I’m taking a break from reflecting on the last 15 years to reflect on the last 5 days.
I had hoped that people would read this series of blog posts and gain some insight in to the mind of someone who had to come to terms with an addiction. I’m sure some people think that’s being over dramatic, but it literally is an addiction to the chemical reaction in your body from eating fat sugar and salt in very specific proportions. I’ll talk more about what I’ve learned about this in a later post, but right now I’d like to get back to the last 5 days.
For the last few months I had been working out fairly regularly 4-5 times a week. I’d also been making a conscious effort to eat more healthy. I had a plan… elliptical 2-3 times a week, yoga 2 times a week, and mix in batting practice or jogging so that I was doing something active at least 5 days out of the week. This past Saturday, my activity was Yoga with Keri. We went, but found out when we got there that it was a less intense version of yoga that was 100% stretching and no balance/strength. It was great for feeling limber, but not much of a burn. We finished and then had dinner (which is where I found the great salmon sandwich at Ballard Brothers), and then headed home. But something was bothering me… I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I hadn’t gotten enough of a workout if this was going to count towards for that day. So when we got home from dinner, I decided to go back to the gym.
Only one problem… the gym was closed.
It absolutely ate me up inside, a feeling I’d never had before. First of all I had tons of energy and couldn’t sit still. Second, I felt like I’d let myself down. And so I made up my mind to do something about it.
I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning scanning pictures, writing a blog post and making the moving slide show to put a timeline on my problem. I wanted a visual representation. At first it was just for me, but then I decided I was only holding back because I was scared of failing and having to admit that to everyone after my grand proclamation. Of course my lie to myself was “this isn’t a big deal and nobody else will really care, I’ll just look stupid.”
At 9:00 in the morning I woke up, and on 4 hours of sleep I showed the post and slideshow to Keri.
Then I removed the safety net.
After I’d posted the slide show, on 4 hours of sleep, I went to the gym.
After I got home, Keri and I took the dogs on a 2 mile walk/jog. And I did that because I was supposed to work out Saturday AND Sunday, and in my mind I’d only gotten one workout in (that morning), so I needed to see the plan through and do the 2nd one.
That moment on Saturday night when I was squirming because I couldn’t go to the gym? That’s the moment I realized I’d had a breakthrough.
Sunday morning when I finished my hardest workout to date despite being light on sleep? That’s the moment I knew it was real.
Sunday afternoon when I left the house with Keri and the dogs? That’s the moment I wasn’t afraid to fail any more.
One of the problems with obesity is that nobody wants to talk about it honestly. Oh, they’ll talk in generalities like “obesity is an epidemic in America,” or “as a society we’re overweight, but sitting down and saying “you could be in much better shape and the only thing stopping you is your diet” just doesn’t happen enough. As I said before, nobody wants to tell you that you’re unhealthy, and when someone cares enough about you to do so, you usually blow them off… sort of. Deep down inside you know it’s true, but you push that truth down by telling yourself lies. As a result of that, you think you’re alone and helpless. Because you’ve tried and failed (by not trying hard enough), you tell yourself that you’re just destined to be this way and can lead a healthy, happy life. You tell yourself that because most Americans couldn’t complete a mile without walking, it’s normal that you can’t, and you shouldn’t feel bad about that because there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re just getting old and in a large body.
So imagine my surprise when 5 people that I didn’t even know were still on Facebook either messaged or contacted me to tell me that before I ever met them, they were unhealthily overweight too. And all of them had a story almost exactly like mine. All of them tried and failed, and then had a moment of clarity and realized that it wasn’t about weight, but about health. And shortly after that realization, all of them had a specific moment that they realized they were a different person and were going to be able to finish this journey. One friend (who I had watched lose the weight) told me his moment was when his elliptical broke and he panicked because he didn’t think he could work out that day. In the past it would have been an excuse to stop. Now it was just a speed bump, as he found a way to get his burn without the machine.
All of them described the same experiences… the day they realized that they had too much energy if they didn’t burn some off in the gym. They day they realized that that energy came from the new foods they were eating. The day they realized weight loss was not the goal… it was a bi-product of getting healthy.
All of them had to teach themselves about nutrition and food. All of them set lofty goals. Run a marathon. Lose 100 lbs. All were achieved.
If there are that many people who were able to identify with what I had gone through AND am continuing to go through, how many people out there are still hurting? How many people think they can’t do it? How many people think they are one of a kind… a healthy person trapped in a body that is failing them?
How many people don’t know that my friends, who faced their demons and won, exist? I didn’t.
And while I’m just beginning this chapter and FAR from out of the woods, I gain strength from the people who shared with me. It confirmed that I’m not fighting against my body type, I’m fighting against my eating habits and my own drive. “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.” It powers me through the times I don’t know if I can make it.
So if you identify with what I’ve written the last few days, share your story. Let people know what you did, or what you are doing. It’s inspiration whether you realize it or not. Those of you who shared with me have given me more support than you realize.
And if anyone ever feels like they are in the same place I was at, and want to have an honest conversation, I’m willing to talk. I don’t know if I can help, but I’ll do my best.