I still remember it clear as a bell. You tend not to forget when a doctor tells you that you’re showing three of the four markers of diabetes at thirty-four years old. You also tend not to forget when a doctor tells you that if you don’t start making some changes, you’re looking at a heart attack within the next ten years.
That wasn’t news to me. I had battled obesity since I was very young, and I had been through the song and dance before where my doctor warned me about potential health issues in my future. At twenty-one, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At twenty-five, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At thirty, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At thirty-four… came the reality that I may not have much longer left to live.
It was frightening to hear about my impending heart disease, but after years of abusing my body with poor eating habits, I still couldn’t seem to course correct even though I knew I needed to.
Before long, the doctor’s words of warning started to become a reality. I was at the heaviest I had ever been and my body was finally starting to give out after years of carrying around more weight than it was designed to. I was sitting in my favorite chair, watching TV in the living room. I tried to get up to go use the bathroom, only my body failed to cooperate. I pushed off of my knee and fought my way to a standing position like a man over twice my age. I was out of breath and my face was red. Then, when I turned to walk toward the bathroom, my knee popped. Although I was alone at the time, the humility is not something that I will ever forget.
I was an embarrassment to myself and I went through a terrible depression. The experience was enough to finally make me see the light–to see that it was now or never if I wanted to enjoy any type of quality of life. I needed to lose a lot of weight, but more importantly than simply diet, I needed to learn how to eat.
That was two years ago this week… and officially 130 pounds ago. I would be, like, the most boring Transformer ever.
Although I am still not quite at my ideal weight, I’m within spitting distance, and I feel incredible! No more back or joint pain, and the sugar-free icing on the cake, I no longer strain for breath when I bend over to tie my shoes.
I have a new found confidence, no longer hiding behind oversized clothing. Old friends are amazed when they see me and ask how I did it. It’s not fancy, or some type of magical cure, but its the truth: I simply didn’t want to live that way anymore. I knew how I got myself into that situation, so all I really had to do was reverse engineer it.
They say that sticking to a diet is the hardest part, but now that I have learned how to eat, it hasn’t been an issue for me at all. I didn’t give up the things that I used to eat, I just know how to portion them now. I eat more home cooked meals instead of going out. I exercise for thirty minutes a day. I can now look at food and know the caloric impact that it will have on my body.
And though it is a combination of all of these things that has allowed me to maintain a healthier lifestyle, there is no other motivator better than wanting to stay healthy for the people that you love.