Thursday, January 8, 2009

...And the Truth Shall Set You Free

Paradigm - noun, [par-uh-dahym, -dim]
1. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality.

Paradigm Shift, is a powerful shift in a way something is viewed. However, Paradigm Shift is more than a mid-to-late 90's business world buzz word. It's more then a carelessly coughed up Stephen Coveyism.

When I attempted the first major weight loss effort of my life, the effort was fraught with self-help jargon from Stephen Covey, Zig Zigler, Tony Robbins, etc. It was riddled with pop-psych, self-help concepts because I was making the effort with my father over the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and he was in an extreme self-help phase. It was 1998. I was 16. I started the summer at 353 pounds. At the end of the summer, 8 weeks later, I was 303 pounds.

I really enjoyed all the self help stuff that summer, I ate it up with a big spoon (ironically foreshadowing the multitude of eventual run ins I would have with pints of Ben & Jerry's, and whole Costco cheesecakes)

I loved "I'll see YOU, at the TOP!", I loved "The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure, instead of having pain and pleasure use you", and I especially loved the concept of Shifting my Paradigm.

Suddenly you see everything differently, and as applied to my weight loss, suddenly you see the way to lose weight was in front of you the whole time. That is the power of a paradigm shift as a I thought of it then. In 1998 I didn't really feel like something had actually shifted, but I GOT the concept, I really GOT IT, and that felt wise and important and like a step towards growing in a healthy direction. All that helped enough for me to lose 50 pounds that summer.

*fast forward*

8 months ago I was in a therapy session when I had an epiphany. It was so incredible I wrote it in my journal. This is what it says: "I couldn't change because I thought I couldn't change!!!"

Astounding, I know.

And yet, it was astounding for me then and still is for that matter, and the reason is simple. It was the moment I had a Paradigm Shift, and the shift was about the fact that a Paradigm Shift is possible.

It was at that moment that I finally connected with the fact that I am not fatally flawed, but that my PERSPECTIVE was.

5 months prior to that "ah ha!" moment in therapy I was in the middle of an extremely heated argument with my brother. I told him "You don't get it, I'm not like you, there is something different about me which makes changing SO much harder. Which makes losing weight and getting my shit together almost IMPOSSIBLE for me! You could NEVER understand. I'm not the same!!!"

And 5 months later, I got that first powerful shove in a direction that contradicted those thoughts, fully and completely.

Ever since then I have tried to focus on that concept, that epiphany that I had, and just recently I've been thinking about it a lot. Objective Optimism is the Perspective I want to live life with. No misunderstanding, I want to see life as it is: all the flaws, blessings, hardships, curve balls, ugliness, beauty, joy, sorrow, silver linings - all of it. And I want that because I want to continue to live life in the moment and to be real, not looking at the world through warped layers of denial.

But I now choose to recognize that though many things are outside of my control, many things, especially regarding my weight/health, are within my control. And I now choose to to make that paradigm shift, to align my perspective with that reality. And in doing so, I see that I can truly do anything, I can overcome anything.

THAT is the reason wars are won by impoverished, depleted army's full of sick, world-weary troops, THAT is the reason an inventor can fail at attempt number one thousand and fucking sixty to create the light bulb and KEEP TRYING, THAT is the reason that a person about to battle Cancer for the 3rd time can STILL remain Positive and not give in to unhealthy impulses.

And THAT is the reason that people who understand that fact, that fact that everything is about your paradigm, your perspective; that despite all that Pollyannaish, Rose Colored Glasses bull shit, life actually IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.

THAT is the reason that when those people tell us they KNOW we can lose weight and get healthy - hey man, they are truly, honestly giving us as raw and real a piece of advice/support as this world can offer.

So for right now, let me tell myself again: I can do this. I can work-out, I can get up when I don't want to, I can eat right, I can turn off the TV, I can lose over 300 pounds, I can deal with life with the same humility and fortitude as those I admire.

Because it's all possible in my perspective, bottom line. THAT is the truth...


  1. Congratulations! This is a real victory! (NSV)

    Not only CAN you do it, You WILL do it! There is nothing flawed about you.

  2. So insightful! Yes, you can do this. We all can do's whether or not we choose to do it.....

    You may not realize it, but you are an inspiration to others! Keep it up!

  3. Great post, I always look forward to reading what you have to say.

    Something I heard last April has stuck with me and I say it often...


  4. I love your beautiful, bodacious, bountiful beating heart and you know why.
    And you KNOW that I KNOW you are doing this!
    Despite EVERYthing!
    Much love ~~ much respect ~~ I'm here all the way with you!

  5. I can do this. - YOU WILL DO THIS!
    I can work-out, - YOU WILL WORK OUT!
    I can get up when I don't want to, - YOU WILL GET UP!
    I can eat right, - YOU WILL EAT RIGHT
    I can turn off the TV, - YOU WILL TURN OFF THE TV
    I can lose over 300 pounds!!! YOU WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT!

    Yes you can do it, BUT YOU WILL!

    And we're here to help you along the way!

  6. You nailed it! I truly believe everything in our life is a choice and is based on the decisions and choices we make. We chose to see things they way we did, we chose not to work out, we chose to pick up the utensil (or not) and put the food in our mouths. You can choose to work out, put down the fork. We allow people to treat us the way we do. I believe we will all DO THIS if we decide to. Is it easy? Hell NO! One of my favorite lines is JUST DO IT!That's just the way it's gotta be. You are an amazing guy and have wisdom and insight beyond your years. You are so there! Keep it up. You are going to DO IT and we will all be here cheering you on and proud.

  7. Wow!!!!

    I am in awe of you in every way. You're post and perspective are true gifts for us who are struggling with lives that don't work.

    I recently had an argument with my sister like the one you had with your brother. She just couldn't understand why I "couldn't just get over it."

    I really don't ever think that I really believed I could change the things that I need to. I hadn't thought of that until I read your post. Thank you!

    As Mary Beth said, we will be here cheering you on. You will always be my brother and someday we will regain our health and the Umlaut will be at the top of the charts - lol. Take care.

  8. Totally, man. Great post :)

    A lot of people try to fake it till they make it, and sometimes it works. But a lot of the time people are just stuck in their old mindset. And it's not till you change that mindset that true change can really come.

    So good on you man. You're making so much progress!

  9. I'm so glad to have found your blog. This is an excellent post and SOOOOO very true! I need to keep this very perspective in mind after the day I had yesterday. I'd love to invite you to check out my blog. It's PRIVATE (family reasons) but if you send me your email I would love to add you!


  10. I love reading your blogs. They make me think outside of my safe little place here in the world. Your words are so honest and deep - it's refreshing.

    You will do this....I'm rooting for you!

  11. What a profound post!!

    Yes you can do it!!

    And so can we all!!

  12. So for right now, let me tell myself again: I can do this. I can work-out, I can get up when I don't want to, I can eat right, I can turn off the TV, I can lose over 300 pounds, I can deal with life with the same humility and fortitude as those I admire.

    Yes, you can! It is a choice and that choice is made easier or harder by our perspective, but ultimately it all boils down to what we choose to do.