The journey I had to find happiness through health was a roller coaster. Words almost cannot explain the struggle, hardships, obstacles, and misery I felt. But the same could be said about the reward, relief, and joy I felt when it was all over. To begin the story, however, we must rewind time all the way to my pre-teen years.
Growing up was one of the hardest things to do. For most people, this is the case. Most people struggle with relationships, their circle of friends, sports, etc. I struggled with obesity. At a very young age, my parents got divorced, and as a result, I found comfort in food. This was a huge mistake looking back on it. Every time that I would feel sad, lonely, or confused, I would just eat my problems away. It worked. The consequences were horrible.
I gained dozens upon dozens of pounds every year up until my thirteen-year-old physical exam. At that point, the doctor weighed me in at one hundred and eighty-five pounds, which was about thirty pounds overweight for my age. In prior physicals, I would see weight gain, but tell myself that it wasn’t a problem, which was mistake number two on my way to true obesity and unhappiness.
What the doctor told me that day changed my life forever. I’ll never forget the words that came out of her mouth that day. She said, “Tyler, if you gain any more weight by the time that you are fourteen, we will have to test you for diabetes.”
Diabetes. That word cut through my brain like a knife. Almost all of my family has a history of being diabetic. Me being obese would have greatened my chances of having it for sure. That day all of my mistakes hit me square in the face. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My initial reaction was to cry, but then I thought to myself, “Only the weak cry”. So I kept my head up, went home, and thought. For a long time, I thought that there was nothing I could do, and that my fate had already been decided for me. So I kept that attitude for a week or two, expecting the worst.
Then, something new came into my life: P90X. I found P90X with the help of my dad and step-mom, and grew a strong liking to it very quickly. I committed myself to it, which was scary at first. I had never fully committed myself to anything before, so this was something new to me. I think the reason I stuck with it is because I saw results. The first week, I lost six pounds, and I thought that the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders. My dad then told me that my journey was far from over, and I snapped back into reality. I knew I had leaps and bounds to go, so I kept on going. It was going to be a challenge.
The next thing to tackle was my eating problem. My biggest problem was probably overeating. Not only would I take a huge serving of food, but also I would have seconds, and THEN I would eat off of OTHER PEOPLES PLATES! That was something that I had to stop. But how could I do that? Will power was obviously something that I lacked. So I took it to the extreme. My step-mom had been a vegetarian for about a year before I began my transformation, so I thought to myself that if I became a vegetarian, then I definitely wouldn’t be taking huge portions of meaty foods, let alone eat off of other peoples plates.
This was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I had to begin liking vegetables, for starters. Once I did that, I had to find a source of protein so that I wouldn’t turn into bones and skin. I found some types of fish to be appealing, and that was my dinner through my transformation. My entire diet consisted of eggs in the morning, almonds, tuna wraps, hummus, shrimp, tilapia, and steamed vegetables. Such a drastic diet change was hard at first, but once I learned how to eat properly, it just became a part of my lifestyle.
Over the course of the next year of hard exercise and healthy eating, I managed to lose a total of thirty pounds! My doctors were amazed, and they told me that I was the only teen who had ever surprised them the way that I did. I cannot begin to explain the feeling of joy that I felt on that day. I felt as if I could tackle anything… that was the setup for my next problem.
Because I felt as if I could tackle anything, I also felt that I didn’t have to work out the way that I did while I was losing the weight. I still played sports and did recreational activities, but I did not do anywhere close to the amount of working out that I did when I lost my thirty pounds. Everyone says its easier to fall off the horse than it is to get on it, and I found that to be one hundred percent true.
Along with my lack of exercise, my eating habits slowly changed once again. I still am a vegetarian, but I began caring less and less as to what meatless foods I consumed. My diet was way too lenient, and over the course of three years, I managed to put back on about eighteen to twenty pounds.
Up until this point in time, I didn’t realize it. I thought I was okay. But now I realize that I’m very close to square one. I don’t want to go back to square one. So I decided to rejoin indoor track. I joined indoor track with the sole purpose of exercising again and getting back into the shape I was once in. Even though I am doing that now, I feel like I have something to prove. My abilities are going unnoticed, and I feel like it’s time to expose them. I don’t want to be mediocre; I want to be good. No, I want to be great.
If there is one thing I’ve learned about myself, and about life, through this journey, it’s that life is seventy-five percent mental, and twenty-five percent physical. You can’t, and you won’t, change if you don’t believe that you can. If I were to travel back in time to tell my twelve-year-old self that I could lose thirty pounds and change my life, that kid would have laughed and joked about it. Hell, that kid was on the verge of suicide… Once I learned that I could make a change, the rest came naturally. When you have the right mindset, anything is possible. Never forget that.
So my message to anyone reading this is that you are in control of your own fate, and you can do whatever you set your mind to. If a kid like me, so close to ending it all, can turn his life around in a year’s time, why can’t you? Think about it, that’s 75% of the battle.
Submitted by Anonymous
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