I used to be a basketball player
I lived and breathed it. I wore Nike shirts with Jordan gear all the time. I would play in the driveway, after school, at practice, then on to the YMCA for open gym. It was a constant. I would watch Jordan play, always trying to remember moves that I would put into play in the future. I dreamed of playing college ball and maybe, if all went according to fantasy, on to the NBA.
I was 17 years old when I quit the varsity team. I was at the top of my game. I was an athlete. But there were other reasons why I could no longer compete. Shortly thereafter, I decided to spend more time with friends partying. This continued into college. Eventually, according to my new plan, I put on weight and became a sloth. Exercise was going to the front desk of the dorm for a chicken and swiss sandwich (gross) or hiking to the next house party.
When I met my wife I was 6 months in recovery from a breakup. I had incorporated some exercise into my healing because I believed my ex left me because of my size – which probably was a factor as I was no prize at the time. At that time, my wife was depressed and typically was in motion only with soccer. This worked fairly well for us for years until she became healthy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there yet.
The worst part about being with someone who struggled with severe depression was that the focus is typically only on him or her. I say the worst part in that it sucks for both people. She was constantly under the microscope and I was constantly avoidant. Eventually, she was doing great and I was stuck having to face that which I already knew. Sadly, I was fat.
I look back at the pictures and wonder who was this giant man? I remember when I could no longer find pants in my size. I realized my wife was asking to keep the lights off at night, not out of concern for her body, but rather to avoid seeing mine – Yikes! Time to make a change.
Here I am, fat, a step or two away from having a cardiac attack, and constantly drowning my sorrows with beer and Ben and Jerry’s. I was married to a certified personal trainer who has access to a private gym that I could use anytime while she trains me into health. Yet, I continuously fought her on it. It was a stupid male pride thing.
It was like your kid trying to tie his shoes when you are already 10 minutes late, “Stop it!!! I can do it! Don’t rush me.” I’m sure she wanted to punch me. I would want to punch me if I were her. Tantrum after tantrum. It had to be on my terms. I had to maintain control. All bullshit!
I had to give in and accept that I needed help. Not help to rescue me, but rather, I needed someone to remind me that I was once an athlete, that my body will remember what to do, and that I will crave movement for the joy of moving and loving my body with a natural medicine. I had to let go of pride. Pride is a false sense of entitlement in which we deny our insecurities and perceive we are exempt from that which we fear. I was not exempt of self-esteem issues simply because I helped people as a therapist.
Once I accepted that I evolved into this position because of various life changes, time, absent-mindedness, lack of education, conditioning, and trauma I was finally ready to let go. In all honesty, I simply got pissed one day and jumped on a treadmill. I truly thought I might die running and that somehow would make Kerry feel badly. Total adolescent thought pattern. But as I started to run, I set small goals for myself. I ran 4 miles that first time. One of the proudest moments of my life.
We all get lost sometimes. We forget to keep moving. We forget that our bodies need it. We forget how good it feels after we are done. It is medicine. It is healing. It can change the way we feel and see the self. No matter how you look at it, you have nothing to lose and only positive to gain. Just remember to love yourself in every step you take. Anything can be work or fun depending completely on how we choose to see it. One’s perception is one’s reality.
Some tips from an ex fat man
1. Get in motion
Walk around the block, ride a bike, climb a tree. I started to take walks at lunch instead of staring at my computer at work. I would take my clients outside for strolls around the parking lot. Incorporate it any way you can.
2. Celebrate effort:
You most likely will not run a marathon right away but any action is a step in the right direction. I had to be my biggest cheerleader, which is weird to say but is very true. I had to pump myself up. Be proud of your efforts. If you wait for others to do things for you, you may be waiting forever. I used to want to quit running on the trail until a pretty lady would run by (don’t worry Kerry…just motivation and stupid male pride). It helped. Sometimes I would think of my father-in-law or dad who fought cancer. I would think how lucky I am to be alive and it would help me move. Sometimes it was the Little engine that could – I would repeat a challenge over and over in my head to push myself. Sometimes I needed to stop and then I would get myself amped up again. Whatever works, but the only way to know is to try.
Remember that motion alone does not create balance. Try to focus on other areas for change as well, like diet, calming oneself (stress relief), spiritual connection (whatever that is for you – I accept all as long as it causes no harm to others), purpose, and loving connection. I will clarify more of these in detail as we go – stay tuned for more blogs. Until then, continue to balance!
If you’re struggling with your body image, your sense of confidence or you generally need a kick up the butt, you should seriously consider joining my upcoming Transformation 101 class delivered by myself and my wonderful wife Kerry. The class is literally changing people’s lives!!! If you choose to join us, this will be the last round of the class this year and will set you up for a healthy and truly happy Christmas. If you’re a guy, you’ll get support directly from me, and gals from Kerry.
If you sign up before Tuesday we’re running an early bird offer of $95 off if you pay in full! You can redeem this by entering ‘FALL95’ during checkout….what are you waiting for? Just click here to start learning more and get yourself resgistered!