I had no self control or discipline. I lacked motivation. I couldn’t muster up the desire to change. I adopted an all-you-can-gorge buffet mentality anytime I was around food. I fed my ravenous emotions. I ate for sport. I ate when bored. I ate when bored at sports. I was quite depressed and, as my empty-feeling life swirled into a pit of despair, eating was the only thing that never failed to give me pleasure or comfort — temporary pleasure or comfort, of course.
The thing I lacked most?
Seriously, it’s almost amazing I got married. I have major commitment issues.
It affected my personal life. It affected me physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally and financially.
I had a hard time making a decision to change and an even harder time getting into action once I decided to change.
I temporarily busted through that commitment wall from 2008 through 2011 while doing triathlons. Shockingly, during that period of my life I became very committed to accomplishing athletic feats, including doing an Ironman triathlon in June 2011. It takes some serious commitment — even if not a perfect commitment — to traverse 140.6 miles on your own power in the water, on bike and on foot.
And then, my positive commitment disappeared.
Over the ensuing five years, I gained 144 pounds. I felt lost. I felt hopeless. Sometimes I felt nothing.
Until a year ago, I was in turbulent waters floating on a boat without a rudder, a motor or oars.
My lack of commitment and direction led me, a 5-foot-7.5-inch middle-aged man, to weighing 374 pounds. Coupled with depression, it sucked the hope out of my soul. It led me to a life of misery.
Actually, the more I ponder about this subject, the more I think I really didn’t lack commitment and direction. I was just committed to the wrong things and to going in the wrong direction.
I was committed to overeating and gluttony.
I was committed to being lethargic and lazy.
I was committed to feeling sorry for myself.
I was committed to gaining weight and to being morbidly obese.
I was committed to neglecting the things that should’ve mattered most in my life — my family and relationships, my health, my financial situation, my spirituality, my work, my purpose.
I was committed to being miserable.
I’ll give myself some credit. I was pretty darn great at accomplishing that.
There are two quotes I love that have helped me make significant changes (keep in mind, through small actions) and to commit myself to something far superior while losing 146.7 pounds:
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
The second one:
If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.
I kept waiting for something — some event, some illness, some angel being sent to me from heaven, something, anything — to spark myself into action. It had to come from within.
So what changed?
I was drowning and desperately wanted to breathe again. For me, that desperation turned into inspiration, motivation and a deep commitment to do what I needed to change for good. Then came action. The results have been spectacular.
All of this prepared me for the next thing and the next and then suddenly … BOOM … it all changed. It was a journey to get there, and eventually my introspective blog about being the fat guy on an airplane lit my fuse. After writing that and letting the pain soak in, I decided nothing can stop me, especially not myself. Out of desperation, I then started the health program my wife was doing — the same program that I got mad at her for trying. I’m now a health coach for that program. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this blog if you’d like info.)
I went from being an ornery skeptic to someone with a missionary-like zeal. My life will never be the same again.
If you want to change, do it. Stop waiting for something to happen. THIS blog is the something you need to happen. Or write your own blog. Or come up with your own list of WHYs. Or shave your beard (sorry, women).
See how easy that was?
Now go act like the person you want to be. Don’t wait. Just do it, as that shoe company likes to say.
Keep this in mind: You only have to decide one time. Once you make a decision, stick with it.
When I was a kid, I decided that I wasn’t going to drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs because of religious purposes. (I’m LDS and drinking alcohol, smoking and doing drugs are discouraged.) Even when I’ve struggled with my faith as an adult, I’ve never turned to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. I made the decision once, so I don’t need to make the decision over every time I’m placed in a situation where one of those substances is present.
Likewise, I made a decision last year to aggressively attack my weight-loss goals and to pursue optimal health. That’s helped me to not have to make a decision every time a piece of candy or a dessert or a piping-hot slice of pizza is in my presence. I already made the decision to follow the guidelines of my awesome health program, so I don’t need to make the decision over and over and over. I don’t need will power. I just need to remember two things: my commitment and my WHYs.
Even when I do occasionally indulge — gasp! — I remain committed to the overall plan and jump right back on track. That mindset really helped when I decided to eat whatever I chose to on Thanksgiving and around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I knew I was committed to eat healthy again on a predetermined date, and I followed through on that commitment.
I wrote the following to a friend who is struggling with the same commitment issues, and I hope it will help you if you’re struggling:
I hope you find it deep within you to discover your WHYs, to find a belief in yourself, to have faith in taking the first few scary steps and to hold on when it gets tough because it will get tough even when things are going well.Mostly, I hope that you can trust me that there is hope. You can change. It all starts with a decision to change. I know you can do it. I’m excited to see what happens when you also discover that.
- Starting weight (March 6, 2016): 373.7 pounds
- New Year’s Day weight (Jan. 1, 2017): 262.0
- Last week’s weight (Feb. 24, 2017): 229.0
- This week’s weight (March 3, 2017): 227.0
- This week’s loss: 2.0 pounds
- Total loss: 146.7 pounds