It’s been approximately 10-months since my last fitness journey article and I must say, I’m quite disappointed in myself. Not because I didn’t work out between now and then but because I wasn’t keeping promises to myself.
Some slip ups happened… and partying and traveling. The last article I posted was my 60-day weight loss transformation in October 2018. It was right around this time that I ended up going with some friends to Dublin, Ireland and Amsterdam, Netherlands for some last minute shenanigans. This is when the downward spiral ensued.
After eating tons of food, drinking lord knows how much booze and regrettably smoking one too many cigarettes, I must have come back seven-pounds heavier than when I left. Tack on the time it took to readjust back to Pacific Standard Time and recovering from the partying, it was safe to say I was way off track.
This is when that little voice in your head creeps in. You know; doubt. Doubt is a tricky little monster. This dude will creep in slowly but surely and will stomp the heck out of any progress you made. It’s safe to say that at that time I had a significant amount.
I began to care more about what people at the gym would think of me rather than how I felt about myself. Why did I care so much about regressing? At least I was in the gym, right? Easier to type this now reflecting back 10-months later but at the time this is how I felt.
Set new goals I thought. Yeah, that’s the trick. So I aimed at another marker coming up in January 2019—HolyShip. If you’re not familiar with what HolyShip is, it’s essentially a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas on a Norweigan Cruiseliner. There’s headliner DJ’s, booze, unlimited food (buffet style) and you get to dock on the Islands for a day party as well. I now had something to work towards. I wanted to look my best for the cruise.
As the months led up to HolyShip, I found myself drinking more and more beer. Even though I had told myself I wasn’t going to. Eventually I started to become pessimistic about work and even stopped working out as much. Sure I’d been going to the gym 3-days per week but my eating habits became poor and drinking to the best of me.
January 2019, somewhere near Nassau, Bahamas: I can remember being on the ship and not feeling comfortable with my body. My friend and I were making our way out to the upper deck to start partying and all I could think about was myself. There they were, tons of beautiful people looking great and seemingly feeling greater and there I was worrying about my body. I lacked confidence big time. I didn’t feel like the usual me.
At first I blamed it on a lack of substances or lack of booze but deep down I knew it was because I had lost what mattered most; self-respect. Every promise that you don’t keep to yourself, depletes your self-respect little by little until you have none left.
January 2019, Fresno, California: I’d just gotten back to my apartment after the cruise and felt like absolute trash. And despite feeling like trash, I found myself at a familiar bar drinking that entire week with my then roommate. Déjà vu settled in. This felt like post Dublin and Amsterdam all over again. I knew I had to make a change.
Third week of January 2019, Fresno, California: During the first week of February, I’d made a commitment to myself that I wasn’t going to drink for a specific period of time. My energy levels were low and this translated into me not wanting to work. I realized that I needed energy if I was going to get the momentum of my life back.
At first I wrote down, ’30-days no alcohol.’ Then I scratched that and wrote, ’60-days no alcohol.’ Finally, for some unknown reason, I decided to challenge myself. ’90-days no alcohol’ is what I had written on my white-board. Starting at the date at first felt intimidating and then I felt in control. There’s something empowering and liberating about writing your goals down. You feel a sense of control.
From January 19th, 2019 to April 20th, 2019 I didn’t have a single drop of alcohol. While I’ve had beer and cocktails since then I realized I had a breakthrough: I was now in control of my circumstances. It’s one thing to think about the control you have and an entirely different experiences to exercise self-control.
More importantly than not drinking alcohol was keeping a promise I made to myself. Yes, I lost about 12-pounds but more importantly I earned my self-respect back and appreciated the person I always was and am deep down. I think that’s what fitness is all about, respecting and loving yourself.
If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn it’s that you can’t tie your fitness goals to a specific date. If you do so, you will almost certainly let yourself down. Thinking back to when I was the fittest in my life was when I was playing soccer. I’d have team trainings 3-days per week and then then the other 2-days I’d go to the gym and exercise myself. Compound lifting, plyometrics and long runs to keep my cardio-vascular levels up.
I wasn’t working towards a specific game, I was maintaining an identity. I was a soccer player through and through and so I trained and performed like one. If someone were to ask me, “what do you do?” I’d always reply, “I’m a soccer player.” Somewhere along the line I’d lost that when I last laced up my boots.
Maybe that’s why many athletes in the past are now overweight and unhappy. Or why empty-neter’s lose purpose and a will to have a life purpose after the kids leave the house and become young adults—when something in our world stops that we so closely tied our identity to, we also tend to stop doing the things that created that identity in the first place.
When I reflect on health and fitness now, I think in terms of identity. My level of fitness gauges the level of self-respect I have for myself. I may not identify as that soccer player anymore but I do identity as a great son, brother, father, husband, friend, colleague, successful entrepreneur, world explore and as I smart, compassionate, loving man. And how can I be any of those things and pour into others if I first don’t pour into and love myself?
Fitness means loving yourself. If you love yourself everyday, you’ll take care of yourself everyday and in every way. Our bodies are a symbol of self-respect and I think it’s about time we all started respecting ourselves by keeping the promises we make not to others but to ourselves.