10 years to unlock the door

I was a different person ten years ago. I was sedentary, obese, and unhappy. It was not a good situation to be in less than three years after open heart surgery. A change had to happen. Frustrated with my failed weight loss attempts, I pursued weight loss (bariatric) surgery.

I spent most of my life trying to find myself. When I finally found “me”- the real Brian that I was afraid to be for so long, I was hidden away in a cell of my own design. It was up to me to unlock the door that I had hidden behind and to start truly living. – Brian, Obesity Help forum

I Became a frequent visitor to bariatric surgery support forums. I came across the above quote from a fellow bariatric surgery post-op. It spoke to me so much that I printed it out and hung it over my desk for many years.

I came across the quote while organizing my desk and thought how true this remains today. I began a comprehensive weight management program in January that focuses on diet, fitness and behavior changes. It forced me to look back and understand it is up to me to unlock the door to truly start living.

This program had me taking a personal inventory of where I am today. I looked back and saw what positively changed my life over the past ten years. I found five changes that are now an integral part of my life that were absent ten years ago.

A healthier person

Bariatric post-ops vary in the degree of success or failure. One thing they have in common is using the scale to measure success. Ten years out, I know scale numbers, although important, take the backseat to the indicators of improved health. Better health is the most significant change I see in my life today.

An active life

The biggest commitment I made ten years ago was to be an active person. I spent a year after surgery discovering new ways to be active. I found cycling a year out. It changed my life. It led me to hiking, running, and a love of the outdoors. Exploring my world on a bike is a passion in my retired life.

A growing circle of friends

My bariatric support network and cycling opened the door to meeting new people, most do not realize how they shaped and grew my life. These people share my experiences and passion. I am building on what I learned from these folks to grow new networks and connections in my new place in life.

A new self-confidence

My self-confidence grew with my health, active life, and circle of friends. I was often at odds being classified an extrovert when I saw introvert characteristics in my personality. I have seen many introvert characteristics dissolve over the years. I now live a self-confident life embracing it as an emerging extrovert.

A happier me

I unlocked that door, stopped hiding my true self, and started living as the person I aspire to be. For the past year I was not certain I was doing that. I was uncertain what that really meant. I now realize I control the direction and focus of my life. It is up to me to proactively drive my own happiness.

Unlock the door that you hide behind and start living life to the fullest!
Tom Bilcze

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