Rick's Lifestyle Change - Open Letter
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.
First and foremost, if you are struggling with your weight and are ready to make that change in your lifestyle I hope that it is for you. Being overweight can come with a lot of pressure from friends, family, doctors, and just society, in general, to try and lose the weight. Please do not start this to appease the people around you or just because you want to be left alone, from personal experience that just leads to resentment and a quick trigger finger when it comes to wanting to pull the plug. You have to want this for yourself because the only person who can truly hold you accountable is you. Please know also as annoying as it may be for the people around you to constantly remind you and stay on your case about you needing to lose the weight, pushing their healthy foods on you, or the scorn they give when you get up for that plate of seconds that it is only because they love you and want the best for you. It is a frightening feeling knowing that someone that you love could be taken away from you prematurely all because they were not willing to take the necessary steps to take better care of their own health. You need those motivators liked loved ones that you can look to as reasons to keep pushing when it gets tough, but the fact still remains that every step you take on your journey has to be because you want to take those steps and nothing else.
When you do decide that you want it for you, you have to ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice, because it is going to take sacrifice. Ask yourself honestly if you are willing to cut down on the sodas, the fast food, those beloved trips for second helpings, and all those delicious foods that you just can’t get enough of? I’m sure reading that has you second guessing yourself, don’t. You should never feel like you have to tell yourself you cannot have something, the moment you start telling yourself you aren’t allowed to have something you are going to want it that much more and when you do fall off the wagon you will fall hard. What you have to sacrifice is the excess consumption of all those deliciously bad things. Know in your head that it is okay to have that big red with a barbacoa taco on a Sunday morning, some pizza here and there, a sweet tea with your meal on occasion. You also have to be willing to sacrifice some of your free time because changing your eating habits is a big part of dropping weight but it is only half of the battle. You will have to dedicate some time to physical activity whether that be, walks at a park, or finding yourself in the gym. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how or where you should workout, take recommendations and asses your options but just know that you need to find a place that you can enjoy and working out doesn’t feel like such a chore. If all this sounds time-consuming and like it is going to take a lot of effort that is because it is but it is all worth it in the end.
I would ask that you have patience, the problem with the fitness industry is that all it markets to you is quick results when in reality this is supposed to be a long grind it out process. We have spent years and years doing the damage to our bodies and we are supposed to believe that in just ten weeks on some crash diet or with the help of some magic pill we can undo all that damage, excuse my language but that is just a bunch of bullshit. When I started my journey I worked out almost every day for two months and maybe dropped one pound, but I stuck it out and made some tweaks to what I ate and it wasn’t until then that I started seeing results, do not get discouraged if it doesn’t happen for you right away. A year and a half ago if I would have given up after seeing no results there is no telling where I would be. There are going to be points where it feels like nothing you do is working but your body is adapting to the changes you are making and when it does come it will come quick. I would hope that you don’t fall into any quick fix weight loss schemes and just chip away slowly. I cannot stress enough that there will be lulls, you will go stretches without any results but all that means is your body has caught up to what you are doing and its time for some tweaks to your routine.
You are going to want to document the entire process, the good and the bad, whether it be through pictures, videos, or even a journal. If I could go back in time I would tell myself that the journey you are about to embark on is amazing, you’re going to fall in love every aspect of it, and you’re going to want to be able to look back on it and question if you really did that. Don’t ever let anyone feel like what your doing isn’t important because by telling your story and showing your progress you could be laying out a blueprint for someone else to accomplish the same.
Lastly, forget about the scale, toss yours out if you know you will be constantly checking it because that number means nothing. The most important lesson I can give you is that that number is meaningless. Pay attention to your body and what it is telling you more than anything. How do you feel? Can you move around without a struggle? Are your clothes fitting better? The number on the scale plays no part in that. Set goals for yourself like I want to be able to lift x amount of weight, I want to run a mile in x number of minutes, or even I want to fit into x size pant or shirt because I promise you the scale doesn’t tell you as much as getting closer and closer to those goals would. The number will drop in time, but nothing is going to feel as good as achieving those goals. I was able to go months without stepping on a scale only going on the facts that my size 48 pants that I once wore were down to a 34 and the 17-minute mile I originally ran went down to a sub-8-minute mile. Your health and fitness are what means the most, not the numbers on a scale.
I hope that as you begin or continue your journey you can look to me as someone who has been there, someone who has struggled, someone who has hurt, and someone who overcame it all to achieve the goals he set for himself and that if someone like me could do it you can too. If you ever feel like quitting just know that it is okay to feel that way because that is part of the process, you are trying to accomplish something that people who have never been in your position will understand. I just hope from here on out when you feel like stopping you hear me in the back of your head telling you to keep pushing because I know you can do it and I have faith in how strong you are. Never stop fighting, never stop believing in yourself, but mostly enjoy the ride because I know this is something you’ll only experience once.