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Fight FAT with Fire

Posted Jul 31 2009 11:17am

You’ve heard the saying “fight fire with fire.”  Here’s a new twist on that old adage – Fight FAT bullying with Fire.  Let me explain.

When I was little, I was a bit chunky. Okay, a lot chunky. The kids in the neighborhood, my cousins, and other school chums would all take pot shots and poke fun at my weight.

“What’s Up, Skinny Vinnie?”

“Wanna play on our team Skinny Vinnie?”

Even some of the parents in the neighborhood had a field day with my pot belly.

One day, when I was 8, I had had enough. Duke made another fat comment after I couldn’t run the base fast and I got right up and left a stickball game and walked in my house! I went inside, sat down on the red rocking chair in the corner of my living room and put a “Fat Dunce” cap on.

I felt so sorry for myself, I literally made a hat out of paper and wrote those words on it.

When Mom took one look at me while walking down our stairs, she was shocked.

“Vinnie, what’s going on?” Mom inquired.

“Everyone thinks I’m fat. I’m tired of telling them I’m not. So I give up.”

She comforted me saying, “Vinnie, you are not fat, you’re just big boned.”

Oh thanks, I thought.

“Don’t worry Vinnie, you will show those kids someday and they’ll wish they had your size and physique.”

Mom soothed the pain as much as she could. The more she talked, the more it helped.  “I’ll show them someday,” I said and ripped the hat off, crumpled it, and tossed it in the garbage.

Time passed. I was introduced to Penn States (a high intensity body weight and towel workout) in high school for football then a complete diet and training regime in college.

It wasn’t long until muscles sprouted on my frame and the fat was nowhere to be seen.

I remember sitting in my dorm room contemplating our valiant effort and heartbreaking loss against Ohio State the previous weekend. The game was televised for all to see in the state of Ohio. I dug through a stack of mail and opened a letter from one of the neighborhood parents from back home. The same parent who would tease me.

He congratulated me and enjoyed hearing the announcer say, “Palko on the tackle!” over and over again.

“Yeah, ole ‘Skinny Vinnie’ put the screws to ‘em didn’t he,” I thought.

My point in telling you this story is this.  There are people in your life right now who doubt you. People in your life who may make fun of your weight — if not to your face then behind your back. Let them!

Use that negative energy to Fight FAT with Fire. Use their comments to fuel you to be better not bitter.

Don’t give up like that little frustrated boy with the dunce cap on before he spoke to his mom.  Understand you can change and for the better.  The human body is a miraculous tool that can heal itself quickly and easily — practically overnight if you give it a chance.

Use negative comments as fuel. See a future when one day you run into a person that mocked you and watch his jaw drop in seeing the newly transformed you.

Imagine being in the grocery store or walking out of church and bumping into an old acquaintance. See their facial expression go from a smile to shock at how good you look.

Hear them say, “Wow, you look great. Have you lost weight?”

“Do you have any tips so I can do the same?”

Pull all of that “How do you like me now” energy in, mix it with your anger and frustration now and see how this propels you to move forward.

Anger and frustration are powerful tools to fuel your fitness goals. And they can motivate you to move when your routine gets a little challenging or mundane.

Your new you awaits.  Get started quieting your critics today!

[ Ed. Note: Vince Palko is the author of Linebacker Fitness and creator of The Super Body Blitz and Triple Your Endurance. Vince has been enshrined in both his college, Bowling Green State University's and his high school's Hall of Fame for his performance on the football field.  Vince has a FREE fitness newsletter you can sign up for at]

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