“You’re right when you say we all come out of high school thinking we’re going to save the world. And sometimes we do. And sometimes… sometimes we don’t. So you don’t think about saving the world. You think about saving just one person. Because sometimes, that’s enough. All I know is that we have to try. That’s what life is. We try. We push back against the darkness, just a little.” – Superman
Well as promised, here is an entry regarding the question “Why?”. This question is truly the hardest question to answer, but the easiest to ask. As children we always asked why and sometimes we asked why so much that it drove our parents crazy and led to the most overused answer… “because I said so! That’s why!”
I’ve waited to do this entry because I really want to think long and hard on the question and answer it fully. I actually have to constantly ask myself this question, because the answer to the question is the motivation you need to keep pushing and to keep thriving. Everybody’s answer is different so no matter how much I write about this topic, you’re still going to have to ask yourself this very difficult question.
To help give my backstory, I’m simply going to copy and paste from a note I did on facebook before my wedding that gave a history of my journey up to that point (it also gives a little history in to the phrase “I ain’t EVAH gonna stop!”:
“It’s taken me a long time to grow up… I’m stubborn what can I say? I met the girl of my dreams back in 2003 and we’re just now getting married! I have to say though that the engagement was what really started me turning around. I looked at the photos of us getting engaged and I was/am truly happy, but I looked at what I looked like and I was a lot bigger than I really thought I was. Add on to this thought in my head that I was now going to get MARRIED… and down the road have KIDS… One of the first thoughts that came to my mind in this path was that my Dad almost went in to a diabetic coma when I was 19 years old and a high school friend of mine had lost his mother in a similar fashion… truly a scary thought. I thought about the people and family I knew that had waited to make a lifestyle change and already were suffering from things that made their life more difficult. I knew I needed to do something, but I didn’t know how.
I had been fired from my “dream job” at the time and was moving around from call center to call center since that was the only job I had really known. I bought myself a pair of the sketcher “shape up” shoes and I would go walking every day and would try to walk 1-2 miles. I was seeing some progress but not a lot. At the wrestling show we got engaged at, a friend had mentioned that he thought me working for Taco Bell would have been a good fit for me since it would get me back in to management. I finally had a way “in” to making the changes that I felt I needed in my life. No longer would I work a job that required me to sit on my butt in front of a computer for 8-10 hours a day, but I would work a job where I would have to be on my feet for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I would be so busy at this job that I wouldn’t have time to eat all the time so I would have to learn how to eat better to have sustainable energy throughout the day. With this major change, I started to lose weight faster! but I was still experiencing some plateaus, but more importantly… all the progress I was making on myself physically wasn’t going to mean anything because of all the progress I was losing on myself mentally.
I took an opportunity to move from fast-food to casual-dining by switching to Bob Evans Restaurants. I would still be putting in the same amount of hours and work, but I was going to have an opportunity to be closer to home for work, the restaurant closes earlier so I would not be out until 4 or 5 in the morning, and I would be in a totally different environment where I would feel more comfortable in starting a family. Right around this same time, Michelle got us a gym membership so I would have a chance to push myself in a way that I hadn’t pushed myself yet. I became very focused and dedicated to going to the gym every day and trying new things. I would lift weights, run, and do cardio… weight continued to melt away…
There were plenty of times when I would plateau on my weight loss… and it would be very difficult for me. Why was my body trying to keep me from the goal I was trying to reach? Didn’t it understand that I was doing this to make it better? So instead of giving up, I pushed myself harder. I made the choice to keep pushing forward… as I was quoted in an online community… “I ain’t evah gonna stop!” was becoming my motto and my quote. It was becoming my lifestyle change… no no no.. by this point it was my lifestyle change. It was my way of condensing what I was doing in my life in to one statement and it was something that I could apply to every aspect of my life.
“I ain’t evah gonna stop” can apply to anything… it’s a battle cry in a way. Stare at your problems, your demons, and your villains and tell them that you’re not going to stop fighting them and that you are in it for the long haul. That’s what I did with my weight. I told my weight that I was not going to stop… and that my weight was not going to control my life or decide my future for me like it had others in my family. I knew that I had a very difficult uphill battle, because I was (still am) battling genetics… but I haven’t stopped.. I never will stop.. I ain’t EVAH gonna stop!”
This story has grown since I wrote it. One of the family members I start to mention in that above story is my dear Uncle Bo. He was diabetic and lost both of his legs due to it because he did not take care of his health. He passed away right before Christmas this past year and I’ve taken it pretty hard… I know it may sound strange but every time I get on a treadmill and I run.. not only am I amazed that I am running as fast as I am, but I think that I am going to continue to do this while I have legs to do the work with. I know it’s morbid, but it’s a way that I remain thankful for the things I have: two working legs. It’s part of my answer to the question “why”.. to change my potential future… but it’s not the full answer… I had to keep researching.
In researching this topic, I came across a short story on a fitness page on facebook and felt it was appropriate to share here:
‘I’m probably the most fatty looking guy of the whole gym and I don’t feel a goddamn thing when people give me this judgmental look.
You know why?
Because the body they see isn’t mine anymore.
It belongs to who I was.
I’m here, every day, to craft & earn the body that represents who I am TODAY…’
Those are some powerful words and they relate to something I said the other day regarding how I’m continuing to go to the gym. Yes, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, but why stop there? I know that in my mind and soul I am stronger and I look how a hero should look, so that’s what I’ll continue to do. I will craft & earn the body that represents who I am on the inside.. but is that my “why” answer?
Yes and no, there’s so much more to it.
I placed a quote from a Superman comic at the beginning of this that related to my answer to “why”. I realize that with my weight loss “Battle” that since I come from a family that has been “large” that I am battling genetics with this. It’s going to be tough, but part of my answer to “why” is that I want to prove it can be done. “to push back against the darkness… just a little”. Maybe if I can prove that it can be done, that others in my family will notice it and it will inspire them to make some lifestyle changes as well.
Or if family members don’t see the message, what about you? I’m pretty confident that there is less than 5 people that read this blog, but what if there is something that is bothering you? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… if this blog helps just ONE person, then it’ll all be worth it. If you’re reading this and you don’t have a weight problem, is there something else that is bothering you? I mean think about it, if I can face this.. this.. “possibly impossible challenge” shouldn’t you be able to do the same? Whatever villain is bringing you done, now is the time to stand up… put on your cape… and DEFEAT THE VILLAIN.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that in a complex way.
Why am I trying to lose weight? Because I’ve seen through my own family what can happen if I do not take care of myself now and put it off for another time.
Why am I trying to lose weight? So that I can look on the outside how I feel on the inside.
Why am I trying to lose weight? To defeat the villain and to inspire others to defeat their own villains.
But honestly the simplest answer to the most difficult question?
Isaac, why are you pushing yourself so hard to lose weight?
Why do I push myself so hard?
Because I AIN’T EVAH GONNA STOP!