Having spent an ample amount of time at the gym over the past year and approximately 3 or 4 months I have had the opportunity to see lots of people come and go. I have seen really incredibly dedicated, focused individuals. I have seen flash in the pan people. I have seen some amazing transformations and I have seen people disappear. Such is the story of any gym. It’s kind of cool to get a small glimpse into the life of someone else struggling with their own journey. There is one gym member in particular who I’ve had the opportunity to get to know over the past year. He started out in the over 400 some pound range and has lost over 200 pounds. This is the first time he’s ever lost weight. I have had a few in depth conversations with him about the process and more than anything the mental toll it takes on someone. I am very happy for him, but honestly, more than anything I find myself scared and cringing a lot because I see so much of me in his process.
He is obsessive. He has dedicated his life a 1000 percent to this. This is the ONE and ONLY thing he does. He is 37 years old, single, child-less and doesn’t really have a lot of other stuff going for him. He admits he has suffered from severe depression most of his life. I worry about him all the time. I see him daily at the gym. No one is there more than him, but honestly it’s scary because he hangs out there because he has nothing else to go home to. I worry that once the excitement and the accolades wear off he hasn’t really changed anything on the inside. There is nothing I can do, he has to live it. But it’s clear to me in talking to him that he hasn’t really addressed any of the issues on the inside or changed anything. He is substituting obsessions left and right. It breaks my heart. I worry that one day he will find himself right back to where he once was because unless you really can figure out your inner self, the outer has little hope. And we all know there is nothing easy about this process.
It has taken me 10 years to finally learn to love myself. It has taken 10 years to accept myself as I am. It has been a long and difficult journey to understand that beauty comes from within and that everything on the outside is highly irrelevant. Sure it’s fun to get dressed up and play and feel physically beautiful for a day. I am a girly girl and don’t mind admitting that I do care what I look like. But I also realize this is all about vanity and not at all what my life is about. It’s about those awesome moments where I am running and spending those precious before and after sessions with my husband who I feel so incredibly close to as a result. It’s about snuggling and hugging my precious niece and nephew and sharing as many awesome experiences with them as possible. It’s about sitting on the couch with my dogs and seeing complete unconditional love in their eyes. It’s about Christmas morning around the tree with the people who matter most to me in the world. These are the things that make life valuable and determine your self-worth. Not a single one of them have to do with what I look like.
These are the lessons that I have had to learn the hard way, over the past 10 years, in my forever struggle to figure this shit out. I have discovered that I am happier and all around a better version of myself when I am active and working out and eating well. This is about general life health and wellbeing. Quality of life.
Last night while in the gym, seeing this guy work out in the distance, talking to my mom, I had a moment of gratitude for exactly where I am right now. My mom was like, sometimes I feel like I should be farther along than I am, it’s been almost two years since I’ve been doing this she said. (Mom started the beginning of October, the same time I did 2 years ago) and then she was like, and then, she was like I just have to stop myself and go, no, I am happy with where I am. It’s a long process and in two years I have not gone backwards, I keep moving forward and so what? So what if I only ever lose another 5 pounds. I am a size 14 now instead of a size 22.
And I stopped and thought for a moment. Here I am, 2 years later, and while I may fluctuate 15 pounds give or take, in 2 years of my life, for the first time ever in my life, I have been able to maintain this healthy lifestyle. It’s not always perfect or easy, but consistently for 2 years I have exercised and tried to do good for body, mind and spirit. And you know what, this last year has single handedly been the happiest year of my entire life. I don’t think this is coincidental. I am strong. I am physically stronger than I have ever been at any point in my life. I am mentally stronger to as a result. I am so grateful that I have endured the last 10 years to get me to this exact moment, this exact place in my life where I am this comfortable in my own skin.
And proud. I am proud that 2 years later I still care. I still care a very great deal about myself to make good decisions for myself. Proud that this truly has become the life I want to live. Simply proud of the things I am capable of today. I am going to celebrate my 2 year anniversary in San Jose with a big smile on my face, because I survived. I survived 2 years of living this life, with all the ups and downs and I managed to come out the other side, 2 years later, still happy and healthy and strong. I have never lasted 2 years. But I have also never felt this sure of myself or at peace with my inside. This is the sign of real growth and change. Life is not perfect, but its mine. I am just simply grateful to be exactly where I am today.