This is probably one of the hardest articles I’ve had to sit down and write, one that required immense reflection and complete honesty.
Weight loss is a battle and health will always be something that you fight for, be it trying to fend off the unnecessary cravings or pushing yourself trough a new routine especially when the rest lure you in with the sentence “Come on Mo, its just one bite!”. Looking at the earlier stages of my weight loss journey, one would think that the struggle would be trying to eliminate 25 kilos. However I’ve discovered with career threatening injuries and to some extent disability, its no longer just a battle against lethargy, but trying to prevent weight gain and reclaim your physique against the limitations stopping you from sweating it off.
My journey began in 2007 during my sophomore year of college. I still remember my first semester where I used to have Chinese food for lunch from the university hall and pizza for dinner. Although I was in an English school for most of my life, I still had trouble adjusting being on the other end of the world, away from my parents and my sister (my best friend). I remember driving home every evening and after finishing my studies I’d engulf an entire pizza while watching an episode of friends. I think I reached the 6th season towards the end of the semester before meeting locals who today are my closest friends in the world. No spoilers please I still don’t know if Phoebe ends up with Joey.
During the second semester I enrolled in the local gym however didn’t really know what I was doing. It was a process of trial and error as I began to tweak my food and seek assistance with the types of exercises that would help me attain my goal. During spring I remember driving past ‘Bike Line’ after class and called up my friend Semo saying, “Bro, we should get mountain bikes!”. This paired up with a tennis racket and I was on the road to newfound strength and unearthing undiscovered passions.Fitness became a staple of my life so much that I built everything around it. I researched every nutrient possible and delved into as many training techniques possible from gyms to boot camps, from muddy terrain to tennis courts.
My dedication to fitness was tested in 2012 when I suffered a serious injury that threatened my tennis career and the ability to pursue a healthy life style. Experiencing people pass you by at normal speed as you try to maneuver in a wheelchair seemed spirit breaking at first, however ended up being a lesson in humility. I remember holding on to my physiotherapists shoulder, fixing my gauge and learning how to walk again. The injuries piled up as I forced other parts of my body to compensate for the damaged areas. My wrist and elbow flare up especially during the winter months. I began to doubt the ability to reclaim my place in the tennis circuit and fitness world.
I fought hard and made it back for a short stint on the tennis tour this past winter, however my body paid the price. I suffered a shoulder tear during an epic three-hour battle at the semi finals. My training was again limited to swimming however a recent large cut in my feet meant that I couldn’t swim. Bit by bit I watched doctors eliminate activates from my list and the winter just made it more inviting to wrap myself up in a blanket and eat anything that was in front of me.
Since my surgery my weight fluctuated however I managed to reduce it back down in September just before tennis season. I struggled from the first round, and with the clear bulls eye aimed at my knee, opponents had no trouble in aggravating it with drop shots forcing me to move back and forth from the baseline and net. Since then I’ve gained 6 kilos, each equal to 4kg of added pressure on my fragile knees.
For the first time in five years I returned to emotional eating, ordering pizza frequently. I became everything I spent years fighting against. I am writing this because I want those who seek a healthy lifestyle to see all forms of struggle with trying to get in shape be it weight, injury, disability or whatever the case may be. I share my physical, mental and emotional state because I am discouraged by the fitness accounts that show you nothing but six packs and one-liners that lack advice and serve nothing but ego boosting. I am by no means playing a victim, and I assure you that I am not clumsy with the injuries that befall me (although I’ll take credit for the drum stool falling my foot, I could have been more careful with that). My goal is to show you BOTH the up’s and down’s of the pursuit of fitness. I remain candid in my accounts and although the terrain has changed for me this year, I hold on to the spirit that has been building since my journey began in 2008. The cut in my foot has healed meaning that I can get in the water, and I am just waiting for the fibers in my shoulder to hug it out, and although I have missing cartilage and deformed bones I’ll keep the pursuit alive. Raw energy from the ground up, I’m taking you with me.