Today is Part One in a series I’m entitling-Honoring the Vessel. I’ll be interviewing individuals over the course of 2016 who have taken back control of their health, but I wanted to start the series just before the New Year with a timely, high-impact story.
Meet Eric. In 2011, Eric weighed over 100 pounds more than he does today. He was tired of being lonely, knew this weight might affect job opportunities, and felt embarrassed to talk to family about his health problem. He didn’t like looking at himself in the mirror and had a hard time finding clothes in his size. He kept telling himself, “One day I’ll make a change,” but it wasn’t until he saw his grandfather one Christmas that he decided *One Day* needed to be soon. As he explains it, something just clicked for him.
Eric’s *One Day* was December 26, 2011. He knew he would be waking up and making changes. Eric began eating less, eliminating all beverages but water, and logging miles on the treadmill. He took on the incredibly brave learn-as-you-go approach and taught himself loads of information about how many calories his body needed, why sugar was hurting him, and increasing the difficulty of exercise as his body began to change. He lost a staggering amount of weight within the first month, proving to himself that he was determined to make this change a lasting one.
Of course Eric couldn’t have walked this journey alone. He recalls the consistent support of a knowledgeable friend who reminded him that for every small sacrifice or difficult task he was performing for his health, Eric was adding years onto his life. Eric also had the support of his family members, who began to make healthy changes at the same time as him. The process was far from easy, however.
I asked Eric about the biggest obstacles he had to overcome. He told me about how he would mindlessly begin driving to the same fast food restaurants to get the food he had craved and eaten for so many years. This was a serious habit that took conscious effort to break. He also had to make the all-important realization that weight loss (or achieving any health goal, for that matter) requires time management. He was not used to scheduling workouts into his routine. Possibly the most important discovery he made on this journey, though, was that his body is unique. There is no “normal” diet and when he gets into the mindset of eating like a “normal” person, consuming what our culture deems a “normal diet”, he will not be able to maintain weight, but will rather gain.
Eric is a changed man without a doubt. Thriving with exciting opportunities and relationships, he really seems to know greater freedom than he did when he struggled with obesity. I was so pleased to see that Eric is now in a place of getting to work toward more advanced health goals. This led me to my last question for him: “What’s next for you in health?”, to which Eric answered that he plans to better manage his nutrients and portion control in the coming year, as well as strengthening his body with more cardio in his workout routine. It was encouraging to see someone who has tasted good health own up to the fact that it takes constant effort to maintain it.
So here’s to you, Eric. Four years ago today, you took your health into your own hands and made changes that allowed you to embody the reality of health: that it’s about more than being the perfect body weight. It’s about feeling good in the body you were given and honoring that vessel. I give you my (virtual) standing ovation! May God bless you in 2016 with another satisfying year as you continue to encourage others who need to make this change by living such an exemplary life.