Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rebuilding: Wake Your Body And Your Taste Buds

This is the first in a series of stories about how I have been rebuilding my life.

I spent the majority of my life being overweight and in terrible physical shape.  I would live in constant physical pain.  I would spend my day at work sitting and doing very little and then go home, sit and do nothing.

At one point, I was in such bad shape that I weighed well over 300 pounds.  I don't know exactly how much over since my scale only went up to 300.

At a family BBQ in 2009.  This isn't even me at my worst which was to come.

I didn't care about anything.  I was content with just living through the constant back and knee pain.  I bought sized 3XL shirts and hated the way I looked.  I looked like a huge freaking bell.  Many times, I would tell myself, "that's it!  Starting tomorrow, it's time to start getting in shape!"  That was usually while I was on my way to work and then the motivation would completely disappear at the end of the day.

My diet consisted of crap.  Junk.  Because it was cheap and made me feel relaxed at the end of, what I thought was a tough day.  But seriously, what is so physically hard about a job where you literally sit on your butt all day?

My awful diet, if you can even call it that, got so out of hand that when I was at my absolute worst, I would order a pizza meal for dinner that was supposed to feed a family of four.  And I would order this thing at least twice a week since I had a pizza place that was a quick 2 minute walk away from me.

Twice a week!  A large pizza with 3 toppings, 10 fried chicken nuggets, two dipping sauces and 4 cans of soda.  TWICE A WEEK!  Add that to the crap I was eating on the other days.  Burgers, triple-decker sandwiches, chocolate bars, doughnuts....pure garbage!  That was my life for so long.

Then in December 2013, something happened in my life that completely made me hit rock bottom.  One of those situations where you realize who your true friends are, and in this case, are NOT.  Only days after this went down, we got hit with an ice storm here in Toronto that took out the power of a lot of residents, myself included.

I was in a very bad place.  And now I had no electricity which the city was saying could take up to a week to restore.  To make things worse, My annual holidays started at the same time.  So it was me in the dark with nothing to do but think.  And with where my head was at, it was a very rough situation.

(May, 2014) Day 50 of my rebuilding process.

I had to get out of the house, so I walked to my local mall to see if there was anything going on there.  There was electricity but very little.  Most of the stores were closed but there were people EVERYWHERE.  And it was one of the most depressing sights I had ever seen.  Hordes of people lined up at every electrical outlet available to the public.  People camped out to charge their devices so they could watch movies and shows on their iPads, iPods and laptops.  Most of these people were in fine shape and there they were throwing their lives away.  Slaves to technology.  I found a place to sit in the mall and fought tears as I could not believe what I was seeing.  I left the mall and walked back home.

My power was restored after two days and my head was a complete mess.  I spent Christmas with family and it did very little to help.  I spent New Years alone.  Then on January 2nd, 2014, still feeling depressed and with another week or so left in my holidays, I said, "screw it!"  I grabbed a yoga mat that I had bought 5 months earlier and started my rebuilding process.

Day 274.  October 2nd, 2014

I laid the yoga mat out on my living room floor, and for the next 10 minutes, I did the most basic yoga poses you can think of while I put 'The Soprano's' on via DVD.  Ten minutes was all I was able to do.  The next day, I was in crazy pain.  My body had been in a coma for so long that it was just waking up.  Despite the pain, I did another ten minutes of basic yoga and watched more 'Soprano's'.

The pain quickly went away as I kept at it.  My body was waking up.  But this journey meant more than just working on my body.  It meant changing what I eat.  I completely dropped the pizza and junk and took advantage of the supermarket across the street and canvassed the fresh produce section on a daily basis.  I came to realize that not only was my body asleep for years, so were my taste buds.

The junk I was eating on a daily basis killed my sense of taste.  When I took that first taste of a fresh clementine, the flavors exploded in my mouth!  And I wanted more!  As time went on and I became more disciplined with my eating habits, I was getting hungry less, and therefore, SPENDING less on food.

When we consume garbage food, it does nothing good for our body because it contains ingredients the body does not use.  Thus, we eliminate it through our poops (that's right!  I said poops!) and become hungry again sooner.  The ingredients in the garbage foods, like sugar, that our body keeps gets turned into fat.  Eating garbage food is cheap because it does very little to satisfy our hunger, therefore we end up buying more and more of it.  Meanwhile, eating healthier foods means more ingredients, vitamins and minerals that our body uses to keep our energy up.  And as our body gets stronger, we end up craving food a lot less and end up spending less on food as a result.  So in the long run, healthy food is actually CHEAPER than junk.  And that is why healthy food is more expensive then junk.

November 4, 2014 (and still going strong!)

Healthy food is more expensive because it is an investment in your health that pays off very quickly.  Junk is simply a temporary solution to fulfill a craving.  I'm not saying that we should all become vegetables or starve ourselves.  I will eat some guilty pleasures every now and then because I know that I will work it off.  The key is that I needed to wake my body up after depriving it for so long.  I built up my metabolism by eating better in the beginning, and once I knew that I had the discipline to work the junk off, I knew it was safe to indulge every once in a while.  But after waking up my taste buds to the awesomeness of healthier foods, a lot of the time I will pass up the junk.  Not because it's junk, but because the good stuff just tastes better.

It is now February 3rd, 2016.  Day 763 of rebuilding.  Working out every day, not because I feel like I have to, but because it has become a regular part of my life.  The first step was waking up my body and taste buds and to not get discouraged at the pain in the beginning.  What should you expect from the first few workouts after a life of immobility?  This pain is what ends up discouraging most people from continuing.  But it goes away quickly.

I was in terrible shape.  Got no exercise.  Weighed well over 300 pounds.  Now I am in the best shape of my life.  Workout every day.  Weigh 240 pounds, last time I checked, building muscle and still going.

There is something that I like to say that I will stick to until I'm dead in the face....Don't tell ME that YOU can't do it!

The first step is to wake up your body and your taste buds.  Start investing in your health.  It's worth it.

Chef Nairby

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