By Mike Campbell
Five years ago, I was speaking to my sister-in-law’s first grade class about my journey. I kept the talk short and showed them my “fat pants.” Being first graders, every one of them except one stopped me during my talk to make a statement or ask a question. I had no problem with this, as, well, they were first graders! At the end I asked if there were any questions. They all raised their hands. So, what did I do? I chose the young boy in the back who had not said a thing during my talk. He timidly stood and proceeded to blurt out in a very loud voice, “How did you get so fat?!”
The kids laughed, and my sister-in-law was mortified. Kids always ask tougher questions than adults. I assured my sister-in-law it was fine and proceeded to answer the question.
Getting as fat as I became took concentrated (or not so concentrated) effort over 53 years. I did everything wrong when it came to healthy lifestyle habits. If you need a book on how not to live a healthy, fit life, I am an expert!
It started with my addictive personality. I found myself in two deep holes during my twenties. I struggled with cigarette and alcohol addiction. In 1984, after hitting bottom, I became a very grateful recovering alcoholic. In 1986, I stopped smoking cigarettes and have not had one since. I knew at this point I had an addictive personality. But I made the most insane mental statement to myself I could have ever made. I thought to myself, “You can quit drinking and quit smoking, but you can’t quit eating!”
Pretty poor choice to make when you’ve struggled with weight all your life. That one statement was on a loop in my head for 23 years! Yes, the definition of insanity. I was also a stress and convenience eater, did not exercise regularly and was a person who would do everything to help others while not taking care of himself.
I did everything wrong when it comes to lifestyle. I yo-yo dieted, going down some and up even more. Fast-food restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets were great friends of mine. Any sort of sugar was just fine with me. Ice cream? I’ll take a half gallon! Bag of candy? Can I have that in family size? Sodas, venti mochas and chocolate malts? Yes, yes and yes.
There were things I didn’t do, too. I did not drink water, did not eat breakfast, did not look in the mirror and did not stop to think about what I was doing to me. I did not do anything to take care of me or learn to live a healthy, fit lifestyle. I was a mess by the time 2009 rolled around.
Now I am scared. Scared for our state and country. I look at our country and think, “How did you get so fat? How did we dig such a deep hole filled with obese and overweight people? How did we get so fat?”
I know there are many reasons to make unhealthy choices and many things to blame for our obesity epidemic. There are also many organizations and people working to make the healthy choices easier. As I say to my friends all the time, there are many organizations paving highways for people out of obesity, out of an unhealthy lifestyle, and toward wellness and fitness. Unfortunately, I do not see many people taking those highways. There are no traffic jams on the highways to health and wellness.
So, the questions I pose to you are: “What gets you to take those highways? What gets you to make healthier choices? Is your WHY big enough to overcome your circumstances?”
I was once where you are now. I was once hopeless. Now I am amazed at how I feel. I wish I could truly have you feel the difference I have made in my life. I want you to feel the difference; live the difference.
As this New Year starts, commit to taking care of you. No excuses!
Next Issue: Is my WHY big enough?
You can also contact Mike @ 843.637.0723