Happy 14th birthday to me!

Happy 14th birthday to me!!!  Picture this for a moment.  You are sitting with a world renowned surgical doctor and he just told you that you at best have a 50 / 50 chance of surviving an operation you are choosing to have.  As you stare at the floor with tears forming on the bottom of your quivering eye you slowly look up and say to him “That’s better odds than if I don’t have the surgery….I’m 100% dead if I do nothing”. That conversation happened with me and Dr. Michael Grace at the London Health Sciences Centre on May 8th, 2003.

It was fourteen years ago today (May 8th) that I was given the gift of having a gastric bypass surgical procedure that was a tool that led to saving my life.  At the time I was well over 600 pounds and just 35 years old.  Imagine the head space you would be in to risk your life with 50 / 50 odds of surviving the surgery.  There were many challenges with the procedure.  Most notably, the amount of anesthetic they’d need to keep me under during the procedure.  I was at the high end of super morbidly obese patients that they’d operated on and they hadn’t had good success with consistency on the anesthetic.  It was an educated scientific ‘guess’.  Not enough and I’d wake up…too much and my heart would stop.

Fourteen years later, hear I stand.  I’m confident that in 2003, based on the trajectory and speed in which I was continuing to gain weight and becoming less and less mobile that I would not have lived much longer than a couple more years.  As I write this, my heart is filled with so much gratitude that I have trouble focusing my thoughts.  As a result of this tool given to me it allowed me to experience so much more life and touch so many lives.

Along the way I learned a great deal and celebrated many great successes.  I’d be lying though if I said I didn’t make some huge mistakes, misjudgements and had given in to temptation while letting old habits creep back in.  I guess that’s what makes one human right?

Lately, I’m really struggling but every day I treat like it is my first day again.  I get to wake up and take another swing at it.  I still have a lot of questions about what happened to me in my early life.  Look, you don’t just overeat a little bit and get to be over 600 pounds.  That’s just not normal.  Consequently, I’ve been trying to search for the answers over the years.  I don’t have them all yet but someday I hope my memory will stop trying to protect me and reveal the truth.  Today though, I simply keep working at staying healthy.

I’m so friggin’ grateful that I am alive.  Really, I can’t express how it feels to know that you had a death sentence and then you were granted a second chance.  I’M ALIVE!

When I started to lose the weight and people’s perception of me changed, so did things around me.  Relationships changed and some ended.  Some of the people I thought were going to be in my life forever are no longer on the radar.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that but I’m very ok with it now.  I recognize that some people are only meant to be in your life for a little while and when those reasons are completed then your move on and continue on your journey.  It’s really that simple.

I’m an empath and I milk in the energy around me.  We each have those things that we leverage to get us through or motivate us.  For me, one of the biggest motivating tools I use is music.  There has been one song for me that has motivated me, made me angry, happy, humble, sad and aggressive.  It was at the beginning of my journey, the middle and still today as I stand here.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, there will be many hurdles in your path.  Don’t let the bastards bring you down.  Battle through, rage on and celebrate the wins.  Because “It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock n Roll”.

It’s never too late to start again

This week I turn 49.  I can’t believe that’s MY age.  As you get older and you look at your life about choices you’ve made, mistakes you’ve made and situations you can have a ‘do over’ in….there is one thing that I’ve come to realize: it’s never too late to start over.

As Frank Sinatra so eloquently put it “regrets, I’ve had a few“.  But hey, life happens right.  I’m sure you’ve been through periods of your life when you reflect and think to yourself that you’d make different choices if you could do it again.   I can say that for the most part, I wouldn’t change much.  Yeah, life sucked being over 600 pounds and every single day was a physical, mental and emotional challenge.  But in my heart of hearts I kind of feel like that was the journey I was supposed to go on.  It made me into the man I am today.  And I kind of like the man I am today.  So never apologize for the travelling the road that got you here today.

My emotions run deep and my heart is on my sleeve and I think my emotional intelligence and awareness has allowed me to help others and experience empathy to a deeper level.  I genuinely feel for people and have the ability to absorb energy.  That might sound a little out there but it’s the truth.  Had I not been on my journey through morbid obesity I don’t believe I’d be this way.

That said, my body has taken a s**t kicking and as I turn 49 I am now feeling the effects of carrying more than 600 pounds around for so many years.  And through other changes in my life I’ve also slacked off on my promise to myself to stay in control of my eating and physical fitness.  And with that in mind as I launch into the sprint to 50 over the next 365 days I will be starting over again.  That’s the cool things about life, it’s never too late to start over.  Chin up, head down….join me and let’s do this.  More details and daily videos will be coming here soon.

Love yourself.

​Joël

The power of forgiveness

It’s never easy to say “I’m sorry”.  I still struggle with it.  Forgiveness is a powerful thing and the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

Throughout the phases of life it’s easy to dismiss the most important individual in your journey….YOU!  As you look back at the experiences, the mistakes, the relationships, the bad judgement, the ‘wish I could do overs’ and all the times you messed up…well…it’s just hard to look passed it.  It’s easy to feel completely broken and overwhelmed from it and there are days when it’s so easy to take all the blame too.

Lately, I’ve been looking back and reviewing my life.  Geez…there were some tough times, tough decisions and frankly….I messed up a lot.  And the more and more I dwelled on the hiccups and bumps in the road I found that my reactions were all negative.  Why?  Because I was focused on the negative.  But when you change the way you think about things, see the triumphs and the mountains you’ve climbed you suddenly see that things are as they should be.  Those experiences, good and bad made you who you are today.

And then there is the forgiveness part.  When I would go to the gym and workout to lose more and more of the ‘evil’ fat that was on my body I would get so angry.  The anger was pointed at me.  How on earth could I let myself become a 600 pound worthless sack of crap?  As I was working out I would call myself names, tell myself that I didn’t deserve any goodness in life and that everything that happened to me I deserved it.  In all the years I felt the world was so cruel to me here I was being the cruelest of them all.

Finally, I started to forgive myself.  I had to learn how to do that and it was not easy.  And there are still days that I have to work at it.  I learned to forgive myself that I am human and I make mistakes and learn about life as I go along.  I’ve made amends with myself for the errors I’ve made, punishments I’ve given to myself and hurt I’ve caused.  When you can say “I’m sorry” to yourself and truly believe it then you will begin to love again.

Forgive yourself and allow yourself to heal and love.
Once I started forgiving myself I found love twice.  Once within my own heart and the other with my soul mate.  I will never again question the power of forgiving.

Uphill both ways

Have you ever had those days where you feel like you’re walking uphill both ways, in a snow storm, with only newspapers on your feet?  Anybody that has ever said that ‘losing weight is easy’ doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about.  I’m sick and tired of seeing game shows like The Biggest Loser and hearing the banter on the show and in media that calls out people that battle weight.  It actually pisses me off A LOT.

When I was about 14 years old I went to see my small town doctor about having issues with my weight.  (This was in the early 1980’s and in those days I was the ‘rare’ fat kid in my class.) The doctor told me there was a fix for me to lose weight….STOP EATING SO MUCH.  Wow, thanks tips.  You’ve been practicing medicine for 40 years and that’s the best you have???

After battling weight and obesity for most of my life I have an opinion….a STRONG one about weight and happiness.  There is a huge difference between being healthy and having optimal numbers on the scale.  Any health professional or doctor that tells you the number on the scale must be perfect for your height, gender and age for good health is full of s**t.  (my opinion)  However, my opinion is based on personal experience and conversations with some of the top experts in health and medicine.  There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration for optimal body weight.  Including but not limited to bone density, muscle mass and many more.  As an example, when I was 240 pounds I was in peak physical condition, results from medical exams were in the 98% area of optimal health and I was strong like a bull.  BUT by standards on the obesity charts I was still technically OBESE because I was 80 pounds more than the charts said I should be.  BULLS**T!

All this to say, the next time somebody tells you that losing weight is easy then I’d suggest you give them a pair of your runners and tell them to go ahead and walk the mile you just walked.  Because your mile was spent on a trail that felt like it was uphill both ways.  Be great, be happy and do your best to stay on track today.

On my journey today I’ll put one foot in front of the other and do what it takes to get over the hill…..in both directions…..uphill both ways.  Come on…..let’s conquer a hill today.  Those small steps you take will eventually lead you to conquering a mountain.

Believe in YOUrself !

There have been many days where I felt the stress, depression and sadness were too much to deal with.  Being told to ‘believe in yourself‘ isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, that is for sure!

When I was over 600 pounds, from the moment I would open my eyes, I simply wanted to close them again and make the world go away.  Here’s the thing about the power of belief……it takes practice.  You have to make it a habit to give yourself positive affirmations, love and small kernels of hope.  Hope is one of the most powerful things in your corner when you align your head space properly.

There are a couple of things you should do to help develop ways to believe in yourself.

1. Remove all the negative people and things you see everyday.  There will be those that line up to tell you that you will fail.  DO NOT believe them.  Remove all the negative feeds and people on your social media feeds.  They bring no joy or positiveness to you.

2. Congratulate yourself.  Everyday when you wake up and each time you achieve something small, take the time to congratulate yourself.  You deserve the credit for ALL the things you achieve…so tell yourself that you did a good job.

3. Don’t let the little stuff get you down.  You are a perfect creation but sometimes humanity and free choice get in the way.  Forgive yourself and make the next moment your first moment and start again.

These three small things that you develop as habits are the beginning of great things for you.  I believe in you !!!!  Belief is a choice and you are worth making that right choice.

Choose BELIEF!!

​Joël
#loveyourself

Your First Day starts NOW!

Welcome to Your First Day.  This first post is
always the toughest so let me just get to it.  When it comes to getting healthy and finding a passion for life again, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there and back!  You’ve heard that a million times before and chances are the reason you stopped by here today is because you’re still looking for ‘THE ANSWER”.  You will find many answers with the stories I share with you.  Your First Day isn’t about me….it’s about YOU.  And my goal is to get you healthy, happy and most of all….enjoying every single day of YOUR life.

YOUR FIRST DAY is about the energy that you feel on the very first day that you’ve achieved something.  Remember what it feels like to be on top of the world.  That energy and the joy is incredible isn’t it?  You feel like YOU CAN DO ANYTHING?  What’s stopping you??  LET’S DO THIS!

When I started my journey almost 14 years ago I didn’t think of the end result, only the small steps in the journey.   You can overcome the insurmountable obstacles that you feel you can’t achieve!  Maybe its relationship issues, work/life goals, weightloss, depression, self worth, eating/food issues….you can start today and achieve a happy joyful life.   YOUR FIRST DAY is not only about weight loss, it is about being healthy on every level.  That means attitude, emotions, divorce, work/life balance, eating,  drinking and so much more you might deal with.

Please join my mailing list and read or view my blogs and videos as often as possible.  As a certified life coach and through my journey of extreme weight loss my discoveries and insights will help you too!

One thing I NEED to be clear about.  Your First Day is about achieving health on all levels and is NOT just about weight loss.  I’ve been up and down in my weight for years but my HAPPY FACTOR stays constant.  And that’s what I will assist you in achieving.

TODAY IS MY FIRST DAY …..will you join me?

Sign up today and also enquire about one on one coaching.
Make today YOUR FIRST DAY !