Watching others succeed while you stand idly by

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That used to be me. I used to watch others start diets, new lifestyles, or fitness regimes and I would stay in my comfort zone and not change a thing. I would watch these people transition from their former selves into the new versions of themselves, typically healthier and in better shape. I would think back to when they started and think to myself, “If only I’d have started something then, I’d be where they are now.”

That used to bother me. As a 50-year old guy, I’ve watched lots of people through the years start one plan or another, and sure, some fail, but when people succeed, it’s motivating and also a little disappointing when you realize that the success that person is having could have been you. It’s part of what motivated me to finally get off my butt and do something about my health.

I remember stepping out of the shower and looking at myself and realizing that I was not just horribly out of shape, but incredibly and morbidly obese. I had to do something. I thought about the people I knew who all started doing something about their health and fitness, and how they left me behind. I could have been right there with them, but I chose to do nothing.

And that’s the point: you chose to do nothing. It’s an active decision to decide to not be an active participant in your own health, fitness, and wellbeing. Watching what you eat, cooking foods from whole ingredients, eating only foods that are made from whole ingredients, avoiding chemicals and artificial ingredients, eating right-sized portions, and getting some activity are all things we should be doing naturally. Instead, we choose to shovel anything into our faces that appears or that tastes good and is easy to prepare, or worse, prepared for us at a fast-food place.

Getting the ingredients for healthy meals takes time and effort. Cooking for yourself takes time and effort. But guess what: that time and effort is good for you. It’s meditative, it teaches you about the food you’re eating, and most importantly, it is healthy for you.

I can think of no fewer than a dozen people I’ve seen over the years transform themselves from unhealthy to healthy, and I recall feeling defeated because I had the same opportunity to start when they did and I chose to not do so. I am glad I chose to be an active participant in my health and to do something about it. A whole new world opened up, and I am no longer on the sidelines or on the couch.

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