Life can be painful...
A friend once gave me a piece of wisdom I couldn’t understand: “Always make room for the unexpected in yourself.” I never fully understood those words until a crisp, Friday evening in October. It sounded like an explosion as a fully loaded 18-wheel tractor trailer smashed into the rear of my Toyota Prius on a 5-lane interstate in the middle of Atlanta. Chaos erupted and the life I knew until that moment was turned upside down. My life hung in limbo between the life I knew and the challenges that lay ahead of me as the doctor told me I had a brain injury among other ailments. As I tried to move forward, only one thing was certain: uncertainty. It seems ironic to explain healing as arduous. Healing required more than 200 visits and resulted in more than 23 diagnoses related to my accident. With persistence and determination, I made nearly a full recovery and completed a Master’s degree at the same time. As the selected commencement speaker, I confessed to the audience: “To know who and what you are, you must find out who and what you are not. There is one thing I am not and that is a quitter.”
As we look back on our accomplishments, a sense of pride, accomplishment and nostalgia is expected. However, as I looked at the video of the speech posted to YouTube by the university, my first thought was: “OH MY GOD MY DOUBLE CHIN.” The truth was: I had never given up on anything in life except my weight. As I looked in the mirror, the medicine regime from the accident had added another 60 pounds on top of the weight I already struggled with. The scale reflected that I was more than 260 pounds and I was only 5 foot 4. My BMI was 6 points above the threshold for morbid obesity. Truth be told, the health I just fought for was on life support due to my weight.
The pursuit of losing 125 pounds has felt like a mountain that can’t be conquered. I ask myself all the time: Can I finish this journey? Do I have what it takes? If I share my journey, will the world laugh at me when I stumble and fall? However, I have drawn a line in the sand and decided that the pursuit of health and happiness is worth that risk.
I have lost 70 pounds out of my goal of 125, and have completed almost half of my weight loss journey. However, success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do. Here I am to share my story in hopes that others that fight the pain of obesity can find encouragement and motivation.