For as long as I can remember, I have been a numbers guy. I get more than a little excited at the mention of the words statistics, econometrics, and yes, even tax preparation. This is one way in which you could say I’m different. That is to say, I am a nerd.
One number I’ve never gotten excited about, however, is my weight. I typically get zero enjoyment from stepping on the scale and waiting for that number to display. Harrowing is perhaps the best word for those seconds spent waiting as your mind splits between the desire for a good number and the desire for chocolate cake. This is one way in which I suppose I’m just like most of you. That is to say, I am human.
We humans are confused creatures. We want to eat our cake (and our neighbor’s cake) and enjoy good health too. We have become skilled at grossly underestimating the long term, negative effects of our dietary and lifestyle decisions. This is my story, and maybe yours.
In addition to having always been a numbers kid, I have also been a sweet tea drinking, snack cake eating kid. I grew up to become a sweet tea drinking, snack cake eating, drive-thru visiting, sofa-sitting adult. I tried various diets and worked out some, but never did anything consistently, except put on the weight.
Since 2002, I’ve struggled with bouts of cellulitis. It usually happens about four times a year, and has happened so much that, combined with the all of this excess weight, I’ve developed lymphedema in my legs. In May of this year, while recovering from another round, I gave some serious thought to what I had done to my body and about the very, real prospects of not being alive to grow old with my wife and to see my children grow up.
I must have been on a sugar high when I worked up the nerve to visit Daniel and Ryan at CrossFit Training Valley. I was sure I had no business in a place like that, and secretly hoped they would encourage me to try something else. My experience was quite the opposite. They were both very confident that they could help me get on the right track, provided I was willing to put in the work. They, along with the entire CFTV community, have been incredibly welcoming and supportive.
When I first started in June, the number on the scale was nothing to be proud of. At my highest weight I was 517 pounds. Putting that number out there has only been possible because I am learning to be proud of the progress I’ve made since then. At the beginning of August, I weighed in at 499 pounds. For this first time, I am proud of that number. I’m proud of the hard work and good decisions it represents. I’m proud of the direction I’m heading in.
I’m just getting started and have a long way to go, but that is my small success for now. I’m learning to enjoy the process. The decision to eat better and work harder are decisions that have to be made each and every day. In the past two months, I haven’t always felt like going to the gym, but I did it anyway. I haven’t always felt like making the right decisions about what to put on my plate, but I did it anyway.
No matter where you’re at on that spectrum of health and fitness and no matter how proud you are of the number on the scale, chances are there is room for improvement. But that improvement can only start when you decide to make it happen. Make it happen today. Start small if you have to, but start today.
Check in next week for a glimpse into my first few experiences working out with Ryan at CrossFit Training Valley.