For a lot of people in this world weight is a major issue in their lives. Tv and print have made our lifestyle revolve around weight loss, weight gain, and what we should and should not look like. Todays guest post if by a person who decided that they needed a change in their life. Gerard Martinez took matters into his own hands and turned his life around and today he is an ultra marathoner!
“Every New Year for the past three years, I jot down the same resolution: to stay positive about food and to maintain a healthy relationship with exercise. This may seem like an odd resolution, but for me, it is an important one. When a person loses a lot of weight, as I have, he runs the risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. Taking a healthy, balanced approach to food and exercise is a challenge for me because for most of my life, I was overweight and I came to fear food and feel guilty when I indulged in it. Those feelings of fear and guilt, while they may have lessened over the years, have never fully gone away. I don’t know if they ever will. Allow me to explain:
Three years ago, I weighed over 340 pounds. My waist size was 56 inches. I was clinically obese, on the cusp of becoming diabetic and endangering my life. Then, I made the decision of a lifetime: to alter my lifestyle habits of eating and exercising. I started making healthy food choices and walking everyday. Before long, the weight was coming off. I was shedding pounds in much the same way a pupa sheds its embalmment to become a butterfly. In three years, I lost 180 pounds. It was wonderful.
People often ask me how I managed to lose so much weight. And I always hesitate to answer such a question only because I know they are looking for some sort of method that they can then borrow and apply to their own weight situation. But, weight loss is not a precise science. Human psychology guarantees that. And autobiography doesn’t transfer. What worked for me will not necessarily work for you. Still, I try to recall what methods I used, what philosophies I adapted to turn my life around. It’s sometimes difficult to recall what I did exactly.
Memory is a funny thing. Looking back on the past three years, my recollections are of slow and steady progress. The movie of my mind depicts the process of my weight loss as a gradual but assured phenomenon, like a montage of betterment. One moment I’m fat, the next, I’m thin. But, this is not the way things really were. There were setbacks. There were moments where I genuinely questioned myself and what I was doing.
I would come home to my one-bedroom apartment after long stretch of morning law school classes and I would set about preparing my lunch. My friends at the law school all ate at the cafeteria, which sold an assortment of unhealthy food choices: burritos, fries, tacos, nachos, and chips. I abstained from eating on campus and opted to wait until I could go back to my apartment to cook my lunch. In the meantime, throughout the day I would snack on something light, like an apple or a bunch of grapes. My friends didn’t understand this behavior. They knew I was trying to lose weight; so when they saw me refuse to order lunch with them at the cafeteria, they didn’t hesitate to say I was starving myself. They called me anorexic. There were times when I thought perhaps they were right.
After all, I was cutting back considerably on my calorie intake. Reading the pages of my food journal from back then, I see I was consuming anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day. All of those calories were coming from whole foods – fruits, vegetables, lots of beans and lentils. I think that is a healthy way to lose weight. But, hearing my friends accuse me of being anorexic was poison to my psyche. I was already afraid of eating too much food. Now I had to be afraid of eating too little. It was a confounding predicament.
Aside from eating, people also told me I was running excessively, and that I had exercise bulimia. In truth, I became very passionate about running. I fell in love with it. Every morning and evening, I would run around my college campus. Between classes, I would run the length of the parking lot, just to get the blood flowing. The sheer joy of movement was intoxicating. I couldn’t get enough of it. I became a runner, and eventually, an ultramarathon runner. I became an athlete. But, to my law school friends, from whom I had no support, I was just weird and excessive.
Still, their taunts at the time rang true in my ears because I partly was running to lose weight. I’m not sure when precisely I stopped running to lose weight and started just because I enjoyed it. Maybe that transition never happened. Maybe I still run to this day to manage my weight. If that’s the case, is there something wrong with that mentality? Should I not run to balance out my eating? At what point does it become unhealthy to do so? These, too, are issues that challenge and intrigue me.
So where do I go from here? I am at the start of another year, along with you and the rest of the world. It’s a brand new day. My New Year’s resolutions are firm in hand. Determination is in my heart. What now? How will I confront issues surrounding food and exercise when I still have so many unanswered questions? It’s not a science. There are no definite answers.
I’ve decided that love should be the presiding determinant in all my choices, food and exercise related, or otherwise. You should eat well and plenty because you love good food and, more importantly, because you love yourself. You should exercise, whether that means running or cycling or whatever, because you love to do it and you love what it gives you on a physical, psychological, and spiritual level. It’s a tremendous task to love yourself. The entire self-help industry is devoted to teaching people exactly how to do it. But, the desire and willpower to change must come from within. I, for one, will continue to try and lead a healthy life. Perhaps you will join me. And even if we struggle today, tomorrow is another day.”
Guest posting by Gerard Martinez.
Check out his blog to follow him through a year of fun, running, and life: http://theboywholovestorun.blogspot.com/
Thank you Gerard for sharing your story! It is truly and inspiration to start off the new year!