For most of my adult life, I have been what the doctors call morbidly obese. When I was 25 years old, I lost 46 pounds and was looking pretty trim but the weight came back. Like most of you, I’ve had some successes and a lot of failures when it comes to losing weight. But for the most part, I have been successful at gaining weight.
Several years ago, my daughters had conversations with me about my health. They expressed concern about me since I wasn’t taking care of myself. They didn’t want to lose me prematurely due to obesity-related illness. They were worried about me and wanted to make sure I knew that. They gave me My Why. I wanted to lose weight and take care of myself so that I would increase the chances of living a long life and being there to see my kids get married and start families of their own. I wanted to make sure that my grandchildren would know me as a healthy, active Papa.
Soon after, I began to follow a weight loss program, I started walking and exercising, and I changed my mindset. I believed that weight loss was possible and that I could change my habits. Sure enough, it worked. I lost 85 pounds. Walking became running. At first, I couldn’t run a quarter mile but I kept trying, kept believing. I worked up to a mile, a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, and even a full marathon. I kept to me training schedule, rain or shine, hot or cold.
But something happened after the marathon. I stopped running. Sure, I needed a break but I lost interest in running. Was the marathon my ultimate goal and, once achieved, there was nothing left to conquer? What happened to My Why? The weight came back and, although I made attempts at losing it again, I was never successful. Why was the goal of living a longer, healthier life not enough of a motivator for me? Why have I reverted back to my old ways?
As I write this blog post today, I am in my second day of Weight Watchers. I have gained over 100 pounds since my successful weight loss program of a few years ago. I feel down emotionally, unhealthy physically, and I hate the way I look. But, the good thing is that I don’t feel like a failure and I am not beating myself up about this. I’m starting where I am and I will do the best I can.
But I wonder where My Why went. Actually, I don’t think it went anywhere. I think I fell into the trap of thinking that things are OK. Generally, I’m in good health although I’m fat. After 62 years, I’m still doing OK. I don’t feel a sense of urgency to change. And even when I tell myself that I would rather not have to experience a health crisis to make me see the light, I don’t expect that it will happen. I think the other issue is that keeping bad habits is easy but keeping good habits requires discipline and work. It’s much easier to go to a drive-through and get an unhealthy lunch than to prepare a healthy lunch the night before work. It’s much easier to skip breakfast than to take the time to make it. It’s much easier to watch TV than to go out for a walk or a run.
So I’ve been foolish. Or maybe I’ve just been human. Whatever the case, once you have Your Why, hold on to it. Keep it in the forefront of your mind. Let it drive your decisions and your motivation to do the best things for you and your family. You’ll feel better about yourself and your life. Take it from me. I’ve regained My Why and I’m regaining control of my life.