When Daniel was kicked off The Biggest Loser last season, my heart broke into a million pieces. I wanted that child, (he was only a teenager!!) to have the opportunity to change his life. He wasn’t just the youngest person on the Biggest Loser ever, but the biggest person on the Biggest Loser ever! And I thought he lost his shot.
So my heart melted into goo when I saw him return because I saw that the producers of the show must have seen that too. Or they got a lot of letters. (I should have been one of them.) Because how can you turn away a teenager who’s facing such an enormous health issue? He’s just a kid! No kid should ever have to go through this. Ever. At more than 450 pounds, he needed to be there. As much as the people last season and the seasons before, he needed to be there! He needed a chance to change his life. And they gave it to him.
Now, he’s broken into the 200′s!! And have you seen him lately?? Not just his weight, I mean him. As a person.
This is why I cry when I watch the Biggest Loser.
The weightloss journey is so much more than a weightloss journey. It’s a journey of self-discovery.
Because one day, you wake up to find that you are bigger than you ever have been. You don’t see how you got there, you just see that you are there now. You become desperate. And panicky. And you don’t have any idea where on earth you are going to start. Because now you have habits and rituals and people who join in these habits and rituals with you. And any change, especially change that actually physically hurts, sucks. You’re at your personal rock bottom.
And in your life, people look past you.
They treat you differently.
They don’t see the person that you know you are when they look at you.
They don’t know who you were before you gained weight. Or they don’t know who you are inside. They don’t see your demons or know how or why you’ve gained weight. They don’t know if it’s hormones, or emotional, or post-partum, or genetics, or disease, or any of the millions of ways people gain weight. They just see the outside and they pass by you without a second glance or they treat you like you’ve done something to yourself to deserve people treating you differently and badly, and it hurts.
You have come to believe that the person you once knew doesn’t exist anymore. That he or she may have never existed. So now you not only feel desperate, you feel lost, too.
And you ask yourself, “Who am I now?”
This is why I believe the weightloss journey is so wonderful.
Because eventually you figure it out. And you figure out you are not only exactly who you knew once or knew existed, you find out you are so.much.more. than that.
You have so much more inside you than anyone ever thought, including yourself.
You find out you’re persistent. You figure out that you do, indeed, know how to say ‘no’. You figure out your threshhold of pain and then you figure out you can pass it. You know how good it feels to have pushed on, even though you felt like quitting 20 times. You figure out that you have it inside you to outsmart yourself; you find out that you’re clever because you find ways to make yourself want to keep going, to get you out the door. You find tools to keep yourself motivated. You figure out what works and what doesn’t. You learn to love change.
Because you begin to like doing things you’ve never liked before and you begin doing things you never thought you would ever do. You figure out if you’re a do-it-yourself-er or a need-a-buddy person. You figure out that you can do anything for 30 seconds or 3 minutes then eventually 10 and then 30 minutes and maybe even 2 HOURS. You know what it’s like to venture outside of your comfort zone. You learn that you are brave.
You learn what it feels like to fail and then you learn what it feels like to stand up to failure. You learn how to defend the self you know you are against people who have tried to set your limits for you. You’ve learned how valuable you and because of this you figure out that you have the power to say ‘no’ to negative influences and naysayers. You’ve figured out that you truly are capable of anything, despite (or because of!) your age or your sex or your circumstances.
You begin to see yourself change on the outside and it changes you on the inside and it’s because you know the hell you went through on this journey to do it! You figured out that it wasn’t easy, but you also figured out that you can do things that aren’t easy!
And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
You also saw goals reached, achieved and surpassed. Scale and non-scale victories, you shed blood, sweat and tears to finish an entire 60 minutes on an elliptical, do 20 pushups consecutively, or cross a finish line.
No one did that for you.
And you find that there is nothing more gratifying and satisfying than having each step, each breathless breath, count for something.
I can see that in Daniel’s face.
Now, if you’re watching the show, you’ll know he had a rough emotional week this week. And that’s all part of the journey he’s on, that we’re all on. There are phases that one goes through as they make these adjustments, looking back at the past and looking toward your future. Seeing the mistakes you made and burying the guilt.
That’s why it’s called a journey.
Because at first you don’t believe you’re actually losing weight. You think each milestone is a fluke. And during the journey, you surprise yourself over and over again until you actually start to believe that it is, indeed, actually you who is propelling yourself forward and bringing you to this new place. This new, wonderful, undiscovered, exciting place of figuring out who on earth you are. And on the flip-side, seeing where you were. On this journey, you unlock things you never even knew were there!
When Daniel interviews on the Biggest Loser, when he talks to the other contestants, the confidence he’s gained from the journey literally pours out of him. Because he has started to figure it out himself. You can literally see each scale and non-scale victory in his face, in his eyes, and the passion and drive for more of them. You can see that he finally believes that there is no limit to what he can do and the battles he can fight and the battles he can win.
He reminds me of what we have in all of us.
There is no limit. You just have to believe it.
And that’s why I love this journey.
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