One of my clients didn’t mind my sharing a story with you and he’s one of the brightest reasons to go to work every single day.
He liked to call himself Bob the blob. I told him that it wasn’t healthy to refer to himself in such a negative fashion but he persisted and said that he wouldn’t be attending my classes unless I allowed him to call himself whatever he wanted. I reluctantly agreed, though I told him I would still simply call him Bob. (names have been changed for privacy)
After Bob had been coming to my classes for about 3 weeks or so, and after some really grueling challenges that once had him leave my “camp” in an ambulance, he opened up to me about why he insisted on such a horrid nickname for himself. He had two parents still living, but both in an adult home because they had diabetes that became uncontrollable and required a LOT of medical care. He felt massively guilty that he didn’t have the kind of life that allowed him to take care of them himself, but he said that even though he saw them deliberately hurting themselves by eating whatever they wanted, foot sores that just wouldn’t heal, they never did a thing about it. He found himself following the same sorry path, and he realized that all his well meaning friends just accepted him as he was.
Nobody put “foot to ass” in his words, and made him fix what he saw was clearly wrong with his life. His doctor had told him that he had type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and terrible cholesterol and was on his way to potential risk factors that led to death, so he told me that he began kicking his own ass. He called himself names in the mirror every day, and made himself buy a full length mirror so he could chastise himself when he’d go for a soda or a bag of chips. He said he began to feel so guilty that he started making real changes. He came to me, and we’re helping him makeover his entire life for healthy purposes so he never has to feel like he’s throwing his life away anymore.
During the first week, he made a list of everything he had in his refrigerator and in his cupboards. We crossed off everything that had to go, and took it to the food bank. We practiced yoga and meditation exercises, learned warm up routines, and did some light resistance training and some work with dumbbells. Though the sweat was rolling off him in torrents, he NEVER complained. This man just kept right on pushing. In the second week, he had dropped ten pounds already, he had radically changed his eating habits and reported that he was sticking to his exercises at home and getting better quality sleep at night. I warned him at this point, not to overdo it or risk a relapse which he’ll feel worse about later. He shook his head and said, “This time this is it, I’m not signing my own death warrant and I’ll show my folks it’s not too late to change, it’s never too late. I’m going to do this right, or not at all.”
The third week, he had gotten sick because he wasn’t getting enough vitamins and he wasn’t eating enough calories. The doctor ran tests on his blood and urine and determined that his iron was low, as was his vitamins C, B and D, and the 1500 calories he was allowing himself every day just wasn’t enough to support his 370 pound body, even while dieting. The doctor called me and we talked about his nutrition and exercise goals, at which point I let him know that at NO stage did I tell him to limit his calories, and to just make better choices when it came to his food and serving sizes. Bob later tells me he wanted it too much too fast, and that he pushed it harder thinking that he’d see results faster. Him getting sick was actually a really good thing. It allowed him the chance to see what his body would and would not take in regard to his weight loss goals, and to set a more reasonable limit.
He has now been with me for 4 months, he is 295 pounds, and though he’s still bigger than he wants to be, he can keep up with me when we jog. His cholesterol (good) is UP, his bad cholesterol is down, his blood pressure is so much better it’s like he’s a different person, and he says that all his cravings for sweets and salts and fatty foods have disappeared except for bacon. We allow the bacon, because it’s not that all foods that seem bad ARE bad, it’s really just about moderation. Nothing is good for you when you have too much of it. Did you know you can even get water poisoning from drinking too much of it? Yeah, over-hydration. Scary! Point is, too much of anything isn’t good for you, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with salty and slightly fatty bacon, you just shouldn’t eat more than a couple slices of it.
Bob is my hero. He comes every single day, though we are only meeting a couple times a week, just to jog with me and chat about the things that have changed. He reports that instead of bringing (sneaking) his parents sweet treats at the adult home, he brings them carrot sticks, bran muffins or wheat crackers. He said they got mad at him in the beginning, but over time, they’ve gotten used to the healthier options and that they’re both doing much better also. Though they will have diabetes forever, their symptoms seem to have decreased. He is reaching out to all the members in his family he knows have been affected by an unhealthy life and eating problems to give them the same help he says he’s gotten from me. I think it was never me as much as him… “kicking his own ass” as he says. Bob the blob no more… he’s Bob the job he says now.