Thursday, July 16, 2009

Food For Thought

From: Epiphanies on Weight Loss

Select quotations (blockquotes omitted for readability):

The more self-examination I did, the more I realized that being overweight wasn't my problem at all. Being overweight was a symptom of my real problem - apathy. I seemed to be content to allow the world to just pass me by without getting into it, or getting anything out of it.

I believed that not liking roller coasters was my preference - my own choice. In truth, other choices I had made were the ones that ultimately influenced my preferences.

I think if I choose to like different things, maybe I will like different things. Maybe I can have the life I choose to live instead of one where things sort of just happen.

Something about how writing it down makes it even more true.

1) If you don't choose to live your life a certain way, you will live it anyway, but not on your own terms.

I realized that I am a product of the choices I have made. I turned out exactly the way I was supposed to be. Eating isn't the thing that made me fat. My whole life was what made me fat. More importantly, I haven't been victimized by my choices. My life is simply cause and effect. If I want different output, I need different input. Plain and simple.

3) Don't wait for a certain set of circumstances to become the person that you want. Become who you want to be now, and let circumstances change afterward.

4) You can enjoy whatever you choose to enjoy.

So, if I can learn to love beer and cigarettes, surely I could learn to love walking/jogging/biking/etc. I can't really explain it other than saying, I just told myself to enjoy these activities, and somehow it worked. Now, I get up every morning before work and do a two mile walk or jog. In the evenings I do 10 miles on the bike, or another walk or jog. I can't explain why I enjoy it, other than this is what I have chosen.

5) Don't look find reasons to not be fat. Find reasons to be thin. Positive reinforcement is the only way to really achieve any personal goal.

I decided however, that I wanted my life to be very different from how it was in the past. I wanted to teach myself to enjoy new things. I wanted to be open to experiences I haven't had, and to enjoy things I didn't know I might enjoy. And this became my motivation.

6) Live the change you want to be.

This particular epiphany yielded a startling result. I no longer missed the things from my former life. Sure, I'd like to have a slice of pizza, but I don't miss it. I don't crave it. I remember having fun playing computer games like World of Warcraft, but it just holds no appeal for me anymore. These desires and interests leaving me didn't happen slowly like I expected. It was kind of sudden. I used to eat several thousand calories a day, now I don't. I used to spend 15 to 20 hours a week with computer games, and now it's pretty much zero. I'm not really better or worse for any of it either - just different. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating an entire large pizza, drinking a sixer of beer, and playing World of Warcraft until four in the morning, I just don't have the desire to do that anymore.

7) Weight loss isn't the problem, it is a symptom of a different problem.

So I started to wonder. What does weight loss have to do with making my bed every day? The answer is "nothing". So what is the bed making about then? I realized that the reason I was doing it is that I had cultivated a new sort of personal discipline. I wanted my life to be different, and it was. In fact, the weight loss isn't the thing that has opened things up for me. It's all of the other epiphanies. The weight loss is only one benefit of the lifestyle changes I have made. Self-discipline is another. All of the good things happening in my life are under a bigger umbrella than I even realized I had raised. The desire to be different hadn't just changed the things I expected it to change for the better. It had changed a lot of other things for the better, too.


I think people only need to realize this: You are whatever you have made yourself to be. If you're happy with the result, then don't go changing for anyone. But if you aren't, you are the only one who can change your life. May as well start right this second.

When I tell people about my weight loss, they always want to know what program I did, and I always tell them. But I'm now believing that the program I'm on matters very little. It is just one of many possible successful paths. It was the decision to change and the desire to put that plan in motion that was most important of all.