I’ve always heard that you never know how brave you can be until it’s your only option. Despite my depression-riddled past that involved several trips to emergency rooms, I never had the fear of God. It was a frequent thing to feel like my life was in jeopardy. But when death stares you in the face, you have no option but to face it with a part of yourself you never knew existed. Weight loss is simply a way of finding that part of you.
When I decided to run a full marathon, I consulted a doctor to make sure I was taking the proper medical steps. This same doctor told me when I was 16 that it would be shocking had I reached the age of 20 without a heart attack due to my obesity. His reaction when I told him my plan was simply, “are you f**king insane?” I laughed but he followed it up with, “you can’t handle it, you weren’t made for that.” He then pretty much implied I couldn’t survive it. Yes, the fear of God was in me. I was already terrified of the road ahead of me. I had enough to worry about, now I had to question whether I was going to live or not when this was over. I’ve said it before though, I really believe if you know what you want to die for in life, it’s a gift. You know the value of your life when you know what you’re willing to die for. I haven’t seen this doctor since. I contemplate going in with a picture of me at the finish line, but he’s not someone I need to impress. Life isn’t about that, and neither is weight loss.
I happen to suffer from a fear of heights. This summer a buddy and I went on an adventure running through some cliffs in the east end of P.E.I. After falling off a 30-foot high cliff and into the water, we came across a rope tied to a tree on top of a cliff that was at least 70 feet up. I hadn’t been this scared since the marathon. I had no choice but to climb it, much like having no choice but to face the fear of falling, failing or of course dying. I faced what I was most afraid of. Every pound I ever lost was in some way facing my fear of obesity. I had to learn that facing something you’re afraid of is terrifying, but not as much as giving up.
I couldn’t do this in my obese days, neither physically nor mentally. But I had no other choice on those slippery cliffs that were being slammed by ten-foot-high waves. I chose to climb upward, I chose to overcome something that could have killed me and live a life I deserved.
Often these types of things happen when you face a fear — or even death. I always justify it by knowing something bigger is in store for me than falling off a cliff or not accomplishing a goal such as a marathon. Someday I’m going to be at my smallest, I’ll overcome things I’m afraid of, and I’ll remember the time I almost died on a cliff in PEI as much as I’ll remember the marathon or any other time in my life I was sure that my number was up. Even if I died, I would have died doing something I love. It was only in times of fear that I realized there was truly no limit to what I can accomplish.
“When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible.” —Nido Qubein