Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reflections....

I'm sitting here in the first class lounge at YYZ awaiting my flight to Vancouver and Comox for Christmas. I've got a 10-day break ahead of me with friends and my parents, and am looking forward to some relaxation after what has been a very very busy six months. In fact, it's been a pretty intense year. Between taking on my PhD, entering year 2 of a new job, and taking a leap of faith into better health, I've had quite a busy 12 months. And it seems appropriate, in that "Top 10 of 2008" type of fashion given the time of year, that I reflect a bit on where I've been in the past year, where I've come to, and where I'm going in the years ahead. It's also a good idea because Seb sent me a text message last night telling me to do so. Since I opened up my blog and made it public, he's turned into my blog-pimp. Lucky this thing doesn't make me any coin (yet) or he might ask me for a cut... LOL!

So, I had my last workout with Sebastien yesterday before the Christmas break, and my monthly assessment. We weren't able to do the whole assessment because I've got a problem with my sub-talar joint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtalar_joint) in my left foot making it difficult to do pushups and planks. But I did what I could and I continue to make progress. We then proceeded to do more kickboxing (the oddly cathartic sport which I am really enjoying) and took out some aggression for a good 25 minutes. Then onto some core work and streching to round out my day. All in all a good workout.

While I was doing a set of 100 crunches (normally I do 400.. and my capacity for crunches rates in the 'excellent' range for a 35 year old man), Sebastien asked me what I was most proud of over the past year. I wasn't able to respond right away. First of all, because it's hard to talk while you're doing crunches... I don't know why he insists on asking me questions while I'm grunting and panting... but I digress. I also didn't answer right away because I really didn't know. I know that I've said to myself (and on here) that I'm proud of myself... but talking about pride out loud is a totally different ball game. In fact, talking about any of my journey out loud is difficult. It's difficult because it's so personal. Difficult because it's emotional. Difficult because, well, it's difficult.

But I did eventually come to a revelation. Even though I am indeed proud of the fact that getting to the gym each day is now a good habit and part of my lifestyle, and that I feel more and more at home in that space which used to scare the shit out of me, there's something that I am proud of much more.

The journey towards health and losing weight is not a simple path. Even though diets that tout themselves as 'lifestyle programs' try to sell a very simplistic equation to get people to buy into their formula for better health, it's not at all that easy. I always knew in the back of my head that this would be just as intense a journey emotionally, as it is physically. But it is only now, in doing some good, thoughtful reflection, that I truly realize how important it is to get your head and heart healthy so that your body can follow suit.

Basically, what I am most proud of is that over the past 12 months, I've learned to deal with my baggage. I have lots of reasons as to why I think I'm fat. I have 10 fingers, each of which can point in a different direction and to a different person or event that I can blame for why I ended up this way. At the end of it all though, I'm the only one who can truly change any of this. I'm the one who is in control. I have to be the one in control. And allowing any of the people or experiences or whatever, to whom any one of my fingers is pointed, have control over me, is to admit defeat off the start and set myself up for inevitable failure.

In other words, I've learned to let go.

And it's not easy. Not only have I carried around extra physical weight all of these years, but I have also carried intense amounts of emotional baggage and crap that always weighed me down. Literally. I could feel it bearing down on my shoulders. On my limbs. On my heart. On my soul. Some of it has simply disappeared without me even realizing it. Some of it has been left on the floor of the gym in sweat and tears (no blood). And some of it, I've chosen to address head on. I've taken the time to try to hold myself accountable (even though it's still a struggle) for my shit, and for making things happen for myself. It's not easy. I'm my own worst enemy. I'm also my own strongest ally. And accepting the help that others can give me, but most importantly, the help that I can provide for myself, is a significant step along this curvy, bumpy path.

So, in spite of the fact that:
  • I've dropped 60 pounds in the last year.
  • I go to the gym every day.
  • I've conquered my fear of the elliptical machine.
  • I do 300-400 crunches a day.
  • I eat well, and have learned to not beat myself up for the times that I don't.
  • I've never felt healthier.
  • I've made a new friend... his name is Sebastien the trainer.
I'm most proud of the fact that I no longer carry all of that baggage with me. Don't get me wrong... there's still some stuff packed away in backpacks, shoulder bags, and the occasional rolling suitcase (but never a fanny-pack... they should be illegal), there's nowhere near as much as there used to be. That's what I'm most proud of.

And I guess, it's not totally fair to say 'in spite of' all of those things that I listed above. It's more 'because of' that list of accomplishments that I've been able to let go and move on. And boy am I movin' on....

So my friends, there you have it. Thank you for sharing in the past six months of my 12 month journey. But it's not over yet. I've got some solid goals in mind, and will continue, without a doubt, to transform myself into the person I've always dreamt I could become. So, stay tuned for year 2... and I will soon overcome my aversion to cameras and post some pictures on this thing.... I remember the first week that I actually started running on the treadmill, Sebastien told me I should post a video of me running on this blog. I told him he was fu**ing crazy.

I don't think he's so crazy anymore.

So, I must fly. Literally. It's time for me to get on the plane and enjoy 5 hours of in-flight entertainment in my lie-flat bed executive suite seat (thanks to my Dad's Aeroplan points...). Thanks for reading... and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2009.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.

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