There was a small blocked off section in the far right hand corner at the back of The Old Man’s shop on Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. To explain, The Old Man was a licensed steam fitter—and since school and I decided to agree to disagree, I woke early with The Old Man to undergo the Monday—Friday working life of long week days with the all too often short weekends.
The shop was as anyone would expect it. There was an area up front where the cars and company trucks parked. On the right hand side was the pipe rack; and just passed the pipe rack was the work bench with pump parts, bearings, bushings, impellers, and electrical fittings from wire nuts to junction boxes. There were a few vices on the work bench, and while yes, the bench was made of wood—the wood was filthy with black greasy filth and so was everything else in the shop area.
This is where I learned how to solder or “Sweat pipe,” as they say. This is where I learned how to take electric motors apart. I learned how to remove and replace bearings, and worst of all jobs—this is where I learned how to repair sewage ejector pumps, which was a “Shitty” job because these pumps were used to remove the sewage waste from apartment buildings and eject them into the city’s sewer system. These pumps were the kind where the filth seems to never wash off and the smell never seems to go away. As bad as you can imagine the smell from these pumps to be; I can assure you that if you multiplied that smell by 10 it would still come up short of how terrible the smell truly is.
Further back and to the left side is where the spare motors were. We kept large equipment there, and since The Old Man was somewhat of a saver of everything—refusing to throw anything away because, “We might need that someday,” the back, left hand corner was filled with things that most would consider useless.
This brings me back to the blocked off section in the back right hand corner of the shop. This is where the welding machine was. The machine was surrounded by a cinder-block wall that was somewhere to the height of about 10’ with plenty of room to rise up to the 25’ ceilings. Partly because the flash from the arc when welding is bright and dangerous to look at with the naked eye and partly for fire safety, this room was blocked off and kept neatly.
The Old Man took me back and explained how the machine works. I knew a little about welding—but not much. I knew the arc of electricity that flashed from the end of the welding rod and the face of the steel was bright enough to be blinding—almost as if you tried to look at the sun at the brightest hour; only the arc from the welder was a bright white flash with a blue outline around the great spark.
This is not an easy thing. Welding comes with a special touch. “You have to get the feel for it,” said The Old Man. It’s not as simple as it looked.
Whenever I saw anyone weld, I saw them leaning over with the welder’s mask on, wearing gloved with a wand in their hand and the welding rid dragging across the steel. I never knew that the arc was electricity; I never knew the heat was so great that it literally melted and bonded the steel together. I also never knew that without the proper touch, the welding rid sticks to the steel, causing the machine to make a sound, which I imagined would be the same sound of a man being fried in the electric chair.
I struggled at first. But eventually I was able to make a few passes. The Old Man explained, “Different people have different methods on how to make their welds.” Then The Old Man told me his way followed by the one suggestion I remember most. “Do it this way. And if that doesn’t work, try something else.”
Some people swivel the welding rod, some people move back and forth, some weave the rod in tiny circles to make their weld and some move in short patterns of side to side. The Old Man went side to side. “This is what works for me,” he said. “But of that way doesn’t work for you then try something else.”
I think life is very much the same way as that welding lesson The Old Man gave me. Different things work for different people. Life is not always an exact science.
On May 1st of 2016, I decided to make a change in my life. After noticing a picture of myself, and in that picture, I noticed how much weight I gained—I decided that I needed to make a change. At no point should anyone ever see a photograph or their reflection in the mirror and feel disgusted with what they see.
I was north of 215lbs. My knees hurt and so did my ankles. I was not very large, but my stomach certainly entered a room before my body did. I had a gut, so to speak. My face was swollen and my neck looked fat. My blood pressure was unhealthy; so was my cholesterol and I’m sure the list of unhealthiness continues further from there. I was unhappy with what I saw. I was unhappy with the way I felt both mentally and physically and I was unhappiest when finding myself as ugly or revolting
No one should ever feel this way about the way the look. No one should feel disgusted or so lowly that they need to satisfy their own sadness with food, over-eating because it’s simple and justifiably rationalized; and of course, we lie to ourselves saying, “I’ll start working out tomorrow or next Monday.” But tomorrow comes and the behavior never changes. Monday comes and the whim to workout is silenced by something like say, a few burritos or a few extra slices of pizza.
I had to learn about myself. I had to learn which foods my body reacted poorly too. Then I had to learn about myself I had to learn what triggered my eating habits. Why did I overeat? Was something going on? Was I depressed at the time? Was I angry? I had to ask myself if laziness played a big part in my meal decisions.
Plain and simple; food is a drug. Our body reacts to what we feed it. Things like white sugar and white flour’ I learned what they did to my body. And soda—I was definitely a soda junkie. Then I learned how terrible soda is for you. I learned that diet soda is unhealthy—and I mean really unhealthy.
I learned the proper amount of water my body needs. It was told to me that I should divide my body weight in half and that was the total amount of water I should drink in ounces. But water? Water to me was uninteresting. I never drank much water. I preferred drinking things with flavor. Unfortunately, most things with flavor also have a lot of sugar; and while yes fruit juices are better for you and fruit juices have natural sugar; I have found that by cutting my sugar intake and staying away from food that literally has no nutritional benefit; I was able to achieve a quick and steady weight loss.
I cut my dairy significantly. I learned that by eating meals that are gluten free are beneficial to me. With that said, will not say that I eat entirely gluten free but I do see its benefits.
Similar to when The Old Man was teaching me how to weld, although the basic premise was the same, there are different methods for different people. What works for some might not work as well for someone else. And same as I learned with welding when The Old Man said “Try it this way and if that way doesn’t work then try something else,” I see dieting to lose and maintain a healthy weight as the same thing.
I firmly believe that my level of commitment determines the level of my success. I chose to eat differently. And yes there are times when life is tempting and there are people who have literally no education on how to eat; yet somehow, they believe they know the right way to a successful diet; however, they cannot seem to lose weight themselves. Everyone is a critic. Everyone has the right way to diet. And of all of them, nearly each opinion is not backed by fact but preached as fact that came from someone else. They simply cannot conceive the first basic fact of dieting and maintaining a healthy weight is this: it all starts with a daily decision to do so.
You have to make this decision on a daily basis. There are no such thing as cheat days. Cheating on a diet is the same thing as cheating while playing a game of solitaire. Sometimes, however, we fail ourselves. We feel less than deserving; we feel like “What’s the point,” and we ask ourselves, “What’s the use,” and when these questions come up, we often tend to quit before the results happen—or more tragically, when we doubt ourselves, we often tend to quit before the miracle happens.And this is the worst thing we can do to ourselves
I often hear people tell me, “I can’t give up this or I can’t give up that.” These are excuses. These are crutches and without letting them go, it is difficult to find true success. I often hear people tell me that my diet doesn’t work because as soon as I go back to eating certain foods, all the weight will just come back. But to them I ask what if I choose not to eat those old foods? What if I stick with my regiment? What if I continue to eat healthy, will I gain my weight back then? And usually no one answers this question—at least, not directly. Instead they answer with, “Yeah, but you have to treat yourself once in a while.” And I agree with this. I do have to treat myself once in a while—but why can’t I fine a healthy solution to treat myself with? In fact, I treat myself every day. Again, my response is combated with some form of excuse or canceling response.
The truth is dieting is very simple. I will now disclose the secret to dieting and from this point onward, you will not need to read another book, nor will you need a dieting guru to help you lose weight.
First and foremost: Eat healthy!
(BOOM, minds blown!”
Dieting itself is simple; it is burning more calories than we take in. And by eating things with better nutritional value and making healthier foods choices—weight loss is not only possible but it is your body’s natural response. Exercise is not as hard as one thinks. Walking is a great thing. There is always a way to burn calories. Unless there is a medical condition, do not let anyone ever tell you different.
By eating low carb diets, eating complex carbs, (Don’t be afraid to take the extra step and learn what these things are. Education is also the key ingredient to a successful weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight) and healthier fats (like avocado for example) and lean proteins, meats, fish, chicken and so on, unless there is a medical condition, you will lose weight.
But again, this is what worked for me. And so long as there is dedication there will also be success. I will say it to you the same way The Old Man said it to me when he was trying to teach me how to weld, “Try it this way. If this doesn’t work then try something else.” So long as the premise is the same and so long as your dedicated to finding successful results—your body will respond quite well.
I am also told by people, “I’ve tried this and that, but nothing works.” Again, unless there is a medical condition, either there is something dishonest about their diet or they are not eating properly. Certainly, they might not be drinking enough water, and as a result; they feel discouraged. No one can drag someone to the gym and have it stick. Not at all; this decision must come from within and there can be no easy forgiveness. There can be nothing other than strict adherence; else, failure to lose weight or failure to maintain a healthy weight is inevitable.
I have lost nearly 60lbs in six months. I do not listen to people that tell me how to eat or what to eat. Apparently, I know what to eat. Apparently, I know how to eat and I know what my body responds well to. If I didn’t, I would have seen the results I’ve seen. Literally, there are people that have surgery to lose the amount of weight I lost, but instead, I chose to work for it. This gives my accomplishment value. This makes me want to hold this and keep it special.
I am not now nor was I afraid to go on the scale to see how my body responded to different foods. This is how I learned about myself. I watched my eating habits and saw what my body did. I no longer have a portly stomach and my neck is not fat. My head is not a big fatty bubble and most importantly, I no longer look at myself with disgust. Instead, I am proud of what I accomplished and not only that, I am proud of how I look.
This is what keeps me going. Success breeds success and it works this way in a cycle. This is why I choose to eat the way I do. This is why I can wholeheartedly say, “This works,” because it does and it all starts with a daily decision.
I eat healthy
That’s how this wheel turns and if I leave out a step then my wheel doesn’t spin properly, and I can’t stay fit. With these three things, it is impossible not to find success.
I made my decision to be successful on May 1st 2016 and it’s not only getting better . . . It’s getting easier!
When will you make yours?