Self Respect

On occasion I’ll have enough breathing room to spend some time reviewing my life as it currently stands. It’s amazing how busy we can get with our day-to-day that we leave little room for ourselves, little room to ask some of the hard and probing questions that make the biggest of differences.

This past week I had one of those rare moments where I observed all my activities and I wondered if I had gotten it all wrong – if at some point I traded significance for success alone. I wondered what had happened to some of my goals that I had originally had for this year only to discover that many of them have been completely abandoned or ignored.

I found myself looking in the mirror and nearly yelling aloud “Holy shit John… we’re half-way through 2013. What the hell happened…?!” The feeling of self-loathing and disrespect crept out of the corner of my mirror and polluted the view without even asking permission.

One area that I have been incredibly weak-willed is in the area of my health. I’ve blogged about it on and off again over the past few years. I’ve tried a ton of different programs. I even made it nearly through the entire P90X thing – I made it through the 11th week of 13 and quit because I went on two back-to-back vacation trips. Sad story.

But as I reviewed my weight-gain over the past 6 months of 2013 I realized that I had lost a lot of self-respect. The problem is that I “wear my weight well”; in other words, it doesn’t look like I have some weight challenges but I do. I feel it sag on my bones and I feel heavy and gross when I sit down to work. That’s the worst part. I hate feeling like I’ve let myself go.

In 2009 I had ballooned to 193 pounds, the heaviest I’ve ever been. I remember that week I had 1,000+ calorie potato soup from Panera Bread 3 days in a row. I love that crap. I weighed myself and there was no surprise – you could see the weight on my face, literally.

I lost a little bit of it over the past few years but I could never break below 180, where I really should be. The last few months with the pressing challenges of growing a startup and then adding another crazy project has not been very good to my body. I’ve been fast-approaching my old weight record and I felt it, every single day as I crawled out of bed.

Last week, after looking myself up and down I realized that the last bit of self-respect I had for my physical condition was gone. I had to do something about it. This time, would be different. I decided to get help. I recruited a real health coach, had complete and 100% buy-in from my spouse, and even asked my 2 daughters to help me. I told my partners and asked them to give me encouragement, and then I began. I started.

I’m 4 days in and I’m on a major detox. I haven’t touched sugars, starches, or even consumed a single carb. I quit cold turkey. I even stopped adding cream and sugar to my coffee. I’ve had limited fruits and no dairy. The first 24 hours were spent in my bed in the fetal position. My body was telling me that I was truly insane and that I needed to come back to the real world of yummy french fries and chips.

This wasn’t and isn’t about weight loss though. This is about gaining back some fucking self-respect. Oh, and yeah, I was told by my doctors late last year that if I don’t fix my diet that I’ll probably die young – can’t forget that. It’s part of the reason I was in the ER back to back to back.

It’s also about my family. I swore when I got married and started having kids that I wouldn’t be that dad that couldn’t pace with his children, that I’d model healthy living through eating and exercise. I’ve failed at both. How could I really train my daughter when I can barely survive an hour workout with her?

So God help me, I’m going to try my very best to complete this 6-month program that I’m working through so that I can give myself the very best 31st birthday gift that I could ever give myself – another 30 years.

Photo Credit: hjl

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