“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams”.
2016 was an eventful year for me full of face-in-palm moments and feelings of Incredible triumph. I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One thing I’ll walk into 2017 knowing is that through all of it the fire that was ignited in me two years ago when I decided to start my journey is still burning stronger than ever except now my sights are set on a far bigger path.
I’m writing you this letter for no other reason than to tell you that I am with you. Whether you are just starting your journey or you have been at it for a while I want you to know that I have been there and I know the struggle, the pain, and the constant feeling of wanting to quit. I need you to know that all those feelings pass and in time they turn in to feelings of pride, accomplishment, and a new found level of self-love.
“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us”
When I decided to let you guys in on my journey, the pain, the joy, the achievement and everything along the way, the plan was that I’d break it down chronologically from the 33olbs that I started my journey at down to my final goal of getting under 200 lbs. As we all know things change, we experience things that alter the way we think, and the route that we ultimately decide to take. So eventually I’d like to venture back to the part of the story explaining how I became very stagnant at 250lbs and showed no progress for six months and what I did to overcome that but right now I’d like to jump ahead to something that happened this past June, not coincidentally the same week of my last post, that threw me for a loop and off-kilter and changed the way I looked at everything.
“The world’s greatest achievers have been those who have always stayed focused on their goals and have been consistent in their efforts.”
Consistency was a trait that had eluded me for so long in so many different aspects of my life. I recall there were so many times that I had said I was driven to stay on the right track or that I was more motivated than I had ever been to achieve something great. The drive and motivation I always told myself I had found always seemed to fall short quickly and I was back at square one. This time was different though, I had the greatness that always seemed to elude me within striking distance. Being under 250 pounds by my 25th birthday wasn’t just a pipe dream anymore, it was doable as long as I stayed focused on my goals.
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best.”
You see even with very little results on the scale I was proud, I was as optimistic about where I was headed as I had ever been, I was ready to do everything I could to make what I was never good at least become something you could say I was semi-proficient at. I wasn’t even thinking about best or great yet, I was focused on good. I would be good enough to turn my gradual walks around the block at Plyo into full-on runs, I would be good enough to take that one push up (that honestly was not really a push up) that I could do into a full on set, but more so I was ready to get good at being me again.
“Look at what you want to change, gather a few people who believe in it like you do, and start moving forward. It's important to remember that you don't always need a destination. Sometimes, you just have to make forward motion. And you absolutely can.”
At this point in my journey, my destination was still in question. I knew I wanted to be healthier and have the ability to play with my nieces for many years to come with no pain. I knew that there was this lady who I wanted more than anything to have the confidence to actually ask out on a date. I had no idea how far I would have to go to reach these goals. For the first time in a long time though, I knew what I had to do, and there was nothing in my head that could stop me from reaching these goals. But then again I’ve said that before.
“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery - there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”
That phrase, moments in deep valleys of despair, sticks out to me the most. You see, at this point in my life I wasn’t just having moments in this valley of despair, I had built a makeshift hut and made it my permanent residence with “keep out” signs posted all over. As motivated as I should have been to work my way out, or at least get to sea level, I had convinced myself that this makeshift hut in this deep valley was all I had and I was going to make it work. Occasionally, there were times where I would build myself up as ready to finally make that trip to that mountaintop. If I just got this bottom off this couch and actually put in some work I would be ready to make that climb in time, but eventually, I would decide it just was going to take way too long to get there and it was almost dinner time anyway. So I’d try again another day.
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
A very true and powerful quote, but from my perspective, I can see now there is more to it than just being loved by and loving others as is. A big part of your happiness is also loving yourself, being able to look in the mirror and smile because you enjoy what you see looking back at you. If you can’t truly love yourself, how can anyone else? This is something I struggled with for years, looking in the mirror and wanting to punch out what I saw in front of me. I often felt depressed because of what I saw, the feeling of being inadequate and not worthwhile. I didn’t love myself and I made damn sure it was hard for anyone else to love me as well.