They say people don’t change. Who said that?!? That person must have had the bad luck of many bitter experiences and bad relationships because I can tell you from personal experience that that’s old processed stale crap. And yes I know that the saying is referring to mental and not physical change but I’m a firm believer that the two are forever married without possibility of divorce.
I was once overweight. Yes I know it’s hard to believe. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Settled now? Ok. Like many people I’ve been up and down throughout my whole life. I was a fat little kid for almost my entire childhood, grew out of it in my teens, and then gained a freshman 30 in university. Like most cocky youth, I took my metabolism for granted and didn’t curb my eating habits once I reached my mid 20s. Nightly 2am pizza orders seemed rather normal. After my bad experiences in childhood having been teased for being the fat kid, I swore to myself I would never be overweight again once my growth spurt settled in high school. But there I was in my late 20s, the most out of shape I had ever been, with the lowest self-esteem I had ever experienced. Despite my belief that I couldn’t, something had to change.
At 27 I had a life altering experience. A life threatening experience if you will – I’ll get in to more detail about that story another time. The result was a mental shift, an epiphany to truly realize one’s own mortality, that life is what they’ve said all along, that it is precious and fleeting. I had that montage moment that you always see in the movies, where the hero starts to hear his own soundtrack and finally sees a vision of himself. But unlike the movie montage, it wasn’t a quick fix. In fact it was quite the opposite, a long a painful learning experience.
I started by taking the long 90 minute walk home from work every day, rain or shine. It was exhausting but rewarding. So rewarding that I would eat Chinese food when I got home to pat myself on the back. Oh…the body doesn’t work like that? Now you tell me. So I slowly started making healthy meals for myself every day and struggled with the lack of taste or enjoyment. Eating felt like a chore. That’s no way to live. Thankfully I had the advantage of being an amateur cook. I’ve always loved to cook and have a passion for all kinds of cuisines. So I used that skill to learn how to make healthy meals taste great. That was a huge step forward.
Now fast-forward 2 years later. I had lost 40 pounds and gained a new sense of pride and confidence. I learned that quick fix diets or “montages” don’t work in the real world. You need to take the long road to truly change your body and mind. I didn’t become a fitness or health freak, and I didn’t go back to my old ways. I shed my antiquated beliefs about the body and added the knowledge of balance. I now understand that if I continue to eat healthy, for the most part, and exercise regularly, I can enjoy all the little pleasures in life such as delicious food, tasty cocktails, and slurpees.