Throughout the years and throughout the various changes we go through, I have learned the best people to be surrounded by are real people with real understanding. Furthermore and above all, I have learned the worst people to be around are those who look to judge, direct, or diagnose.
I was a grown man and well on my way through life with experience under my belt. I worked hard and I worked a lot. I maintained my home and paid my bills to the best of my ability. I had years of understanding a programmed and clean-minded living; however, age does its trick with everyone and my metabolism slowed down dramatically. I was not the thin man I used to be, laughing about the fact that I could literally eat anything and not gain an ounce.
And of course, I can eat anything. I earned this. I deserve to eat the big meals and the big steaks with all the trimmings and fixings that come with it. I would eat out of pride. I would eat big plates and saw myself as a big eater.
There was prestige to this title. I liked trying different foods. I drank tremendous amounts of soda that ironically turned into diet soda, which made no sense because the amount of food I consumed was totally unthinkable. I did not pay attention to what I ate or why. I just ate. That’s all.
I think my pivotal point to change came when I saw me in a photo. At first, I didn’t recognize myself. But when the realization came of, “Oh my God, that’s me,” so did the shame and so did the insecurity and deep levels of disgust. I could not stand the sight of myself.
Of all things we see, the one thing we should be proud to see is our reflection in the mirror. However, I was not happy with what I saw. I was not happy with what I looked like or how I felt. I was out of shape. I would be out of breath after doing simple tasks, like walking up stairs, or slightly strenuous tasks that should be easy. My breath was raspy at times. My knees, my lower back, and my ankles would ache. I was uncomfortable in my own skin both physically and emotionally. Above all, I was disgusted by my reflection.
For me, the hardest thing to do was equally the most humbling. I had to seek help. I had to learn about food, which sounded ridiculous to me because at my age, I was old enough to understand and know what food is. I had to submit to conversations with others who swore that their was the only way to successfully lose and maintain weight loss.
I was told what to eat and when and how and at what time, to fast, not to fast, look out for gluten, stay away from this or that. Don’t eat carbs or if I ate carbs, don’t eat carbs after a certain time. Drink water and drink this much water this many times. And after all the different instructions from different people, —I found myself intimidated and overwhelmed.
I saw my new journey as an uphill journey that was impossible. I swore that even if I made my journey halfway, inevitably, I would fall right back to where I was and nothing (except for some surgical method or medically assisted treatment) would ever help me see me as desirable to myself.
And I say desirable to myself because in truth, it doesn’t matter what others see. If I can’t stand the sight of my own reflection and if I cringe when I see this —nothing anyone could say would ever help me overcome my battle with self-loathing, internal conversation and behaviors that kept me overweight.
I looked into diets and different dieting programs. I spoke with others who went through weight loss transformations. I looked into costly ideas that could have been easily matched for free with simple food choices that I could learn to make myself.
The best decision I made in this case was that I limited my conversations about my nutrition with only one or two people. I found a direction and I explored it. I decided to drink water and follow the suggestion to consume half of my bodyweight in ounces of water. I decided to stop drinking soda (that was a tough one) and I stopped eating the quick, fast, and previously comforting foods like the terrible, most unhealthy, yet glorious and best things, which I loved to eat. Upon my commitment to choose health, I made a decision to stay away from the foods my body disagreed with.
I weighed myself and learned how my body responded to cold cuts. I learned that my body reacted when eating foods that are processed or high in nitrates. I changed my eating habits. I stopped my stuffing behaviors by replacing food thoughts with actions that distracted me and took me away from my default behaviors. There are other food that I saw a need to change. I learned this because I watched my body bloat after consuming them. So, I changed my nutrition to reduce the bloat and uncomfortable feelings
Admittedly, this was a terribly difficult process. I dealt with feeling of shame and insecurity. I have never been one for the gym. I have never been an exercise guy. I am not physically strong, or, well, not “That” kind of strong that I could walk in and bench press whatever I want.
I don’t like gyms. I don’t like going. I don’t like the people in gyms or talking with people in gyms. I don’t like the personal trainers which come over and tell you how, “You’re doing this all wrong. I don’t like being around the good looking, ripped gym rats, all pumped up and ready to go. Hell, at the time, I didn’t like seeing my reflection in the mirror. And what do they have on gym walls? Mirrors —they have mirrors all over the place. I saw this as intimidating.
Certainly, this is insecurity and yes, I wasn’t as noticeable as I thought I might have been. But still, this was a hard factor.
I learned that the best people to be around are the real ones, the ones that understand and relate and exchange notes. And furthermore, I learned the worst people to be around are the know-it-alls. Shame keeps us still and too intimidated to change. However, empowerment and encouragement is what ignites the spark that helps us to create our own change.
Throughout my life, I have learned that some of my social choices have had a direct effect on my performance. And by surrounding myself with the right people, I have learned that yes, it is possible to overcome anything (so long as I’m willing to work for it.)
So go ahead with your cleanses and your high priced meal plans. Me, I just plan to eat healthy and pay attention to the ingredients of what I eat. And if I fall or regress, I’m not worried because the people I choose to keep in my life will now how to help empower and encourage me to get back on the right track. And if I sabotage or move away from them—that’s on me and that’s my way of taking the control back so I can eat as I want and not be reminded of the consequences.
Anyways . . .
It’s another day, folks
Time to go live healthy