Whatever Doesn’t Kill You

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My friends, that old saying is the absolute truth. I mentioned to you last time that I’ve been going through a bit of a tough time (and that is putting it extremely mildly) and that this situation has affected my eating. When I was in the thick of things and did not want to face reality, I resorted to old patterns of food addiction: hiding food, sneaking food and bingeing. I used to eat pints of ice cream before bed. I used to snack on candy bars washed down with soda. I used to have an extra helping here and there saying to myself, “Eh, it’ll be OK, I’ll just work it off.”

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They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My friends, that old saying is the absolute truth. I mentioned to you last time that I’ve been going through a bit of a tough time (and that is putting it extremely mildly) and that this situation has affected my eating. When I was in the thick of things and did not want to face reality, I resorted to old patterns of food addiction: hiding food, sneaking food and bingeing. I used to eat pints of ice cream before bed. I used to snack on candy bars washed down with soda. I used to have an extra helping here and there saying to myself, “Eh, it’ll be OK, I’ll just work it off.”

Well, as much as I was lying to myself and evading the truth, the scale was not lying back to me. When I joined a mixed martial arts class 3 months ago my goal was to lose that final 10-15 pounds I regained when my mom died, the same weight I was keeping on because of my old patterns and not facing reality. Little did I know, that class would be part of my ultimate salvation. Let me explain.

When you’re in denial, (it ain’t just a river in Egypt) you say to yourself “I can have this. I’ll just work it off.” And that’s true, in part. You do eventually work off what you ate, but you know what you ate was bad. When you do workout, as I had done in my martial arts class, it just gets you back to your original starting point. That’s why those in denial, like me, never seem to get off that weight plateau. You lie to others and yourself about the types of things you eat and when, then do your best to erase the shame of it by working out. That is the pattern of addiction and it gets you nowhere fast.

When I went through the tough time, it forced me to face truths about myself that many of us seldom face, including how I was lying to myself all that time about food. My weight wasn’t budging because I was maintaining it by “using” bad foods. That’s when it clicked in my head, and finally seeing the root of my problems helped me start getting past them and stop my patterns of eating.

When that happened, my martial arts classes took on whole new meaning. I “got” them and how Zen they can make you feel. My sensei, Doug Shaffer, would show me exercises and moves that not only helped me work out my muscles but also helped me shed the mental garbage that was making me eat. I began losing weight again. My thighs and love handles became smaller. My arms had more definition to them. I could actually do 6 honest push-ups for the first time in my life. It helped me clear my mind and focus my energies on the one thing I’d been neglecting for far too long… me.

Weight loss is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. It really is. I’m now just 5 pounds from re-achieving my goal weight and I’m psyched! I now also know a peace I’ve never known before and it’s coming through in both my life and in my weight loss journey and fitness regimen. My situation didn’t kill me, but it helped to break down and destroy the old me and, in its place, create a new me that is at once healthier and stronger, both mentally and physically.

Blog written by Bill Larson
Bill Ivory Larson has lost a total of 175 pounds, without surgery or a special diet. In 2005, when he moved from Chicago to...