It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for me; I was met with some very confronting news recently that shook my world. Life threw another hurdle my way…which turned out to be a huge test to my resolve, and also led to some new discoveries about myself. As many of you know, I’ve lost 4 family members in the last few years; my uncle and father to cancer, my mother to a stroke and my cousin to a heart attack. All of them died from obesity related, and oftentimes avoidable illnesses. I saw myself heading towards this very path; so I had to stop and realize that something had to change. I had to stop killing myself; I had to start living a healthier lifestyle; I had to break the cycle. And then RBT came into my life…
I had written at the time:
So many people around me have tried to say something, but I got so defensive, said I’m not ready, that I wasn’t in the right head space. How could I be when I was in a food coma? I thought about it a lot but I was shit scared to do it. I was scared to hope again, to fail, to slip back into old habits like so many times before. It was easier to grab a bag of chips, a pie, some butter laden toast and slip into my fat high…then be so tired and lazy that I’d sleep – only to wake again and like a druggy, to get my next hit. What was I thinking? Crap food became my best friend…my lover. But I just didn’t realise that I was like an abused spouse, I just kept going back for more- even though I knew it would hurt me, even though I knew I could die…chasing that good time feeling to numb the pain. But then the guilt and negativity would set in – Why did I do it? I’m such a loser! I’m so a weak! I can’t move! Oh well, I’m so big now, another chocolate won’t make a difference! And the bigger I got – the more into the coma I slipped. I feel sad; sad for what I have done to my body…sad, for what I have stolen from my friends and my family…sad, for all the life experiences that I have cheated myself of…sad, for the time lost that I cannot get back…sad, that the same diseases that killed my parents…will eventually kill me.
No one can prepare you for the death of a family member – it is truly heart-breaking and you are left with a constant and lingering pain & longing. So when I found out recently that my only brother was seriously ill, the rug was pulled right out from under me – a sense of chaos, urgency, and panic overwhelmed me – I just didn’t know what the future held and the thought of losing him absolutely terrified me. I found myself wavering between hoping for the best, and yet fearing the worst. I had to find the strength to work through a barrage of feelings, thoughts, and fears – and relive my parent’s deaths. The timing could not have been worse as he was admitted into hospital only 2 days before our mother’s 2 year memorial, and Father’s day. Even more confronting was the realization that I had to accept that my brother is not invincible. He has always played the role of the strong male leader in our family; the caretaker, so it was particularly difficult to see him in such a weak and vulnerable state. When someone in the family gets seriously ill, they might be the one infected, but the entire family is affected.
I could only cope with this new reality in doses, and I tried to not get overwhelmed and lose sight of my own well being during this difficult time. It was actually a good test for me…in the past I would have consoled myself with a pack of Crispy Cremes, a bucket of KFC and copious amounts of soft drink and alcohol. But I didn’t. As tempted as I was to go back to this old behaviour, I realised that it wasn’t going to make me feel better – well not for more than 5 minutes – and it did not have the power or ability to change the situation or lessen the blow. Instead I tried other ways of coping – spending time with my family, talking to my partner, writing things down, going for a walk, talking to/messaging friends, or resting. And guess what? I survived. I stayed in control, and didn’t go into meltdown. It proved to me that I have learned a lot in the last 5 months; that I have changed the way I cope with stress; that I am strong enough to deal with situations that come my way; that I can stick to my resolve. And in doing so I am able to set a good example for my friends, my family and those who look to me for inspiration.
Thankfully my brother has been treated, and is on his own journey to a full recovery. It has been a cathartic and eye-opening experience for all of us. We are all more determined than ever to look after our health, and increase our longevity and happiness.
Since I have been on my journey, I have now lost a total of 38 kilos! In losing this weight, I have gained a whole lot more friends, confidence, strength, personal insight, knowledge and positivity. When I started, the aim was to save my life; now my aim is to constantly improve it, to challenge myself, to overcome the hurdles that come my way – and in doing so, inspire others to break free of whatever weighs them down.
As with everything in life, you get back what you put in. I continue to dedicate myself to my own cause, and am reaping the rewards. I am actually so proud of the commitment, achievement and strength I have shown so far! I didn’t like myself very much 5 months ago, but I’m starting to recognise and believe that I am so much more than what I thought I was. I have so much to give myself, and those around me! I reached out for help, and I got it in spades…all you have to do is ask.
So, if your gym, or life, or job, or relationships are not giving you what you want – it’s up to YOU to change them! One thing that has dawned on me during my journey is that you can whine, feel sorry for yourself, whinge, give up and play the victim until you are blue in the face, but if you don’t DO something to change it…it never will! Ask for help, take the leap, do something different – you just might surprise yourself!
I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite quotes:
‘Surround yourself with the dreamers, and the doers, the believers and the thinkers. But most of all surround yourself with those that see the greatness in YOU – even when you don’t see it yourself’…
‘Maybe then, the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that really isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place…’
I’m breaking free kids, so can you!
If you know of someone that needs their life changed as emphatically as Maria’s has, then why not provide us with their details below. Tell them to expect a call, a call that can change their life for the better.