A Boost When I Needed It

I’ve been a bit melancholy the last week or so, as I’ve found myself back in the pattern of weekend gorging and sullen Mondays of recommitment to a diet I don’t feel like being married to anymore.

My weight has plateaued at 136, a frustrating turn of events from the solid 133-134 I was holding just a few days back.

I’ve been cheating daily on the Paleo diet with Chobani yogurts (which really shouldn’t be called a “cheat,” as it’s nonfat and packed with protein) and I have a feeling this is a primary cause of my stalled progress in the weight department.

Amazingly, I’ve kept moderate control and haven’t thrown my hands up, severely binged, and then committed the unforgivable purge that I’m quick to resort to at emotional lows. I’m crestfallen, but not beaten. I can break through this slump. Right?

Today, I was given a boost that I think may be the positive encouragement I needed to crush this funk; and no, it wasn’t a compliment on my size.

Today, I attended an interdepartmental meeting featuring colleagues and leadership I only see a few times per year. Given my own weight loss successes of the last year (I’m down about 20 lbs from the same date in 2012), several people approached me to compliment me or poke fun that I’m “wasting away” and should eat some of the cupcakes I’m notorious for baking.

After niceties were exchanged and the meeting (of over 150 people) commenced, I set to focus on taking notes and absorbing information. And boy, it was a lot of information. My head’s still hurting.

During a break, a Director from another Department, whom I’m on first-name terms with but I still consider an authority figure, approached me. I couldn’t help but notice that he had lost weight (20, 30 pounds?) and that he looked great.

I was just about to open my mouth to compliment him when he leaned down and asked, “Tori, may I share a quick story with you?”

“Of course, Tim,” I offered, “please do.”

He knelt down next to me and my brain quickly ran through possible scenarios of things I might have done wrong (or right) that could have impacted his Department. Needless to say, I was both a little confused… and curious.

“Over 30 years ago, my father died at the age of 56. While he had other health issues, the cause of his death was pretty much attributed to his weight,” he started.

I sat and listened, unsure of where this was going. Was I about to be lectured on losing too much weight by a Department Head? That I was still too big and needed to be more strict?! Hmmmm. My brain rolled it over but I stayed quiet.

“He had a paunch, a bad diet, and wasn’t as healthy as he could be,” he continued. “I realized, turning 56 this year, that I was heading in the same direction. It was right about that time that I saw your article.”

Uh oh. Does this Director follow THIS blog? Crap, he thinks I’m a psychopath.

“I saw the article you posted for the (school name) blog about staying healthy as a full-time student and the blurb you wrote about the MyFitnessPal app.”

He pulled out his iPhone and loaded the application.

He had logged in for 255 straight days. The exact number of days since my article had been published.

“Your article got me thinking that I really had no idea what I was eating. I was going down the same path as my father and I was likely to experience the same health problems, and probably an early death, as he had. I had no accountability or cognizance of what I was putting into my body.”

I’m pretty sure my jaw was on the floor at this point.

He pat my shoulder. “I’ve lost almost 30 pounds (ha! I was right!) and it’s thanks to your article. I just thought you should know: you’ve changed my life.”

He gave me a hug and we joked a bit about the unhealthy snacks they had for us at the meeting, but I was mostly stunned into awed silence.

When he returned to his seat and the meeting continued, it took me a few minutes to get back into focus.

This man, a major leader and creative figure in my company, had been influenced to change his life by my words. My journey, my experience, and my time-tested tools have helped him to improve his health and rebel against a genetic predisposition.

I’m humbled.

Perhaps, though a rough journey some days, I’m in this yo-yo for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, my struggles are for a cause greater than my own.

If I can influence one person to improve their life, then I’ll endure every sweaty, muscle-burning workout. I will walk away from every slice of chocolate cake, no matter how fudgy and delicious it looks, if it helps someone else sustain their will power. I will keep fighting, forever, if I know that it’s helping just one other person throw a punch themselves.

God bless Tim. God bless his journey. God bless everyone committed to improving themselves and loving their flawed little bodies along the way.

On that note…

Bon appetit, my friends, and keep fighting.

-Tori

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