Chapter 4 of my First book: The Before and After PICTURES and METRICS speak for themselves

 In Book
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CHAPTER 4: The Before and After PICTURES and METRICS speak for themselves

DRAFT

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
So, what does this one say?

TRANSITION: A noun of ACTION derived from Latin “Transitionem” meaning
Going Across or Over – Definition from the Dictionary

People don’t recognize ME these days. People will come up to me at a cocktail, after an hour or so, and apologize for not having said hello to me earlier, because they had not realized that it was me. As I mentioned previously, my brother in law now refers to me as “New Dave”. I have physically changed that much.

I have lost close to 1/3 of my body mass (a.k.a. my body fat). Three days before my 50th birthday, I weighed in at my normal weight for the first time in over 15 years of hovering between being overweight and being obese. Talk about a cool birthday present to myself. I went from a size Extra Large shirt to a Medium in the space of a little over a year and a half. For my birthday present that year I ended up buying myself a whole new wardrobe. Out with the old and in with the new. I live in a city that has four seasons so it cost me a fortune, but I am not complaining. I have read that 9 out of 10 people who have lost weight will add it back on within a year. Some will add back on even more. Yikes. I better not let that happen to me. I don’t think I can afford the money or the shopping time to do so.

Anyways, it has been well over a couple of years now and I am pleased to report that I am one of the 10% crowd. Good for me, but I can’t help feeling badly for the other 90% of the people. I was there before, and I did not enjoy the experience, nor the feelings, and the lack of energy that accompanied it.  You see, things had gotten pretty nasty for me around that time. Not only was I out of shape physically, i.e. obese, it eventually got to the point where I had become a clinically depressed, socially isolated, functioning alcoholic. Quite the mouthful. I was sad. I was lonely. I was scared. I was not in a good place back then. I am now, and I am so grateful for the change (a.k.a. Transition). It took me some time to finally embark on that journey of transition but, as I like to say, better late than never.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, take a peek at my “BEFORE and AFTER COLLAGE” located in the middle section of this book and you will get the picture, pardon the pun. Oh, and if you don’t think that pictures are the way to tell a story, I invite you to take a look at my “BEFORE and AFTER STATISTICS” below. Analytics are all the rage these days. Well check out mine!

MY Before and After “Stats” (a.k.a. ANALYTICS & STATISTICS)

The difference a few years can make…………….

But, as impressive as the positive changes were on the outside, they paled in comparison to the ones that have taken place on the inside. And by my insides, I don’t mean my internal organs, some of which had actually shifted in location as a result of my extra body fat. By my insides, I am referring to my mental state, and my emotional state. By my insides, I am also referring to my heart and my soul. You can’t see those types of changes in a picture. Like the “Grinch who stole Christmas”, my heart has also grown three sizes, unlike him though, it took me more than a day.

I still can’t believe the change. More like a transformation. I never Imagined that I would end up where I am today.  My life is no longer the same. Not only have I made and maintained the physical change, I have also made significant changes on the career and relationship sides of my life, on both the romantic and non-romantic sides of the equation. So much for social isolation. So much for being stuck in a rut at work. Those nasty things are all things of the past. A past that also includes my bout with clinical depression. Good riddance!

I am not sure that I am the same person today as I was back then. It has been that dramatic a change. I never set out to make this significant a change. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would end up where I am today. It just took on a momentum of its own.  I was just trying to make a few changes. A few changes so that I would not die and leave my beautiful young children without a father. That was my motivator back then. But more on that later.

Actually, when I look back, the focus on my physical health was only possible when I took care of my issues on the mental side i.e. my clinical depression.  Eating healthy and moving more were not the easiest things to motivate myself to do when I felt so depressed, that, all I wanted to do was shut everything out, all I wanted to do was shut every thought out and shut everyone out, with the exception of a pint of beer or a glass of wine. I had trouble getting off the couch at times because I was feeling so low. I had trouble breathing at times because I was feeling so discouraged and so scared. How was I supposed to summon the energy to start exercising?

Apparently, it is a package deal. The physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual. As I undertook my transformation, I found it hard to have one without the other. I come across a lot of people, who, despite being very healthy and physically fit, are not in a great spot in their lives. There are holes elsewhere. For some of them, the exercise is their escape from the other parts of their lives that are not going well.  Wow! Am I ever glad that I have finally figured out the deal, on the packaged deal. Or as the accountant in me likes to refer to it as, my “wellness portfolio”, a balance of the things, as measured on both the inside and outside, that enable one to lead a healthy, joyful and fulfilling life.

It took me close to 50 years to figure it out, but I get it now. I am aware now.  And in coaching, they taught us that awareness is 9/10th of the journey. Awareness is the precursor to making a choice. I am self-aware now, finally, and that is what makes me so confident that I will never go back there. Back to that nasty place, that nasty zone. That nasty place where I used to hide out, hide out alone, all by myself. I much prefer where I am today, surrounded by my family and friends.

HALF TIME and MY Second Half. Hey! The goal posts keep moving! What’s with that?

My second half. I just came across the concept recently as outlined in a book by Bob Buford called “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance”. I am a big Football fan so I related to the analogy of two halves and a halftime. I also like the premise, according to the author, that the second half, should you choose that path, is more fulfilling and joyful than the first. Others have written on the concept as well.

Apparently, it is a time when many of us stop and ask ourselves an important question. Is this really what MY life is supposed to be all about? Often, there seems to be something missing. Some people decide to disregard that feeling, that something is missing, and continue down the same path. Often the rationale being “Oh well, that is life”. Or, “We can’t have it all”.  Others decide to further explore that question, and end up charting a new course in their lives. Their rationale being” “Life is what I make it and I would like to make it more meaningful and fulfilling.” This desire for change can be brought on by a crisis or some other moment of self reflection. Unfortunately, crisis is usually the catalyst, from what I have read. It was in my case.

I had built myself quite the comfort zone over the first half of my life. I might have stayed in there forever except that it finally got so nasty that I felt like I had no choice but to get out. To get out and stay out. In hindsight, my definition of getting out, was a bit of a grey area. I thought that my transformation was complete when I stepped on the scale back then, when I turned 50, and my weight was back to normal. I thought that I had transformed myself. I was so proud of myself. I was so excited.

Well, in hindsight, as it turns out, that was just one change among many others that would take place along my journey of transformation. What I am now referring to as MY HALFTIME. My transition from the first half of my life to the second half of my life. As previously mentioned, my journey of life altering self-transformation had not started out as a journey of life altering self-transformation.  One change lead to another, and before you knew it, I was going through big shifts and with each shift my original intended destination and outcome would change. It would change for the better. I kept reaching for and wanting more. It was as if I was heading for an end zone where the goal posts kept shifting.

Eventually, I started to wonder when I was finally going to get to start living my second half. As previously mentioned, I am actually writing this book over a year later than planned because I had thought that my transition of self transformation would be over by then. Turns out that I am still going through the tail end of that self-transformation, even now as I am writing this. I am going on 7 years of change now.

Wow. I never imagined it would take this long when I set out. In hindsight, it is a good thing that I decided to make it EASYer on myself when I first set out. The easier the better, since I have found out that change and comfort zones go together like oil and water. Good thing that I continued to take an approach of making it easy on myself as the transition continued to expand and stretch out. I eventually got to the point where I was enjoying change. My 7-year journey of transformation actually ended up being one of the most fulfilling and fun periods of my life. Wow. Talk about a cool halftime! And guess what? My second half is supposed to be even better. Bring it on!

My journey of change. Making it easy on myself and having FUN while at it!
F**k the “No pain, No gain” approach

Were there bumps along the road during my journey of self transformation? Yes. There still are. Were there difficult periods during my journey of self transformation? Yes. There still are. Were there painful moments during my journey of self transformation? Yes. There still are. But in hindsight, they were few and far between. And in hindsight, there could have been fewer if I wanted there to be. After all, what I soon realized, is that it was, all up to me.

When it came to making change, the decisions, were all mine to make. Whether to make them in the first place and how to go about making them when I did decide that I wanted to make them. So, I guess I figured that, if every decision is my choice, then making ones that make it as EASY as possible on me would seem the logical choice. Making it as easy as possible on me, and having fun while I was at it, soon became my Modus Operandi for change. I lost close to 100 pounds of body fat and rarely broke a sweat. As you will read and see, as I share my story with you throughout this book, that is what I tried to do, make it EASYer on myself, and when I look back on my journey now, that approach served me well.  It has been quite the fun journey. And I like to have fun. I will leave the painful approaches to the “others”. I think that those “others” refer to themselves as suckers for pain. To each is own.

Oh! And Why am I picking on Mondays?

Oh, and, before I forget. One more thing. What made me decide to call this book “Tell me Why I now love Mondays”? Why am I picking on Mondays? Well, the short answer is, because they picked on ME. For a long time.

I let Monday’s do it to me but that is no excuse. Bad Monday! No wonder no one likes YOU. YOU are not nice. I feared Monday’s so much in the past that I could never fathom liking Mondays. Talk about a lack of willingness to question one’s beliefs, and questioning one’s beliefs is a key enabler to making a change.

My dread of Mondays got so bad at one point that I started drinking as early as Wednesday because I was starting to get anxious and depressed about the upcoming Monday. As previously mentioned, I would have started drinking earlier but my body could not process that much booze over that long a period. I could not drink on Tuesdays or Monday, ironically, the day I needed my self-medication the most. Apparently, I was not alone in my dislike for Mondays.  As outlined in my blog “Not Dave’s Top 5 List. TOP 5 Reasons Why NOT Everyone Hates Mondays” I was only able to find 2 people so far who did not share that feeling and I wanted to join them. In my case, to not only like Mondays but to Love them. And all the rest of the days of the week as well.

Well, I am getting close to that goal. Getting close to enabling that transition, that shift, that mind shift, and once I am there it will be time to maintain it. And what better way to maintain it than making it a habit. How cool a habit would that be? Getting up every day of the week, no matter what day of the week, Mondays included, and looking forward to that day, looking forward to having an awesome day. Here’s to making that one a habit. Monday! I am sorry for all the terrible things I said to you in the past, I am now looking forward to the start of a great relationship!

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So, What did I learn?
How did I make change EASYer on myself 😊 (or not ☹)

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In hindsight, when I look back at all that I have accomplished during this seven-year period of change, there is one thing that stands out for me. For each and every change, they started by just STARTING. As a colleague of mine, Hugh Culver, recently pointed out in one of his blogs, the secret to making a change is to “JUST START”. One small step at a time. Every time now, when I become daunted by the perceived magnitude of making a new change, I make it EASYer on myself, by just getting started. Just one thing. One small step. One small step at a time. And before you know it, you end up somewhere that you would never have believed possible. How cool is that! 😊

Oh! and by the way, although it was not my intention at the time. My new healthier ways are having a secondary positive effect. A bit of a bonus. They are rubbing off on my children. While food shopping with me the other day, my son pointed out to me, after reading the ingredients on a container of food, that there was way too much salt. “Put it back on the shelf Dad”. Wow! My new healthy lifestyle is rubbing off on my kids. How cool is that! I am setting an example of leading a healthy lifestyle for my children. Hopefully that will make it EASYer on them later on in their lives, to continue to do so. 😊

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That was all about me. What about YOU?What are you doing to make your journey of change EASYer on YOU😊 (or not ☹)

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Is your life really what it is supposed to be about?

What do you think of getting up on Monday mornings?
And the rest of the days of the week for that matter?

 

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