My Ghost at DLD New York City
During DLD New York last week, delegates attending the conference were shown an array of photographs of past DLD speakers. I am grateful to have been a past speaker at DLD. However, when this photo of me appeared, it shocked me a bit since I don’t ever remember looking like this, even though there are some people who only know me looking like this. (The photo reminds me of Peter Griffin from Family Guy)
During the conference a number of people made it a point to make sure I saw this image. A day before the conference, the New York Times published -“Biggest Losers Fight a Slower Metabolism.” This story is about a study of contestants from “The Biggest Loser” who found their metabolisms slowed during and after the competition, making it difficult to maintain weight loss. This article received a lot of attention from their readers and generated more than 2,500 comments, which lead to this story –Readers Respond to The Biggest Loser.
And there it happened. A journey I started back in 2012 and I thought was behind me was immediately back in front of me. I thought I had moved on, having shifted my weight loss story as just one of the things I have achieved in my life, and not something which was on my mind. I blame the old photo appearing at DLD and the coincidence of the story appearing in the New York Times for making me think about my weight loss journey again. As a result, I was inspired to share this personal update.
For the update, this is the “me” I know today:
And this isn’t the “me” who others knew at other points of my life.
As many of my friends know, in July 2012 I decided to make a change in my life and found a way to eventually “outsource” over 120 pounds and avoid having gastric bypass surgery. Early in 2012, I purchased 41 books on health, wellness, fitness and food and started a weight loss journey where over time I gradually changed the way I approached food and the way I lived. And during this time I started to make an effort to exercise. My commitment to exercise started out slowly and during the first month, I spent 5-7 minutes every few days at a nearby park exercising. Over a few months this morphed into making an effort to visit the gym for an hour or more at least three times a week, sometimes more, and I had a daily goal to earn at least 10,000 steps. In October 2012 I started to share my journey on Facebook and in March, 2014 I gave a TEDx talk about what I called “Crowd Sourced Motivation.”
And then boom! Everything for me came to a crashing stop on October 28, 2014. I was in Tel Aviv and had registered to be part of the Tel Aviv 10k Night run because I was in good enough shape to be a part of it. But on October 28th 2014, just hours before the Tel Aviv 10k Night Run, due to dehydration / low electrolytes, I suffered a seizure while sitting in a chair which resulted in the dislocation of my right shoulder, fracturing two bones in my shoulder and tearing seven muscles off my bone. I had reconstructive surgery in early November 2014 and I had physical therapy two to three days a week from January until October 2015. Along that time I dealt with a lot of pain, discomfort, discovered what mindfulness meant to me and learned how to heal and embrace living day-to-day and enjoying every day. It was during my recovery when I decided to share more sunrises and sunsets on Instagram.
While recovering from the seizure, I gained back some of my weight after I went from daily physical activity to just about no physical activity. Months went by before I could really move again. I was more worried about falling down and hurting my shoulder than working out. Before I trained with my friend Zoltan, my post-recovery food choices resulted in feeling bloated. I was aware of how I looked and tried my best to deal with it. In October 2015, I started to become active again in my physical activity. As of today I am back in shape and the bloating I was carrying with me, has disappeared. As someone who decided against gastric bypass surgery, I have also passed on doing skin surgery to deal with my excess skin. If you didn’t know it, it may appear that I have gained a few pounds around the waist but in reality I am carrying a daily remainder of what happens when you are able to lose over 100 pounds.
Crazy as it seems, I am now able to run faster than I could before my seizure. I have made it my point to only work out twice a week and not allow myself to obsesses on spending even more time in the gym. On the food front, I have discovered a way of eating with intention which works for me and I am grateful to no longer have to deal with bad acid reflux and my Spring and Summer allergies have been gone since the Summer of 2013.
The results from making exercise a part of my life is something I believe will have a lasting effect in my future. My original inspiration for exercise was to help me feel stronger and increase the quality of my life. At first I was driven to have the strength to do a one-armed pushup. As time moved on, my focus changed. My body continues to transform and so do I. While I never considered myself an athlete, or someone flexible or very coordinated, these days the person I used to know and the person I have become are becoming one. Surreal at times but another reminder to me that as long as I believe anything is possible, anything is possible. Sometimes we just need to put ourselves into environment, which supports us and helps us manifest our dreams.
I am grateful I started a life journey where I was able to “outsource” 120+ pounds without surgery. It took me a year to reach my first weight goal and I am grateful I have been able to keep most of the weight off and find balance in how I approach living with regard to both exercise and food.
If you are thinking of making a change, focus your mind on the journey and start. The power to make the change comes from within.
I am happy to help share my experiences with anyone whom this could be helpful for. Nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself. When you believe, anything can happen.
Warm hugs, Jeff
p.s. My next conference is Pulver HWC / “How We Communicate” taking place in Los Gatos, CA on May 18-19.
p.p.s. In case you are interested in Spirituality and/or Astrophotography, please take a look at pulverSSF. I am hosting a special conference in August in one of the best places in the world to see, feel and connect with the stars.