Those of you who have read my story, know that I was fat and weak suffering from asthma and sinusitis for the major part of my life. The journey from there to here has been pretty remarkable really and when I look back, I have a lot of people to thank… from my first and hardest client Vidya who taught me why a sustainable diet is the best diet, to legit fitness pros like my bud JD who calls clean eating a scam.
Before I started started doing the whole healthy eating and staying active gig, I was this average chubby dude who worked a desk job, thought Chili’s was fingerlickin awesome and never did anything physically taxing whatsoever… or in short… I was like most of today’s youngsters.
‘I’m sure that diet soda is good for me! Gotto work on that 3rd chin ya know’
On 24th Nov ’07, I went on a one day trip to Yosemite with a bunch of friends. After hitting the usual ‘Holy shit this is beautiful!’ spots, we decided to hike. I knew I was in pretty bad shape (yes, even to hike) and somehow convinced the rest of the gang that we should go on a relatively short hike. As a result we chose a hike that was just 2 miles total with a moderate ascent. As we started the hike, things were cool. I hung back chillin with a buddy who wasn’t too keen on the exercise part of the hike and was, like me, more interested in just getting to the top (I should mention here that this was my first ever hike).
10 mins into the hike, I realized I was finding it slightly hard to breathe. Another 5 mins and I was gasping for breath (which I tried to hide in every way possible). 5 more mins and I’m on my knees having an asthma attack, frantically groping my backpack in search of my elixir a.k.a inhaler. Once I found it and gave myself the breath of life, I briefly look up the hill and I see something that shocked the bejesus outa me… the rest of my buddies were actually running up the hill! You have got to be freakin kiddin me!
As I look at them in disbelief, a flood of thoughts slap me hard and I hear myself saying –
‘You are a 24 yr old who has been blessed immensely with anything and everything. You are lucky to be financially stable to afford more than 3 exquisite meals a day. You have all your limbs intact. You have the time to workout and stay fit. But… today, even with all this, you find yourself on your knees literally praying that you remembered to bring your steroid because you are physically incapable of walking up 1 mile!’
Well, this might sound insignificant to you, but that very moment changed
something everything. That incident…
- told me how literally incapable I was.
- showed how far down the fitness ladder I was.
- made me compare myself to a diseased 80 yr old.
- shoved a boot up my ass to start doing something about my health
- made me realize I was literally destroying my body in the name of ‘living it up’.
It was only after this realization struck me that I started doing something about my health. My usual lines – “Life’s too short! Eat a cookie… or 12”, “What’s life without pizza everyday”, “Soda… it’s what the cool kids drink”, “I’m on a strict junk food diet!”, “Healthy wha?! Fast food FTW!”… didn’t sound too cool anymore. I started eating more real food. I fought my way into running a mile without stopping and then 2 and then 5 and then 15. I developed enough interest to read about the food I was eating and the training stimulus I was subjecting my body to. Sure my diet is a lot saner and my training is a lot smarter today, but that was the day that made the difference!
But you know whats funny? Until this day, my friends who ran up the hill that day have no idea about any of this! Nada! Zilch!
So what’s my point?
- You don’t know the impact your actions can have on someone else. Everything you do affects someone in someway. You might do nothing different yourself, but you might have just changed everything for someone else!
- Observe everything and everyone. You have something to learn from everyone and everything. It could be the nerdy neighbor who is obsessive about everything he does or the supremely fat lady who pigs out at Fresh Choice everyday!
So here’s to Mahesh, Panch and Manu for doing nothing different… but changing everything for me!
@ Yosemite on 24th Nov ’07
And for those of you who made it this far… share your experiences and share the post. Inspire someone! Who knows, maybe you’ll save a life or two!