Guest Blogger: Timothe Davis
I was an unhealthy kid and, for a time, an unhealthy adult because I was overweight. I say the statement with a bit of trepidation because I have no interest in fat-shaming. Just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean that you’re unhealthy, and just because you're slim doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I recognize that completely. In this moment, I speak my truth: I was overweight – fat – and I was unhealthy. All the while, two camps surrounded me most prominently. One camp (of friends and family) seemed to take great satisfaction in reminding me that I was obese every time I ate anything. The second camp assured me that I just needed to drop ten pounds and I’d be okay. Both camps were trying to help in their own way, but neither approach was effective. I needed to eat, and reminding me of my weight every time I picked up some food didn’t help. And I needed to lose far more than 10 lbs. I needed to lose closer to 80lbs. I’m sure all parties were trying to help in their own way. But in the end, the road to weight loss was not someone else’s lesson to teach; it was mine to learn. (As is the case in many of life’s lessons.)
Oddly enough, my inspiration came at the hand of rejection. More accurately, hands. Six of them. Three women. Three rejections. (Who said women aren’t visual?)
Shy overweight and not super-comfortable with approaching the fairer-sex, over the course of 12 months every one of my overtures were turned down with the simple stark succinct words: “You’re nice but …” After the third decline I entertained the fact that it might be me. I was sloppy, not in good shape, and worse, I was having constant stomach problems. Poor food choices and a lack of exercise were not my friends. And yet, I had been acting like they were. Eating when I was bored, when I was discouraged when I was happy.
I won’t bore you with the epiphanies, revelations, and soul-searching that come with making a life-change and sticking with it. But to make a long story longer, I began to walk. And walking slowly became running. Running turned into the gym and all the while I made changes to my diet I could keep: no more fast food, no beef, no soda, etc. Slowly I moved from 255 to 175, a healthier me, a more fit me, and a more confident me.
That was ten years ago. I still get turned down on dates. But it’s cool, it’s not nearly as frequent, and rejection makes us stronger. (At least I keep telling myself that.) I’m probably not quite as confident with the ladies as I might have been if I had been fit at 15 instead of waiting until I was 30. But I am certainly a much better version of me. I do have to be cautious, though. I mean, I still love food. That hasn’t changed. My weight will swing 10lbs if I’m not attentive to it. And in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of beauty, even for us guys, it’s easy to get body-issues.
Perhaps the biggest lesson for me has been to seek kindness and be kind. Kindness isn’t telling your friend that he only needs to lose 10lbs when he needs to lose 100, and it’s also not blasting him when he grabs a sandwich – everyone needs to eat. It’s supporting him (or her) on the journey. And it’s being kind to your body, keeping it healthy, doing things that nourish it emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s being vulnerable to say, “I don’t like myself like this (if that’s your truth)” and then taking proactive steps to change whatever it is – your weight, your temper, your drinking. It’s knowing that there may be slipups along the way but that shouldn’t discourage us from working toward your goal. It’s knowing that you bring value and not wanting that value to be hidden.
So dream your dream. Be kind. Be benevolent. Be good to your heart. And if you’ve subscribed to this blog: Be fit.