What does fitness look like to you?  Everyone has a slightly different idea of what that looks like, but for myself it always included a strong physical appearance, some muscle definition (especially abs) – the typical Hollywood presentation.  When I would think about getting in shape, that was the type of imagery I had in mind.  Here’s a little secret people don’t always mention at the beginning – when you lose a lot of weight, the skin that covered that weight is still there.  There is some contraction of skin after extreme weight loss, but not enough to make it all “go away.”  I lost 95 pounds and 10 inches around my waist; almost 10 pounds of muscle are added back but I still have folds of skin hanging around my belly.  It’s something that I am learning to deal with.  The skin doesn’t just disappear (short of surgery) so, yeah – I just wasn’t expecting it.

Dealing with preconceived notions

This is a common occurrence; we all leap to conclusions and assumptions as we go through life – sometimes without any supporting evidence:

“If I go back to school, I will get a better job.”

“If I lose the weight, I will have a six pack.”

Those assumptions can spur us along and encourage us to make a move.  Often, though, our preconceived notions keep us from taking a chance on ourselves or others:

“That person I like is probably not interested in me; why would they be?”

“I can’t lose this weight; it’s just too hard.”

“I’m not a morning person, I could never get up and work out early.”

The truth is you are capable of so much more than you believe, both physically and mentally.  The great part of completing a huge challenge, like a Spartan, is walking away thinking, “If I can do that – I can do anything!!

That is exactly where I found myself a year ago; after training and preparing we went to Chicago, June 2017, and completed the Spartan Super.  From a physical and mental standpoint it was, hands down, the hardest thing I had ever done.  I had already signed up for two more Spartan races and various other events by then, but they didn’t seem so scary any more.  Building on that has been the driver for so many more successes, both at races and in other parts of life.  If my shiver and I hadn’t completed that one, would Amy and I have started the 1DOS Foundation?  I can’t say for sure, but the momentum made a world of difference.

Building on victories

At 1DOS, we encourage people to strive for progress, not perfection.  Build on each little win and turn it into the next win.  Complete a goal and move on to the next one.  When I started losing weight, I had a goal number in mind (248, which would have been 75 pounds).  That goal was shared with my sainted wife; I never told anyone else what that number was.  I knew if I publicly set out to lose 75, I would feel like I failed if I “only” dropped 50.  I realized that was a huge number and if I had setback days or weeks, it would be easy to slide into the negative.  To avoid that, I worked for 10 pound increments.  My focus was on getting to 310, then 300, and so on.  By breaking down the big number and achieving smaller successes, I continued to move forward.

In the end, I beat my goal by quite a bit.  A big moment for me at the end of 2017 was donating 8 boxes of clothes to charity; both from before and the set I had to buy halfway through (I looked like a slob; nothing fit!!).  That was a double win – I made it, and I’m not going back, so I don’t need these clothes anymore.  (Full disclosure: I did hold on to them for 8 months at a steady weight before pulling the trigger and donating…)

So… What are you trying to say??

When we allow assumptions to drive our actions, we are not allowing ourselves to reach full potential.  It would be nice to plan ahead, but life has a funny way of changing our paths.  Heck, even something as simple as this blog post has gone a totally different direction than I originally planned.  How can we know what will happen from day to day?  Set goals, do your best, measure your progress and reassess your goals.  That is the way forward.  Now, go get it done!!!