My wife works for a charity that often has social functions where spouses are invited. Normally this isn’t a problem for me when getting ready for a bodybuilding show because they only last a few hours. But on May 14 her organization has a major event taking place that will last from 6:30pm-11:30pm. That’s a looong stretch.
In my last blog post I mentioned that I was competing in July and that this is an extremely competitive show. I can’t afford to waver from my nutrition. To get to super low levels of body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible requires a relentless commitment.
So what’s the big deal?
This means that if I go to the event, I can’t eat with everyone as I normally would. It means that I sit at our particular dinner table with the look of a hungry wolf ready to attack while everyone else is chowing down. A few times during the evening I’ll have to run to the car and eat one of the meals that I pack in my cooler (my meal plan currently has me eating 7 times a day – so I will need to eat at least twice while at the event that evening). The other risk is being labeled “the weird guy.”
Pam has already told me that I don’t have to go and that my training and the show should come first. That’s how she is – super supportive. No pressure from her at all and one of the many things that make her special.
I told her that if I go, people may think odd things as I just sit there and explain why I’m not eating. In fact, a few people may tell me to just have a little something. Not many people can relate to bodybuilding. They just aren’t mentally wired to appreciate or even take the time to fully understand it, or even ask why it brings me joy. I’m ok with that.
So I’ve got an out from Pam! I can stay home, relax and not have to contend with any of the above. Not gonna happen, folks. I’ve decided I’m going for a variety of reasons.
The first is, I want to support her. That for better or worst thing I agreed to at the altar – I really meant it. The second reason is that I don’t care what people think of me and have no desire to start now.
A few years ago I may have taken Pam up on her offer. But with my mom dying last year, my first cousin dying a month ago and our beloved cat Felix, who was more than just a pet, crossing the Rainbow Bridge last month, it made me want to go to the event even though it might be challenging and uncomfortable. Death does these kinds of things, or at least it should. It made me even more aware of what’s important.
Although my example is the extreme, it makes me think of people who start to eat healthy and end up contending with family or friends who are threatened by this new healthy behavior. “Why aren’t you eating? Have some more!” Sometimes those same people feel the need to explain themselves almost with a sense of shame, “um, well… I’m having the fish and vegetables because I’m trying to lose some weight.” The response sometimes goes like this, “Aw c’mon you only live once! Have just a slice or two of pizza. One night won’t hurt.” And then some people give in on the spot due to peer pressure and not wanting to be the weird or different one, the outcast who spoils the fun.
And there’s always the, “you’re no fun anymore.”
I’ve always believed that this is my life and I live it on my terms. If health is a priority for me, then I live it every day. When I choose to splurge, that too is my choice, and I stand by it.
Always, on my terms.
May 6, 2016 at 11:59 am -
Great article, Raphael and so true! I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your family members, including Felix. Lots of hugs to you!
May 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm -
Kirby! Thank you and so wonderful to hear from you. Thanks so much for your condolences 🙂
May 6, 2016 at 4:46 pm -
RC – I loved this post. Because it IS important that you support Pam’s event. My hubby attends many of mine. People wouldn’t question what you were not eating if you explained you were a diabetic. So you have a different commitment.i know you can do it. You are a beacon for so many. Xxxxx & oooo Deb
May 6, 2016 at 7:49 pm -
Thank you, Deb! Oh yes no question that I can and will do it. I really like what you said about being a beacon — that means a lot to me 🙂
laura eiman says:
January 30, 2017 at 8:18 pm -
Great blog Raphael. Thank you. I’d like to contribute a comment here: As your blog illustrates, food can be a very sensitive issue socially. I have been sugar free for 16.5 years. Occasionally someone will actually try to force a dessert on me even after I politely say “no thank you” several times. On these rare occasions I will then lie and say “I am allergic to sugar”. They immediately back off. In our culture using medical excuses gets us off the hook. Happy, healthy reasons aren’t enough. “You are no fun anymore” is hard to hear. If you had a medical condition that dictated your different eating practices, no one would question them.