“Hey, I was just wondering, how much have you lost?”
Every time I walk into the Lifetime Fitness at Old Orchard, this question or a question similar is asked to me almost daily–sometimes multiple times a day. The days I don’t get asked are more of a shock than when I do. I’m told by both Matt and Miranda that they’re often asked about me even when I’m not even in the Lifetime Fitness building. Matt jokes I’m there so often and well enough known that I’m the Mayor of Lifetime Fitness.
He might not be wrong. But when you drop 200 pounds in a year’s time, people notice. They notice a lot.
It wasn’t always like this. When the countdown really first began, it was on the day I weighed 543 pounds. When you weigh 543 pounds and you walk into an upscale health club–one filled with young, urban families, beautiful people, and regular patrons–well, you sort of stick out–and not in a good way. So IMHO, there was a little bit of a carnival act mentality. Come see the 500+ pound and see if he can will indeed get smaller or end up quitting. I was an oddity.
If you read “Four Guys on a bench”, you know who my first “fans” were. Right there with them were those who were taking the aqua fitness classes on the weekend mornings. The ones who’d see me show up at 7:45am, take class, then work for another 30-40 minutes in the pool on my own. Most of the trainers were next. They saw I was determined, never gave up, and see me sitting on the couch half dead to the world.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure when I went from oddity to inspirational. When the gawking became thumbs up, the questions began, and people stopping me became routine. At first I wasn’t sure how to take it. I was no where close to goal. How could I be inspirational? And how was I inspirational? Policemen, firefighters, people who cure cancer–those people are inspirational. I’m just a guy who needed to lose 300+ pounds.
Then there’s the days I don’t make goal or a week where things aren’t going well. What do you say to someone who says “great job” when you gained 7 pounds because you ate taco bell and pizza this week and missed goal? Monday is the worst. If I don’t make goal, I’m usually in a pretty shitty mood. It’s the worst time for someone to approach me like this. It’s gotten to where Matt has run interference sometimes.
But sometimes those comments come at just the right moment. If you read my Georgette post, I can only tell you that’s one of many moments like that. During my 340s period, a man named Bob approached me. He’d noticed I’d been frustrated lately and wanted me to keep up the good work. What’s amusing is I didn’t know Bob so how he knew I’d been struggling lately is beyond me. Or maybe it’s one of those moments where I don’t want to get back on the treadmill and Steve, who again I don’t know, says some nice words and I feel motivated to get those last steps in to reach 10,000 that day.
That’s when I realized, even when I didn’t need it or deserve it, it was important to say thank you, introduce myself, and get their name. Because it’s not often in this world people go out of their way for anyone or anything. And everyday I someone does that for me when they didn’t have to. It’s also when I knew I needed to return that to others. When there’s somebody who looks like me in the building and I see them, I make sure I introduce myself. I also try to help and talk with those who ask because it’s important.
Because it’s kind of who I am now. After all, I’m the Mayor right?