It’s All About The Small Victories

There was a point in time in my life where I was the definition of unhealthy. I went from a 155lbs competitive athlete to a slow, inactive, unhealthy man who ate Dominos, Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Arbys, Burger King and every other kind of fast food at every meal, every day and weighed in at 265lbs.  Not only did I eat like shit all day, every day, I also smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes a day and drank at LEAST eight beer every evening as well.  I was on the fast track to a short life.

I lived this way for about five years, not knowing or even noticing that I put on 110+ pounds after high school.  It’s funny to say that I didn’t notice putting on that much weight, especially after looking at my pictures from back then, but I really never saw that fat guy in the mirror and I never understood why my friends and family mocked me at the time.  To this day, I don’t know what actually flipped that switch for me (although I think it was simply me being sick and tired of being ridiculed for being overweight), but I do remember vividly the day I said enough is enough and decided I needed to do something about it.

When I first started trying to lose weight and because of my job as a web designer, I went straight to the interwebs and I started reading on how to get “fab abs” and how to “lose that gut” and “get the beach body”. I read website after website and article after article that told me that I needed to eat perfectly 24/7 and hit the gym at least six times a week if I wanted to be healthy.

After reading all of this I thought I was all set to go and so I tried to do everything at once; I cut out alcohol, stopped eating take out food, tried to start running, picked up hockey again, I played volleyball for the first time ever, I tried the gym for the first time ever and I started trying to cook for myself, but all this did was set me up to fail.  It was too much, too fast and all at once.  I was out of shape and I was overwhelmed.  I couldn’t do the things that I use to be able to do, I didn’t know what I was doing in the gym, and when you’re use to eating take-out and fast food, cooking can be terrifying.  All I wanted to do was smoke, and drink and eat pizza, and so I did.

I did the “yo-yo dieting” on and off for about two years.  I’d quit smoking for three months and then I’d start again. I’d give up beer and pizza for two weeks and then go overboard because I was craving it so much.  I always ended up failing because I was always trying to take on too much at once.  It wasn’t until I finally realized that to be successful I needed to take small steps and not try to take on the world all at the same time.  This one little thing was the biggest and most difficult thing for me to do and accept because I’m the type of person who lives with the “all or nothing” mentality, but once I embraced it, it was the very key to my success.

The first thing I did with my new found realization was so simple that it blew my mind when it worked.  I changed my large Timmies “double-double” (for you non-Canucks, that means a large coffee with two cream and two sugar in it from Tim Hortons) to a large coffee with one milk and one Splenda.  That one change alone helped me lose my first 10 lbs and was the beginning of a new life for me.

This was my first small victory.  Once I realized that I didn’t have to do everything at once and I implemented that mentality in to my life, it’s been a lot of small victories in a very large battle.  Yes there’s still a lot of set backs in my life, it’s not all victories.  But they’re now only small set backs and I can learn and move on from them and not let them set me all the way back to the beginning. Instead of begining from the start all I have to do I set myself a new small goal and I move on.

It’s all about the small victories.


2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Choosing Elmo