“Have you ever had one of those moments when people you have known for a long time, completely fail to recognise you?”
I was recently chatting to a group of people, when one of my oldest friends came up behind me and said “You know, I just had to ask someone who the new guy was because I totally didn’t recognise you.” Under a different set of circumstances this comment could have hurt my feelings, but not on this occasion!! In fact, I was left feeling on top of the world that he didn’t recognise me. You see, it meant that all the hard work was beginning to pay off.
In September 2015 I embarked on a brand new adventure called ‘Living a healthy lifestyle’. Now I know to some people that doesn’t mean much. You probably already exercise four times a day and eat nothing but pea-shoots and quinoa, but for me this was huge. I use the word HUGE purposefully at this point because that’s what I was. I was HUGE.
“Weighing in at over 23 stone at my heaviest, I was miserable! Not only that but I was making life for people around me pretty miserable too.”
Back in 2005, I was diagnosed with a life controlling and debilitating Autoimmune disease. This condition quickly took over my life and in the years after diagnosis, continued to get worse.
- Skin lesions
- Constant chronic pain
- Disabling fatigue …. where just a few of the symptoms I faced on a daily basis!
Eventually my Doctors were able to find some level of control over the condition through various and multiple medications. Although not completely stopping all symptoms, the drugs allowed me to live a more normal life than the one I had been living.
There was a down side however. Part of the medication regime included the use of high dosage steroids which, inevitably brought on a dramatic weight increase as a side effect. Added to this, the lack of mobility I suffered as yet another symptom, only added to my weight increasing further.
Now at this point it would be easy for me to feel sorry for myself and apportion blame for the situation that I found myself in, and I have to point out, for many years, that’s what I did. It is only now, as I reflect back on what changed that I realise that I had been living with a significant deficiency. This wasn’t a deficiency in my body, although that lacked many things.
“You see, the thing that was missing in my life was discipline.”
I dislike that word. It evokes memories of being wacked across the bottom with a ruler by my primary school headmistress. It is however the correct word for what I was lacking. One dictionary describes discipline as ‘Correction in an attempt to improve behaviour, using training or rules.’ That for me describes perfectly what I needed.
I understood that I had to correct my behaviour in order to improve my life, and to do that, I needed to make some consistent and dramatic life changes. I began to see things differently. I saw that even though I knew I would put on weight if I so much as looked at a tic-tac, I had continued to eat what I wanted, when I wanted.
I saw that even though I had been told many times by my Doctors that appropriate and achievable exercise was good for me, I continued to become more sedentary, fearful of making things worse. And I knew that even though after years of caring for me and putting up with me at my absolute worst, I was not being the best husband and father I could to my wife and son. It was time for a change, it was time for some discipline.
Turning up at the gym for the first time wasn’t too hard, going back the next day was! Eating an apple instead of a dairy milk for the first time wasn’t hard, a week later it was! As time went by though and I continued to show up consistently, I began to see changes. Not just in my weight but in my relationships and in my general happiness and love for life. Now, five stone lighter than at my heaviest, healthier than ever, and with a new and positive outlook for the future, Life has never looked better and neither have I.
“Being unrecognisable is great, it encourages me about how far I have come and inspires me to keep going.”
Eating healthy and exercising has been a huge part in the process of my body transformation but I now recognise that discipline was the building block of a happier, healthier, and more wholesome life.
Much Love & Stay Healthy
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