days later The stars aligned and I spied the inconspicuous scale sitting in the corner of the bathroom The moment I stepped on the scale I realized the connection between the food I ate and the little red number that blinked up at me In just seven days I had lost three pounds Three pounds It was a revelation the more calories I consumed the more weight I put on Three months and twenty-five pounds later a classmate looked back at the yearbook photos from fall seven months ago and exclaimed Well look how much Ben has changed like thirty poundsI didnt say anything didnt even smile but Id never felt more comfortable with myself than at that moment And so began my lifelong obsession with the human bodyCatharsisFor some exercise is an intimate form of catharsis Runners think freer as they purge their stresses at an eight-minute pace Many weight lifters know The Iron to be a beacon in the pitch black as Henry Rollins puts it The Iron never lies to you The Iron will always kick you the real deal The Iron is the great reference point the
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