Change is one of the most constant, yet controversial things in life. Change can evoke a lot of different feelings in people, and can result in a lot of different things: Fear, Hope, Excitement, Worry, Fresh Outlooks, Healing, Illness, Success, Failures, etc.
I was reading Tony's blog this morning, as I do with many blogs daily. I was making my way through today's post when I came across the above mentioned quote; I stopped.
"...People do not change"
I immediately felt the urge to discuss that notion (as you might expect, given the name of my blog), so here we go:
The first thing I want to say is that obviously there are elements of each of us that are just who we are and cannot be changed. But I don't want to talk about those; it's not at all relevant to this discussion. I want to talk about exactly what the above quote does: the belief that in life there are successes and failures, cheaters and winners. Once a winner always a winner; once a failure always a failure.
The next thing I want to do in order to discuss this topic is to briefly review my weight problems and weight loss history:
I've been heavy my whole life, but I became morbidly obese in my teens. Below is a breakdown of the major weight benchmarks in my life, and my weight loss efforts around them.
- 350 lbs by 16 years old. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
- 420 lbs by 19. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
- 430 lbs by 21. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 50 lbs.
- 550 lbs by 23. I walked, lifted weights, ate healthy, and lost 178 lbs.
- 580 lbs by 26. I walked, ate healthy, and lost 75 lbs.
- 667 lbs by 27. I've walked, eaten healthy, and have lost 75 lbs so far.
So, a couple things to deduce from that history.:
- Like most fat people, I know how to lose weight. I'm pretty damn good at it actually. Now don't get me wrong, I have also lost some weight here and there via a number of "quick and easy" efforts: Isagenix, Atkins, etc. But again, I know how to lose weight, as does virtually everyone...um, well, just in case there is anyone who does not, here's the answer: burn more calories than you take in. Got it? Good; now you can understand why there are hundreds of thousands of books trying to help the masses understand that mystifying, complex equation: how to lose weight. I digress.
- Like most chronically fat and obese people, I have been unable to sustain weight loss for any significant amount of time and have generally ended up regaining the weight that was lost and then some.
So, I am trying to lose the weight again. But wait, why bother right? I've clearly shown I am the kind of person who is always fat. After all, like the terrible "Fat Peoples Rights" movement says: "Most people gain back the weight they lose", and thus, why keep trying? Why not just accept myself for my fatness and pick up the "progressive social movement" of Fat Empowerment! "You must put calories on Menus! You must give me two plane tickets for the price of one! You must stock your business with huge chairs for me to sit in! No? DISCRIMINATION!!! LAWSUITS!!!"
Here's why I'm not stopping: Change.
I know enough about life to recognize that, obviously, people CAN change. People can change both for the worse and for the better. A sober, responsible person can become an arrogant, abusive drunk halfway through their life. A repeat juvenile offender can become a law abiding, family-having, positively-contributing member of society for the remainder of their adult lives.
I also know enough about life to recognize that true, individual change comes from within; that it is intrinsic. It HAS to be.
I can even can tell you what kind of change is the best, or at least, my personal favorite: Redemptive change.
Don't believe me? Here are a tiny sampling of books and movies that are about people changing, and again, even better, redemption through change:
Books: The Bible, numerous other religious texts, Les Miserable, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Crime and Punishment, A Tale of Two Cities, Faust, The Brothers Karamazov, A Christmas Carol, The Count of Monte Cristo, East of Eden, etc.
Movies: It's a Wonderful Life, The Pursuit of Happiness, The African Queen, Good Will Hunting, Beauty and the Best, On the Waterfront, Groundhog Day, Remember the Titans, Ben Hur, etc.
If change is possible, and can even be beautiful, then why haven't I been able to keep the weight off? Well, here's my thought: I changed the outside.
Over, and over, and over, and over.
But, I never changed inside.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you my experience:
I never kept the weight off and generally gained even more weight because I put food first, inside. That's what I cared about most. That's what I thought about most.
I didn't get to the point that I could barely walk by helping others.
I didn't get to be a depressed, morbidly obese stroke-risk by putting my family and friends first.
I didn't eat 11,000 calories a day being upfront and honest with my loved ones.
I didn't get to 400 pounds, 500 pounds, or 600 pounds by being selfless.
So, I am trying to lose weight again, and this time, for life. To accomplish that I will continue to do whatever it takes: take control where necessary, let go of control where necessary.
Most important I will continue to change. Change the way I think, the way I act, and consequently, who I am.
Because if I don't change what's inside, the outside likely wont stay changed.
I pray to God that this time I change who I am.
Because who I've been would die young; a selfish, grossly obese man.