I’m guessing you don’t have your hand up.
Truth is, none of us wants to be fat; it just kinda happens. Chances are good that you can remember a day when your clothes fit and you didn’t get winded walking up a flight of stairs or think much about your midsection. That was me, and then it wasn’t, and now it is again.
Today, I weigh 180 lbs with 15% body fat, which my trainer tells me is “very good” for a man in his forties. I also run a 3:10 marathon pace (that’s a sub 7 minute mile per mile for 26 miles) and have qualified for the Boston Marathon.
But it wasn’t always this way. Just six years ago I weighed 235 pounds and couldn’t catch my kids in a 100-yard foot race for a ball across the park while trying to hold up my saggy jeans. I didn’t want my life to be like it was and I certainly didn’t enjoy being that big, but heck, I was kinda just doing life, working hard, raising kids, and eating whatever I felt like eating.
Addiction of any kind is a hard beast to slay. If you didn’t know that already you wouldn’t be reading. It doesn’t matter if your addiction is food, drink, laziness or porn. I have yet to meet a person who truly wants to be a slave to any addiction, but the slippery slopes of life do happen to the best of us.
We all struggle with something, which means we all (hopefully) have visions of what our lives could look like if we could only get over our current addictions and struggles. We have no shortage of dreams about being fit, being healthy, being amazing lovers and/or incredible parents. However, what I have lacked in the past—and even sometimes in the present—are the motivation and the discipline to achieve my visions for the future by shaping my now.
Motivation for my weight loss began with the simple challenge that came from three younger friends of mine to compete in a triathlon, with “bragging rights” to be had by the winner. I’m competitive, they were co-workers, and the challenge hit me at just the right time in my life to be the source of motivation I needed to get healthy, get lean, and get fast. That simple motivation led to the discipline that followed.
Motivation to kick my addiction to pornography came from my core spiritual life and values.
I wanted to be right with God, honoring to my wife, and a worthy father to my children. And honestly, I wanted to no longer be ashamed of my actions. I did not want to lose any of these important things or to waste the life before me. These core loves drove my discipline and my accountability that led to change. Even now, when a bad habit of smoking has crept into my life in the last couple of years, I have had to search for my motivation to lay this habit down. (Yes, I fully see the brutal irony over and over again in this nasty habit being aligned in direct opposition to my health in running and eating, so spare me the extra commentary and hear the confession.)
Motivation for change must come from within you. It must be something that you want. Your motivation for change in your life must be yours and yours alone. I have seen the people closest to me overcome by personal battles that were completely “curable.” Why? Because they did not find their motivation to bring about the change needed in their lives, and as a result, lost everything (or most everything) that they loved and held dear.
You’ve probably been witness to this too in the lives of people you love. It’s more than head scratching, it’s sad and it’s heartbreaking, but ultimately it’s upon each of us personally to find our motivation for change and a new way of life.
Building a tolerance for pain seems like the craziest, dumbest advice that one could give to another if they are going to succeed in overcoming a personal struggle or addiction. Dave Ramsey says that if you want to get out of debt then you should learn to eat beans and rice. That sounds like building a tolerance for pain.
Endurance athletes will tell you that, if you want to win the race, you have to learn how to “endure hurt” on your training days, staying out longer and going farther and becoming accustomed to your body aching almost all of the time. That sounds like building a tolerance for pain.
We users of pornography must learn to be accountable with our thoughts, our time, and our actions with full disclosure to others whom we trust, and if sharing the ugliest parts of ourselves with someone else isn’t learning to build a tolerance for pain, then I don’t know what is.
Here’s the key: building a tolerance for pain amounts to discipline. Discipline, doing a healthy action over and over again to produce positive results, is painful but, thankfully, it’s also beneficial.
Vision serves as the hope and of the roadmap towards a new future. Motivation and discipline yield the results, shaping the present and leading to our health.
I know it hurts, but it’s worth it.