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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I want to talk for a moment on expectations. "Fairly ironic," you might say, "for someone that stopped writing in the blog two years ago." And while you might be correct if you had indeed said that, since it's my blog, I totally get to pick the topic regardless of your hypothetical snarky comment.

Expectations can be a difficult thing to deal with. On the one hand, it means someone thinks highly enough of you to anticipate a specific result from your actions. On the other hand, there is also an added pressure on you to meet those expectations, which can cause emotional damage if we fall short. This can be even more detrimental if the failure happens when the expectation is placed on us by ourselves.

Two weeks ago, I was in a pretty severe accident. I was hit hard enough to the head that I don't actually remember anything that happened, but let me set up the situation first. My name is Brett and I've been an overweight guy all my life. It goes back as far as Grade school, where my nickname was Big G. It's just always been part of who I was. Through the years, I had become emotionally equipped to handle it, but it was always a deeply affecting subject for me.

At the beginning of June, though, after a particularly unpleasant dating experience (it wasn't even a date, weirdly), something possessed me. I had attempted losing weight in the past (see previous entries in this very blog), but this was different. It happened at a time that I felt I had very little power over what was happening in my life and I needed to get things under control somehow. So, with my brother Blaine in full support, we started doing the Power 90 workouts (which are the precursor to P90X, the famous hardcore workout) every night. But this wasn't enough for me. I was done being overweight. I've never really known what it was like to not be embarrassed of my body, and I was going to find out. I was, to put it dramatically, driven. So, when we decided to do this, I set my goal; an expectation. I was going to be under 300 pounds by July. 9 pounds in 4 weeks was not going to be easy, but that was my goal. To achieve this, I was not only going to work out every night with my brother, but I was also going to alternate between running and biking every morning around the lake near my house (about 4 miles around) as well as stay to a 2,200 calorie a day diet. I knew weighing my self every week was one of my weaknesses in the past (any time that I would not lose an amount equal to the effort that I put in that week, I would get really bummed out and stop working out). To compensate for this, after I weighed myself to start out (309 lbs), I put the scale in the closet and wasn't going to use it until the end of the first month.

So, away I went with three sheets to the wind, switching between running and bicycling in the mornings, doing Power 90 in the evenings, and focusing completely on weight loss. Working out twice a day was certainly rough, but it felt right. I wasn't sure if I was losing any weight, but I had a lot more energy, my pants fit a little looser, I was noticeably improving my stamina each day, and I actually started looking forward to my workouts. I had been doing this for just over two weeks and was feeling really good about where I was. So I went out the next morning for my daily bike ride with enthusiasm. I got on my bike, left my garage, and that is the last thing that I remember.

I woke up in the Emergency Room surrounded by 12 doctors, more confused that I have ever felt in my life. My head hurt, it was painful to breathe, and I couldn't form words. Over the next few hours, I'm told I came in and out of consciousnesses, but I don't remember anything. I had fractured ribs, a broken collar bone, a metric ton of stitches in my head, and road rash over a significant portion of my body. Apparently, from reading the accident report some weeks later, someone found me on the paved bike trail around the lake and called 911. No one, it seems, saw the accident happen, they just found me on the sidewalk. To this day I still have no idea what actually happened. I'm just going to assume ninjas.

As terrifying as this experience has been, I don't know if I can ever properly express how grateful I am to my family and friends during this time. I have seriously been blessed to know some of the best caliber of people on the planet. Even a simple, quick note on Facebook from someone I haven't spoken with since High School did more to lift my spirit than I can say. It was a tough time that was made easy because of amazing people.

While I was in the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. All things considered, I am incredibly grateful that it happened. Life was suddenly put into stark perspective. I was beyond lucky to even be alive. I met many incredible people that I might not have otherwise had the chance to meet and every one of them, whether they knew it or not, taught me things about myself and the amazing resilience of the human spirit. I was able to reevaluate what my goals (both in fitness and in life), had been, and what they should be. All that plus I got a sweet cane out of it.

Once I got out of the hospital, I was told it would take about 6 weeks to fully recover. Though I was recovering, I still had this end of the month weigh in over my head. A silly thought, I know, considering what had happened. But, truth be told, what I was really afraid of losing what taken me years to gain: desire. Everything that I was had been focused on a goal that now, due to circumstances beyond my control, was out of reach. It was disheartening, and my expectations for what I could accomplish fell. I did everything that was within my control over the next week to aid in the weight loss (which was limited to sticking to the diet and walking for a maximum of 10 min each day due to the injuries), but I did not expect to get anywhere near the 300 pound mark.

So, with the beginning of July here, it was with much trepidation that I stepped on the scale. My expectations were set very low. I actually assumed that I had gained weight, due to how limited my movement had been these past few weeks. While the scale calculated my weight, I looked up at the mirror, resigned my self to my low expectations, and with a sigh, looked back down. I weighed 293 lbs.

Wait, that didn't sound right. I stepped off, reset the scale, and checked again. 293. It took a moment for this to process for me. This not only meant a 16 pound weight loss for the month, but it marked for me a much more important point. This is the first time since High School that I weighed less that 300 pounds, and I even though that was the goal all along, I wasn't really prepared for the possibility of success. As stupid as it sounds, I weighed myself twice more, just to make sure, smiling the whole time. Even through the excruciating pain (I don't know if you've ever sneezed with a broken collar bone and several cracked ribs, but I would say "pass" on that experience, if at all possible), I couldn't wipe that stupid grin off my face all day. Though in the grand scheme of things I still have a long way to go, it's the proudest I've been in a long time, made ever better because of the people I was able to share it with, both new friends and old.

So, what's the plan now? Aside from continuing to heal over the next few weeks (I'm still rather sore in place that I didn't know I had), I'm going to keep up what I can of my healthy lifestyle, transitioning back into exercising once I'm able to. If my time in the hospital taught me anything, it's that I need to be grateful for everything I have and to express that as often as I can. I also hope to, should I heal quickly, participate in my first 5k at the beginning of August (Link here www.wasatchwellnessrun.c
, for anyone interested). Finally, I plan to, as my new friend from the hospital John taught me, smile as much as I can because hey, why not? And that, I feel, is a pretty good expectation to have. www.wasatchwellnessrun.c
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for writing this i have not been on SP in a while and this is the first blog i'v seen in a few months it has lit the fire under my bottom. Good luck on you recovery and i hope you get to do your 5k. And i know we don't know each other but i will be very happy for you to cross the finish line. Keep us updated
    2600 days ago
    Gads, I hope somehow this hit and run can be solved. how awful.
    You will get through this, and will amaze yourself with your accomplishments.
    Your sense of humor is as great as your determination.
    emoticon emoticon

    2628 days ago
    Good for you! That accident was bad for the body, but it seems to have been able to do wonders for the soul. Amazing isn't it? You may be limited by mobility for now, but you are never limited completely for what you really want from your life.
    2630 days ago
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