Friday, September 11, 2015

My tale of shame, An Introduction.

Over the past year and  half, I have been undergoing something of a change. One that has come about through plenty of self analysis and coming to terms with a lot of things. The most significant of those changes,or at least noticeably significant, is my weight loss. All of this began when I turned 30, and though it certainly is not old age you absolutely begin to look at things in a different light.

Let me rewind for a bit, you see I am a typical story you might hear on an infomercial about a weight loss program or exercise equipment. A person who has been fit before, but life situations take you down a path where it becomes something you ignore, and watch your abilities and health decline some. Until one day that decline became too apparent, and all too dangerous. Yet, it wasn't the fear of a life plagued by chronic illness or feeling uncomfortable about looking a plump, okay maybe more than a little. No it was something, that for me is far more terrifying, it was an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame.

So, what was the cause of this shame and guilt? Well, like is often heard in these stories I was not like a person that has never been fond of exercise, knew nothing about fitness, or had some debilitating injury. Nope, I just flat out had a habit of giving up, of finding external reasons I wouldn't work out anymore, of eating ridiculous foods I knew where no good for me, at times to an excess I will not admit to others just yet. But at least I did admit it to myself. Let me take it back one more time, see I fell, and I mean head over heels in love at a very early age. No, this isn't going to get sappy since I mean with something not someone. It was martial arts.

At the age of 5 in Dominican Republic, I saw for the first time some martial arts techniques thanks to two boys my brother and I were friends with. One day my brother who had already been watching re runs of the old Kung Fu television series for a year was literally obsessed with the show and martial arts took me to see them and was uber excited because one of them had been taking some type of Karate, wish I could recall the style. They were two boys, same age as us but a little bigger and rougher than us. The elder was the one taking the karate, and while it's hard for me to remember what happened I just recall him throwing a bunch of cool kicks at my brother to show off, and those kicks are burned in my memory. The rest is a long and tedious, but basically I began training at 8, and didn't look back since Earning two black belts by before I even left high school. I live and breathe martial arts. Even when I am not practicing or learning a new one, I am reading up on them, watching them, dreaming of them. Except for a few periods in my life when I wasn't training very often, and there have been three periods in particular where my weight spiked because of it. I call these my dark periods, the last one of which happened since about 2012 to 2014. When I can honestly count the amount of hard workouts, of any type that I did one one hand. Sure there were some feeble attempts here and there, but nothing worth taking credit for. During this time, I eventually ballooned to 245 lbs, and believe me I was not what some folks I know call diesel fat, where there are remnants of a time you were in shape. This was a free fall into absolute dietary chaos, and a sedentary lifestyle. Yes, there were things stacked against me, yes there were difficult times, yes I was tested, and I failed. Someone on instagram today posted a picture of himself after winning a natural body building competition despite a setback that required surgery and the caption resonated with me. The account is @tolumontana_fitness, and he said:

Follow @tolumontana_fitness on instagram and +tolu montana on google+ for some serious inspiration

"Life has taught me so many things. Getting knocked down is part of it but getting back up is our full responsibility."

Seriously, dude's right. That line is what brought me writing this entry, I am purposely leaving out a lot of details because I will talk of those three dark periods in greater detail in future entries, as well as the podcast. But the point I am trying to drive home is this, life will try to beat you down, keep you down, and it will try to do so more than once. Life will be stubborn, it will not give up, it will try and try again. Life can be your biggest adversary and your greatest teacher all at once. But guess what, life is really only demanding one thing, that you match up to it. That when it challenges you, you stand up to it. And if it beats you, that you rise again until you conquer it. Life fights you with fire, and you have to fight it with fire. Today I am no longer 245 lbs, I'm 185. Leaner, stronger, faster than I was in 2012. Not quite what I was in my teens and early 20's, but headed that way. How? I found that fire again, I chose to rise up to the challenge I had given up on. I took responsibility for my lack of action, my lack of fortitude, and I began to climb my way back out of the hole, now that I'm out I'm going to find every mountain I can climb and conquer it. Why? because to me, there is no greater shame than having proved to yourself just how powerful you can be, only to neglect that power. 

And I can't wait to accomplish all my goals, which most important of all is to inspire others.