Before and after pics are not my things. Don’t get me wrong. I have shared a few over the years. They tell a story without uttering a single word. These photos are pretty common in weight loss surgery circles where they offer support and encouragement to the person and the bariatric community.
Earlier this week, I came across a vacation photo of me from 2004. Ten years later, I remember this photo and Vegas vacation. I had to stop and do a double take. The person looking back at me is not the person I am today. The thought of how much I changed in ten years churned in my mind over the past few days.
In 2004, I was nearing my highest weight, almost 300 pounds. I was suffering with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes and a BMI hearing 50, safely in the obese category. I was very sedentary and had love affair with food. At the same time, I was a pretty happy and content guy. I had that flawed reasoning that guys my age naturally gain weight as they get older.
Over the following ten years, my life would change dramatically. In late 2005 I suffered a heart attack and underwent a triple coronary bypass. I started a roller coaster of weight loss and gain. In 2008, I found myself nearing that 280 pound mark again. I committed to a life change that started with bariatric surgery.
Over the past six years I have worked hard to distance myself from the guy in the 2004 photo. I knew that bariatric surgery alone was not the answer. I immediately began changing myself from a sedentary to an active person. I fell in love with cycling. I discovered the beauty of the outdoors and seasons by hiking, running and snowshoeing in my local parks.
At the same time, my love affair with food continues to be my biggest struggle. I have eliminated or minimalize the influence of sugar, fat and carbs in my diet. They still taunt and challenge me. I fight the fight and largely win the battle. Some things are easier to change than others.
“A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.” — Brigitte Bardot
Bardot’s quote rings true to me. The photograph captured me at my most obese and most unhealthy point in my life. I pride myself on looking forward and positively influencing my life and others’ lives. But, that fat guy is frozen in time in that photo. I realize that it will continue to look back at me in the coming years. It reminds me of where I have been and points me to where I need to be.
It’s funny how something as trivial as a Facebook timeline Throwback Thursday photo can have an impact on your life. Change is about looking ahead. At the same time, it is about looking back and knowing where you came from.