Prior to changing my life in 2005, I was a pretty active kid. My favourite sport was (and still is) hockey and would I play that year round, even during the summer months, I was also playing soccer, eventually becoming a referee. I rode my bike, snowboarded, played baseball, football and any other sports with my friends.
I never really cared for much nutrition. The thought of vegetables made me sick and I only enjoyed them with my fatty foods. I drank a lot of pop, juice and other sugary drinks. In hindsight now I can see that I drank most of my calories. When it came to actual foods, I wasn’t so picky. I ate pretty much anything that was available and I really enjoyed buffets. I would consider myself a bottomless pit. The sweet stuff is what I really enjoyed. I liked candies, desserts and pastries and, who could forget ice cream?
Growing up, since I wasn’t classified as “over weight“ (I would be what you called, chubby), I never had any body image issues. I would go to the swimming pool and have no problem taking off my shirt. Going on vacation? No problem. In fact, I was never shy to take my shirt off even in public places. In my high school years, many people thought I was either a football or rugby player because I was short and stocky.
As time went on, I began to see that I was a little on the chubby side. As a personal challenge, I wanted to see what I can do for my physical health on my own. On October 24 2005, I decided to change my life for the better. I decided to start getting into a healthier lifestyle, which meant changing the way I ate, exercised and look at life with more of a positive outcome.
Over the course of nine months, I learned a great deal about nutrition, the anatomy of the human body and how to exercise effectively. During this transformation, I lost a great deal of body fat. From then to July 1 2006, I had lost a total amount of 30 pounds and had gone from a size 34 inch waist to a 32 inch pushing 31.5 inches.
You would think one’s self would be happy and excited for this new body. Well this is where the blog turns to the ugly part of transforming yourself. Once I got to that point, I knew I had done something great, but what was next? I learned very quickly that keeping this up was going to be tough. The following few months, I enjoyed my new body and enjoyed the looks on people’s faces when they said, “Wow, Dave! You lost weight and you’re looking good!“ That boosted my ego, but not for long. That following November, I got the chance of a life time to go aboard and work on a cruise ship. This was the first time I was really away from home. My contract was only 7 weeks long. However, I was faced with many different temptations, which I do admit, I caved in to. Many bowls of ice cream, a lot of mixed alcoholic drinks, dinner out in the local restaurants, and just overall eating bad food. When I arrived back home after the 7 weeks, I had gained 10 pounds. I felt terrible and extremely guilty that I had let myself go.
For the next few contracts on cruise ships, I printed out a picture of myself after I gained the weight from my last contract and wrote the words “eat like shit, look like shit”. I made sure that every morning when I woke up I would look at that picture. This helped me hold accountable for my actions. I wish I can say that from then on, my life was smooth sailing and keeping up to my fitness goals has been easy. This is not the case. I am still very much tempted by favourite foods, especially the sweets. However, I have learned through the years how to resist these urges and reward myself from time to time for my successes. Moderation is key. Now, my lifestyle is an active one. My wife and I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and jogging. My diet has improved, which in turn has filled my life with energy. And with a little one on the way, I know that my healthy lifestyle will allow me to enjoy and to keep up with him/her.
I am proud to tell my story because I remember the initial hard work it took me to get to my goal, and the tougher daily perseverance to maintain this goal and commitment.
To end this blog, I will say that there are always two sides to everyone’s personal journeys. People always think of and see the end result without realizing the effort it takes to get there. There’s always a means to an end, and in transforming your physical body, the means can often be difficult, painful, effortful and downright challenging. It’s an everyday, life-long commitment that requires you to work on daily. The end result however is priceless – an energetic, healthier, longer, productive, satisfying and self-fulfilled life.
I hope this has been insightful and has empowered you to make changes in your life as well.
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