Strange Dreams But Important Lessons Learned
So I had this weird dream the other night. In it I was being interviewed by Matt Lauer from the Today Show. I don’t know exactly how I got there but that’s not important to the dream.
Anyhow, I was very nervous sitting on the couch waiting between the commercials to begin the interview. I was fidgeting with my hands and constantly fixing my shirt. You know how you fidget with your shirt when you’re overweight or used to be overweight … you tug at it because it makes you more comfortable when it doesn’t seem so tight because it’s baggy and all stretched out (because you’re tugging on it). Well I was doing that except I had lost the weight and it was just a nervous tick I have, but I digress.
When the segment started Matt began asking me questions about how I’d lost my weight. I don’t really remember all of the questions, it was kinda a weird dream, but they were fairly typical weight-loss questions, nothing crazy but I did remember one in particular that he asked just before I woke up.
Matt — “What was the single hardest thing you overcame losing your weight?”
I remembered this question in particular because my reply really hit home and felt so spot on. My reply was something like this, forgive my future self if I butcher it
Me — “I honestly feel like there were two significant obstacles that I tackled along my journey which were crucial to my successful lifestyle changes and ultimate weight-loss.
The first was simply making the decision to make a change. I’m not talking about your daydreaming about being thin or eating a lighter lunch today. I’m talking about finally deciding that enough is enough, that you’re ready to act, and then actually doing it.
Not planning on doing it Monday, not waiting until the first of the year, and no more somedays … instead you say from this moment forward I’m a different person. From that point onward you view fitness and healthy food not as a short term speed bump but as along term lifestyle. You view sweat as a reward to a great workout and not as something that’s gross. You begin caring about all of those chemicals you can’t pronounce, on the labels you can’t ready, glued on the food you eat.
In short you go all in on making your life everything it’s meant to be and accepting nothing short of 100%. For me that happened in January of 2000 after returning home from yet another huge holiday food gorging and upon seeing my weight hit 450 pounds on a truck stop weight scale.”
Matt — “On a truck stop weight scale?”
Me — “It’s a long story but in short it’s the only place I could find a semiprivate scale that I could weigh myself on. Sad but true …”
Matt — “That must have been hard to share, have you ever told anyone that before?”
Me — “I’ve shared the story on my Learn Fitness blog but never on national television where people can see my face no.”
Matt — “So what was the second obstacle you mentioned?”
Me — “The second obstacle that I overcame (many times) was getting up, brushing off, and moving on after I failed. You will fail and if you tell yourself otherwise you’re wrong. Understanding that failure is a part of the process as much as success itself will save you a lot of pain and self deprecating self destructive behaviors.
That first time you miss a workout, go on vacation, attend a holiday party, lose your job, have a child, or encounter a situation which really stresses or causes you to stray from your new lifestyle you will be forced to make a crucial decision. What do you do next? Do you give up? Do you wait until Monday to get on track? Do you eat more or skip more workouts?
Your answer to this question (and subsequent questions just like this) will ultimately determine whether or not you succeed at becoming healthy or end up a statistic.
I learned and relearned this lesson 13 times.”
Matt — “13 times?”
Me — “I never said I was perfect, persistent yes, but far from perfect.”
And then I woke up to a perfectly quiet house about 5 minutes before my alarm was set to go off for my workout. I sat there for a few minutes really trying to not lose the dream and decided to write down as much as I could remember.
I’m not someone who looks for hidden messages in their dreams because frankly I don’t have very many that I remember. I do however think that this one was kinda meant to be remembered and shared.
While I may never meet Matt Lauer or be on the Today Show, I still want to share my story with anyone and everyone that’ll listen. If I can help even one person to learn from my mistakes, get off their couch, start to change their life, and continue despite life’s curve balls then I have truly succeeded.