As Real As It Gets

Life doesn’t get any more real than the moment Superman has to have his sternum cracked open to save his life.  And that, my friends, is more life changing than this box of vitamin B’s and D’s, CoQ10 and Rhodiola I have sitting at my feet as I type. 

I show/tell people how to eat and exercise for a living.  And yet, my father and I are both fighting addictions that are killing us.  His addictions are a little more life threatening.  My addictions are a little more sophisticated and more easily hidden.  Together, we must both remove the guns from our head, expecting someone else to jump and keep us from pulling the trigger.  It is now up to us to save our own lives.  

I remember standing in the kitchen with my dad, explaining to him a serving size.  I showed him the half cup and told him it was the standard size for a serving of pasta.  He laughed in my face.  I didn’t expect this man who had basically eaten everything he wanted in the portion size he wanted  my entire life to now start conforming to my “rules”.  I will say, however, that he is probably the only person in my life that never made any negative references to my personal dietary changes.  He may not have understood what the hell quinoa or arugula was but he wasn’t going to stop me from eating it and was always supportive of how I changed my life and sometimes even seemed interested in the way I was cooking or juicing things.  (He would, however, tell me, on occasion, that it didn’t sound good.:))

Lately, we’ve discussed him quitting smoking and only eating half the cookies that he normally eats or trying to eat breakfast instead of going all day without eating and then eating a large meal and then lying down.  I have always told him he was a heart attack waiting to happen.  I wasn’t being “smart”.  I was speaking out of my fear.  Now that my hero is facing open heart surgery in a week, I feel like I didn’t do enough, I didn’t say enough, I didn’t push the issue enough, I didn’t scream enough, I didn’t cry enough.  

This is the very same dilemma I have faced in my work sometimes as a trainer/health coach. I’ve felt like a failure because I had done everything but do all the exercises myself and transfer the calories to other people’s bodies and clients still insisted on eating french fries and M & M’s, drinking wine by the bottle and not exercising other than when they were with me.  Basically, we are all in the same boat.  It hasn’t gotten serious enough for us to face our addictions.  We aren’t ready to face up to them.  We are looking for something EXTERNAL to fix us; a trainer, a book, a surgery.  The truth of the matter is until we DECIDE to do different, to be different, things will still be same.  My father, cracked sternum and all, will still go into the grocery store and buy gallons of ice cream and cookies, I will still resort to my own demons every time I panic and my clients will still hit the McDonald’s drive-thru every time grilling some salmon seems like too much of a chore.  When the stakes become higher, when the doctors tell my dad, you are going to DIE if you don’t stop eating those cookies, when I figure out that my spirit is going to CRUMBLE if I do not stay away from the things that drain me, when my clients figure out that they will always be paying someone to fix a problem that will always be a problem until they are willing to face that THEY are the problem, then we will all be willing to make the ULTIMATE change; a permanent one.  

I love my father beyond words.  When he puts the gun down, I will be there with my arms open waiting to walk into the next phase with him.  We’ll probably be going into Whole Foods.  He’s going to get really acquainted with quinoa. 🙂  

And, when you put the gun down, you can really be helped.  You cannot expect to receive life changing “motivation” and “inspiration” if you are closed to your own possibilities.  YOU have to take the first step in your own survival.  Otherwise, it’s just slow suicide.

And THAT’S keeping it real. 

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