Sunday, November 1, 2015

inspirations and motivations

This is a post about me. It may LOOK like a post about my brother, Carl, but really, it's about me. Carl had weight loss surgery about a year and a half ago. He took that opportunity for what it was and really has changed a lot of things about his life in the past 18 or so months. Yes, he lost a lot of weight, but that isn't all he's done. Even weight loss surgery isn't magic, it's a handle on a process, and by grabbing that handle, and going through that process he has found some empowerment that I don't think he had before. And, while I find his weight loss to be inspirational, I find the empowerment that he found to be even more so.

First of all, Carl went into the surgery with his eyes open, and his research done. He read up on what he could, and talked to anyone he know who had the surgery. He talked to his doctor - and listened to him as well. The surgery came at a physical cost. Carl go a flu early on, and couldn't eat. He could barely keep hydrated. He lost weight, but he also lost strength. Frankly I worried about him during this time. But, he got through it.

A couple months later, he got involved in a wellness program through his work, and went to some meetings, and they provided some fitness trackers and suggested some goals. That seemed to be the opportunity he needed at the time he needed it. Then fitness became a priority. Health, not just weight loss. He was walking, and walking. Soon he got himself a bike, and I can't tell you how many people have mentioned seeing Carl riding around town on that bike. He doesn't go fast, but he goes. And goes. He mentioned to me something that he learned through this process. Exercising regularly is a selfish activity, he said. You have to be willing to put yourself, and your health first. Before your friends or family that might want to claim your time. He's right, you know. Plus I think many of us are so trained not to be our own priority, that that become quite the epiphany.
Carl when his bike was new

I'm still working on that. Being willing to put myself first enough to make walking my own priority. It's very easy for me to depend on Carl walking and going walking with me. He - by the way - is happy enough for willing company to come walk with me several times a week. I am aware that I need to internalize my priority of exercising so that I will manage it with or without him. I've gotten myself some help in the form of a young dog - not too big - that enjoys going walking with me. My pace isn't fast - like Carl on his bike - I'm just happy to be moving. My neighborhood route is about a mile, and has a pretty good uphill stretch, and I push my way up it.

I can see benefits, and feel them even more, but exercise is - in and of itself - never going to be a fun activity. That will never be my intrinsic payoff, sadly.  I do like to reap the benefits as I have seen and tasted the detriments that lack of it holds. I am still trying to follow Carl's lead and get to that "selfish" empowerment.

No, I don't think weight loss surgery is for me. That kind of weight loss is definitely changing habits, and practicing new behaviors, and I have made progress on that in the past couple of years. For me, I think it is about that journey, and I hope I can learn enough from the positive and negative results of others to finally learn those lessons for myself. I can say that I have definitely been inspired by Carl. Thanks, brother!

Carl, more recently.

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