My ex-boyfriend, in the middle of our breakup, told me that my biggest problem was that I think everyone thinks like me, when in fact most people don’t think the way I do at all.
At the time, I dismissed the comment as something stupid someone says to you when they’re breaking up with you. I thought, my lifelong best friend and I finish each other’s sentences. I’m convinced that she and I look at inkblots and see the same things. “What more evidence do I need?” I said to myself. “Of course people think like me!”
Over time, however, I’ve thought about his comment more and more, and have come to the realization that he was on to something.
His statement was perhaps his single moment of brilliance.
What strikes me about this exchange is which things that people say ultimately stick with me. Another prime example I remember is riding in the car with my high school friend, Joan. She had just gotten her driver’s license, and her father was letting her drive me home. As we got off the highway exit, she hesitated after starting to take a left, and then stopped. Her father said, “Joan, if you’re going to go….go. If you’re not gonna go, don’t go.”
To this day. I think of this phrase at times of indecision. It sums it up so neatly that you either do something or you don’t; it’s really that simple.
Do you think Joan’s father had any idea at the time that decades later I’d still be quoting his tidbit of advice?
This reflection has led me to wonder what I might have said casually to someone that they still remember.
Photo Courtesy Of Charlene Bazarian
I’m not sure if it counts to want to pull people aside and say, “Listen, I’m going to try to say something that will hopefully stick with you and give you the needed epiphany,” but here it goes: “You are no busier that a fit person.” If I have one necessary piece of advice that I wish would stick with people, it is that, because every person I come into contact with that wants to lose weight seems to confess that they simply don’t have enough time.
My own journey from average to fat to fitness was not a fast or easy one. I believe it’s what happens to a lot of people: You start college at a normal weight, put on the freshman fifteen, get married, put on fifteen more pounds, get pregnant, put on more weight, and then one day you stare down horrified at the scale.
My own horror topped out at 208 pounds. This realization was proof to me that all things are relative. I remember being a size four as a freshman in college and thinking a size 12 was huge. At 208 pounds, a size 12 looked pretty enviable!
I had tried every fad diet, program, phen phen, Weight Watchers, you name it, along the way. Somehow, though, I always started to think about how unfair it all was. I mean, it seemed to me that everyone else was able to eat and not pack on the weight. I felt like my friends could have salami sandwiches on white bread with mayo for lunch and Chinese food for dinner, and never put on an ounce. It’s amazing how when you’re fat, it seems like everyone else is thin, and more than thin, thin without trying.
I have lost ninety-six pounds and have kept it off for years. I’m jumping ahead to give you that “light at the end of tunnel” moment, but some strange things have happened along the way. I’m amazed that when people who saw me at my heaviest and see me now ask, “Oh, my God, how did you do it?” And then that their reaction is always the same: they’re disappointed with my answer.
They want me to say, I ate cabbage soup for a week, or I only ate blue food for a weekend, or I took XYZ miracle pill that I saw on an infomercial and the weight fell off in my sleep. What no one wants to hear is that I work out over an hour every day and am unbelievably careful with what I eat. It’s an everyday battle, with no finish line, and no touch down dance.
The bottom line is that we are all busy people. I tell people that I’m an attorney, run a disc jockey service, and have three active boys, not to appear to be a multitasking super woman, but to really show that I walk the walk.
We’re all busy, and you make the time for the things that are important to you. If you think you’re being selfish to carve out time for your workouts or extra time in preparing clean meals for yourself, think of the flight attendants who remind you to put your oxygen mask on first. This step is so that you’re around to care for the people who need you, especially your children, and caring for your health is no different.
You don’t have to think like me, but I’m hoping that “You’re no busier than a fit person!” sticks with you, and like Joan’s father said, “If you’re going to go, go. If you’re not going to go, don’t go.”
Charlene Bazarian is a fitness and weight loss success story after losing 96 pounds. She mixes her no-nonsense style of fitness advice with humor on her blog at Fbjfit.com and on Facebook at FBJ Fit.