My family went on a trip to Southern California last month to watch my oldest son Ethan in a lacrosse tournament. (He and his Utah Hoppers teammates kicked butt!) This was a pivotal time for me. Over the previous three and a half months, I was struggling with a variety of challenges and reverted back into some bad habits. I stopped focusing on health and tried to numb my frazzled feelings with food. I have a history of that not working out so well.
I stepped on the scale in the middle of the night after a 12-hour drive — having pigged out most of the vacation and quite a few times the previous months — and the scale displayed a disappointing number: 250.4. On Aug. 18, I weighed 197.2 pounds. I’d put back 53 of the 176 pounds I’d dropped over the previous year and a half. Yet again, I was proving that my body has an amazing lost-and-found system for blubber.
I needed to get back into the proven program that had been working so well for me. As much as I love the nutrition aspect of my program — stuff from the company and healthy stuff I put together on my own — I’m equally grateful for other things it provides. Structure. Support. An emphasis on healthy habits and education. I’m not even going to apologize for this sounding like an infomercial for my program, because it’s an important part of my health journey. It helps me succeed. It helps me when I struggle.
During the long drive home, we stopped at a gas station in St. George, Utah. We’d eaten incredible pizza — of the non-cauliflower variety — at our favorite place in Las Vegas a couple of hours earlier, and I wasn’t hungry. But I ran into the gas station and bought two packages of snacks to munch on for the rest of the four-hour drive home. It was midnight, so I convinced myself that I needed something to keep me awake for the drive and, honestly, I was in EAT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING YOU CAN NOW BECAUSE THE TIME OF RECKONING IS COMING mode. I knew I planned on getting back to healthy eating but I was bound and determined to shove as much crap in my mouth until that happened. Tomorrow. It’s gonna happen tomorrow, right? I mean, not tomorrow tomorrow, the next tomorrow. Or for sure the tomorrow after tomorrow’s tomorrow.
I sat in the driver’s seat, put my goodies — bags of Starburst and Muddy Buddies — and my big mug of soda next to me, and started driving home. My wife seemed annoyed. Heather asked, “Are you going to eat that because you’re tired? If so, I can drive.” I took that statement as her meaning, “SERIOUSLY, MORON!? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP EATING LIKE A FREAKING PIG!? ARE YOU GOING TO JUST GAIN BACK ALL OF YOUR WEIGHT? AREN’T YOU A HEALTH COACH!?! WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU BEING FOR YOUR CLIENTS AND KIDS!? ARE YOU JUST GOING TO FAIL AGAIN!?”
What happened next kind of makes me laugh in a “I’m pretty much a dork” kind of way. I got mad, of course. I don’t recall saying a word back to her, but I defiantly put the unwrapped Starburst back into the plastic bag and tossed them behind me a bit. I was fuming. HOW DARE SHE ACCUSE ME OF ALL OF THAT AWFUL STUFF AND QUESTION ME LIKE THAT by, um, saying she could drive if I was tired. Huh. I wasn’t done being mad at her, though. I remember thinking, “I’LL SHOW YOU!!! I WON’T EAT ANY OF THIS CANDY OR SNACKS!! TAKE THAT!!!!!!!” (I didn’t realize how dumb my inner-conversation was until I cooled down.)
I then started asking myself those questions I thought my wife really meant in a loaded question that she says wasn’t loaded at all. (She wasn’t happy that I spent money on junk after I’d been kind of a jerk about us needing to save money all trip, so there’s that. Um, she had a point, too. Dang it.)
Anyway, that’s when the light came back on for me. I love the saying, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” I never want to go back to being morbidly obese. I’ve come too far to only come this far. Aside from being demoralized by the much bigger number on the scale, I just didn’t feel as good eating fast food and snarfing down fried food, sugary stuff and extra servings of whatever was in front of me. I felt … BLEH!
Instead of waiting until tomorrow to come, I mentally started over right there. I didn’t eat a damn thing that whole drive home. I SHOWED HER!!!! (Yeah, I really showed my wife who wants me to be healthy by not eating unhealthy things.)
I can’t quit on myself this time. I just can’t.
It’s funny. When I decide to eat unhealthy, I almost always think, “Ah! It feels good to be free and to be able to eat anything and everything I want!” But when I eat unhealthy, I literally get weighed down with excess fat, extra emotional baggage and regret and, well, just feeling yucky and unhealthy. Making disciplined and healthy choices, which aren’t always fun, give me different types of freedom. It’s the difference between a busy intersection where a stoplight is out and unorganized pandemonium ensues and a normally functioning stoplight where timed lights function properly and, although you have to wait a minute, everybody gets through in an orderly fashion. (We’ll pretend there aren’t any moron drivers who run red lights in the latter scenario.)
All of that was to tell you that I’m back on my healthy program, and I feel really awesome. My clothes are fitting better. I can move easier. I have more energy. My determination and motivation are skyrocketing.
Oh, and my weight is coming back down. My weight this morning: 219.8. I’ve lost 30.6 pounds since that 3 a.m. weigh-in after The Starburst/Muddy Buddies Incident. I still have about a month of repentance weight loss to do to get back below the 200-mark, but it’ll happen sooner than later. And then I’ll push toward the next goal of getting to a healthy weight for the first time in 30 years.
No offense to Starbursts or Muddy Buddies, but we probably won’t be seeing each other again anytime soon. Thanks for the help, though!