I have mentioned briefly my health journey over the past year but in this post I want to start going into a little more detail. Since I don’t want to make this an abnormally long post, this will be broken down into a few parts so stay tuned for future posts!
Basically, I was clueless in how I approached health. I ate a lot of processed foods, consumed large amounts of sugar, and didn’t get enough exercise. I knew better, I knew my body did not like how I was eating, and most days I was so tired I could barely make it to bedtime. I also have hypothyroidism and even though I took Synthroid I just didn’t have enough energy. Something was definitely off.
In this picture I weigh between 195-200 pounds. That shirt I’m wearing? Its a large so I can wear it untucked and cover up my belly as much as possible. If you look closely, you can see that my arms are kind of resting on my stomach. And, I felt awful. My body was packed with inflammation, I was constantly sore (even though I didn’t work out), and I was sluggish mentally and physically. I knew better.
What changed for me? There were several factors:
That’s a pretty good list isn’t it?
The first thing I want you to see when you read this is I’m not a medical professional. I do not have a background in physical fitness. I am not a personal trainer. I am just a dude who knew how I was feeling and knew that something was definitely not right. Did you know you are not supposed to be tired after you eat? I didn’t! I thought it was normal to want a nap after lunch. Its not. At all. Food is supposed to fuel your body not deplete it. I had a lot of learning to do.
Here’s the crazy thing about all of this. My wife is healthy and focused on healthy living. We have books in our house that I could read at any time on any health topic. I have tons of friends who are trained in health related issues. I have friends who are doctors and friends who are nutritionists. I knew better.
Have you ever been in a spot that scared you but you didn’t do anything to correct or change? That was me in that picture. I was living in fear of what might happen, of what was going on inside my body that I couldn’t see, and how close I might be to ending up in the hospital or worse.
So, that is the beginning of this journey. Some of these things I’ve never shared before but I want this to be open and honest. I firmly believe we can’t improve without being honest with where we currently are. For too long I was not honest with myself. I knew better.
Stay tuned for Part 2…
The reality of any journey is how difficult it can be from time to time. As you have seen in my previous two posts, I had some significant disappointments along the way. But, as the years become greater in-between those moments and now, I see things in a much different light.
Look at this picture above, it’s a simple road that all of us have traveled. When we are on the road, we often can’t see very far in front of us, only the things that are around our present location. You can make out some trees ahead, a few hills or mountains, but that is the extent of what is seen. This is an interesting thought when we look at our lives in a similar way.
I can look back and see where the Lord was working in my life, what He was doing to get me to the place I am today, but not while I was in the middle of it. Similarly, I am unable to look ahead to 40 and see what may be in store for me and my family. All I can do is seek guidance from the Lord, my family, and those whom I trust that have been down a similar road before.
The hurt I felt when I was rejected by all the law schools in which I applied is still there. I remember getting each of those letters and how, after the second one I knew the rest would also contain a no. I remember applying for a job as a bank teller, having an interview, getting the phone call that I wasn’t hired, and wondering what was wrong with me. Ever been there? It is not a fun place to be but how I learned from those experiences!
I honestly believe the journey through those pains have made me a better husband, a better father, and a better person. While I don’t wish pain and hurt on anyone, sometimes they can be the best learning experience. They have taught me the value of not giving up, reaching out to others for help, and not being so quick to judge people who may be in tough spots. Each of these are areas I have struggled with in the past and it took me going through a rough patch in my own life to grow.
The one image that continually comes to mind as I think back on my own journey is my son. He was born while I was unemployed. As any parent will tell you, there is not a worse feeling in the world than feeling like you are unable to provide for and take care of your family. Ever have a moment in your life when you thought things couldn’t get any worse? This was it for me. Fortunately, the Lord provided an opportunity and while I would rather not go through something like that again, I am thankful for what I learned.
We will always be learning and the heart of these posts is to recognize those moments and grow as a person. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about times in your life that while difficult, have been some of the best learning experiences for you. It is always helpful to go through these times together and learn from one another so I look forward to hearing from all of you on this journey.