My journey from being a clinically overweight individual (BMI > 25, Waist-to-Height > 0.51) to an Ironman triathlete today, may appear impressive to some, and more concerning, unattainable to many. Many don't see the long, arduous journey, the many setbacks, and moments of sheer frustration. It wasn't a linear, straight path. And there was no extraordinary capability on my part.
Firstly, I didn't set out to have lofty goals. I merely wanted to be able to last longer than a few minutes playing indoor soccer with friends. Even then, it took almost two years of being more careful with diet and more regular exercise, before there was a noticeable weight loss. After all, the body needed time to undo years of bad lifestyle habits. I didn't set out big goals to change my life. I focused on how I could feel better each day, and changing my personal rewards from junk food to social interactions (with the right set of positive-oriented friends!)
When I discovered running, I thought accomplishing a 10km run was a big deal - until I saw grandmothers and grandfathers completing full 42km marathons. It may seem impossible at first, but when I found an activity that I enjoyed, and I find friends who share the same passion, all it took was focusing on "one day at a time". Enjoying the tangible progress I made - first to slowly increase distance from 10km, to 21km, to 42km, and then to slowly improve on the time it took (from over 5 hours, to under 5 hours, to under 4 hours) and then to add more variety by moving on to triathlons - which required that I learn how to swim - from scratch - at 40 years of age. And ultimately progressing to full 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42km run Ironman races. The long, impossible journeys are just a collection of small daily steps.
Join me at my next races: Ironman 70.3 Triathlon World Championships, Port Elizabeth, South Africa