One of the "themes" that seems to be coming up lately in my conversations (about weight loss, fitness, etc.) is the notion of "being ready." By that I mean being receptive to the idea of weight loss and that it's necessary and that it's going to take some time and work.
Actually, I want to stop right there for a second, and let that sink in. It wasn't a particularly profound sentence; in fact, grammatically, I don't think it's a sentence at all. But what I just wrote represents some pretty big notions that I had been able to ignore and overlook for pretty much my entire life.
Over the last few decades (decades!), every time I've read about the necessity of weight loss I've been able to disregard what I'm reading, gloss over it, and allow myself to be distracted by something else. I have been overweight forever and on some level I have always known that I have to do something about it, but no amount of nagging from friends, family, doctors, television or magazines was about to make me do anything about it.
Because I wasn't ready.
I always had excuses. "I don't have time." "I'm too tired." "I really need to eat this now." If you've got some pounds to lose, and you're still reading, I bet you have some excuses, too. "I'll start dieting and exercising in January. It will be my New Year's resolution." "There's no gym convenient to me or my hours." "If I couldn't eat _______, I'd kill myself." Believe me, I'm the king of excuses. There's a 24 Hour Fitness ON MY BLOCK, a few hundred feet from my building, and I never could even manage to pop in and look into memberships. I live ACROSS THE STREET from a Safeway, but food shopping was just too big of a hassle for me to bother with it. Frankly, the whole thing is just embarrassing.
Believe me, it would have been super easy NOT to apply for the Commit To Fit program. I could have found a million reasons not to make the application video. Instead, as the application deadline neared, I found myself running out of excuses. I guess I was ready.
What changed? Well, two big things happened to me last year that I think really effected my outlook on my future. One of these things was an injury to my achilles tendon that had me wearing a clunky medical boot on-and-off for 5 months. Though the injury wasn't weight-related, it was painful on my ankles and knees and made me fear a future where I might have similar mobility issues. One of my fears has always been that I get so heavy, that I have mobility issues. This injury was, in my mind, a taste of that possible future.
The other thing that happened was nearly getting kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight in May. I was flying to Nashville to help my parents dig out from losing their home in a flood, and while on layover in Los Angeles, I was met by Southwest staff who rudely served me with their Customer of Size policy. (Do a web search, they are notoriously unpleasant about this.) They told me that the passenger next to me had complained so they gave him another seat on another plane, and that they normally would have kicked me off the plane instead but I was not at my home airport. (The weird thing is, the passenger could not have complained, I saw him board, sit next to me, and then a flight attendant walked up to him and flagged him to join her up front and then get off the plane.) Basically, I was singled out by staff, not by a passenger, and then essentially told (in front of all the nearby passengers) that going forward I'd have to buy two seats when I fly Southwest. They handed me a print-out of their policy, and asked for my name so they could tag my record. For my entire visit to Nashville, which was unpleasant enough as it is because my parents basically lost everything, I was obsessing about how the return flight would go, and worrying about future flights on other airlines. I love to travel, and suddenly it felt like my future vacations were in jeopardy.
One might argue that FEAR is what snapped me out of my previous lifestyle. Doctors, and even my junior high school gym teacher, always tried to scare me into eating right and exercising. But those theoretical future versions of me never seemed to be so terrible, and I always felt like I had a ton of time to course-correct. Then 20 or 25 years went by. When I got into my late thirties and my weight got closer to a breaking point, I could suddenly see what everyone had been trying to warn me about. I guess I figured out that it was time to undo some damage.
Overall, the journey has been easier than I expected, so far. Some might think it's easier because I am getting all this outside help from the experts at MV Nutrition and DIAKADI Body. While that is partially true, I assure you no one is holding my hand when I need to eat 4 times per day, every day. My decisions are my own. And they are easier to make...because I am ready.
Author: Dave McKew, Commit to Fit Winner 2011