By Kenneth Selke
This is a letter to you, Kenny, from your future self here in 2018. I am you, five years from where you are now. If you’re reading this, it’s May of 2013. This is the month where you will first walk through the doors of the Weight Watchers meeting in San Luis Obispo, California. You’ll be waiting awkwardly in line, a nearly 500-pound, 25-year-old man, self-conscious to the bone, trying your best to not draw any attention to yourself as you wait to sign up. All you know at this moment is that you simply must lose weight—you were just denied health insurance due to being “morbidly obese,” as the insurance representative so sensitively put it, and you’re feeling worthless. You’re literally the saddest you’ve ever been in your entire life. I know you don’t realize it yet, but you have been denying yourself a life worth living, a life full of enjoyment, laughter, and love. Your actions on this day will result in your finding yourself, for the first time ever, on the right side of absolute rock bottom. The transformation that is to come will be greater than you can possibly imagine.
The word “transform” is defined as: “to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.” There is no better word in the English language to describe the journey you’re about to embark upon. You’ll realize that in the coming weeks and months that you’re great at losing weight; it’s going to drop you hand over fist, and that obsession with seeing the number on the scale drop lower and lower every week is going to fuel your drive to continue. It’s actually going to drive even more than that: You’re going to find yourself gaining confidence at work, and with every passing remark from your co-workers commenting on how different you look, you’ll take more risks in meetings and gain notice from the executives. Your weight loss is going to make you more outgoing with your roommates and friends, people will start noticing you (they’ve actually noticed you the whole time, it’s your mind that will start to accept that reality); you’ll be sharing your story online in the Weight Watchers community where your ongoing story will be noticed, shared, and you will start to feel like you’re not alone on your journey. Very shortly after that, you’re going to meet a very special woman, trust me, you’ll know who I’m talking about when you meet her. There will be an unmistakable feeling in your heart, and you will know it very early on that she’s the one. MAKE SURE you listen to that feeling. I know you will feel like she’s out of your league, and that it’s too good to be true, and while those both may be true statements, for some crazy reason she’s going to end up loving you more than you can imagine, more than you’ve hoped for. Allow her in. You DO deserve love, you are lovable, you are worthy.
There are a lot of great things to look forward to, but this is life, and there are going to be obstacles ahead of you. Your weight loss won’t fuel your drive forever, as you realize that there is more to this journey than a number on a scale. Life is going to throw you some curves, but always remember that this is truly a journey, full of winding paths, hills and slopes, clearings, and sometimes overwhelming darkness. I’ll share with you what you need to be ready for, but keep this in mind, you can’t control anything in this life, you can only do what you can as a human being, so take everything that comes to pass in stride, and roll with it. The happiest days of your life are ahead of you, but so are some of the worst.
You are going to be deeply affected by decisions of your family members, some of which you’re going to cry over, lose sleep over, and feel helpless regarding. You won’t know which way to turn, but you need to lean on those people closest to you. You are not alone in this. Just know that your family members are human, just like you. They're not perfect, and as hard as it will be, there will come a point that you accept their choices and realize no one has ever lost their love for you, even though that may be exactly how it feels. This depression you dive into will lead you down some dark paths, as you try to find a way to cope with everything going on around you. Remember this quote and live by it: “It is what it is.” You’re going to feel at times like you’re losing and that you’re in a downward spiral. Your weight loss will stall, you’ll even notice the number on the scale going in a frustrating direction. Focus your definition of success on something other than that number. This isn’t all your fault, even when you feel like you’re doing everything you can to be perfect. In your desperation to find an answer, you’re going to have to visit a doctor. You’re stubborn, and I know you don’t want to, but just bite the bullet and go. Have your bloodwork drawn, and don’t be afraid of any diagnosis. Don’t fret or stress about what “might be.” I know you’ll be scared at first, but listen to your doctors, and with some renewed dedication, you’ll take the necessary steps you need to take to get your health back in check. Once you’ve done that, slowly, you’ll begin to lose weight again, I promise you. Realize that once you’ve gotten back to the basics, and you’re sticking to the plan, actively caring about your life, your goals, and your health, everything starts getting better. This will be your turning point—finally, once and for all, putting yourself first, and loving yourself regardless of anything else.
This all takes time, literally years, to play out and to process mentally. Just as in all things in life, be patient! You don’t have to be perfect, no one would expect you to be, but you must start to try to be better in all things. Trust me, you’re here in five years to write this letter to yourself, and your future seems bright. There are so many things that your life is about to bestow upon you, and it’s your entire life’s purpose to make sure you’re ready for it. So, keep your chin up Kenny, they call it a journey for a reason, but rest assured, the destination is worth the effort.
You are loved, Kenny, and I believe in you.
Follow Kenny Selke on Connect @ KDSelke and read more from The Big Guy’s Big Journey.