From Spooning Sugar Into My Mouth To Running A Wellness Company - A True Story
This article talks about how I went from spooning sugar into my mouth to running a wellness company (a 30 year journey)!
A Drug Problem At Age 5
Lately in the blog, I wrote about Yoke's origin story and how I was just a normal, average guy, having a lovely early morning cycle, when a sinister van decided to end that experience and crushed me, sending me into the Emergency Room.
This experience started Yoke Wellness.
I was a super fat kid.
My mom famously tells this story of how I use to head to waddle to a bag of sugar we had in one of the lower cupboards in the house and, using my index and middle finger as chopsticks, I would lift sugar into my mouth and sit there, chomping away. Later, we would all find out sugar is just as addictive as cocaine, so there you have it. A drug problem at age 5.
With the weight though came extreme embarrassment around exercise — we had a 50 meter relay in Grade Five and kids were group based into speed — there was the “A” team, the “B” team, the “C” team and the “D” team. As I greeted my fellow teammates in the “D” team, I then watched our gym teacher wheel out a bicycle for those on my team.
We were cycling, against runners. And we still finished last.
I remember having the last leg, while everybody else laughed and pointed, already done. I don’t know if that feeling truly leaves you.
So fast forward 20 years, and I have a healthy relationship with exercise. However, after the cycling injury, I’ve become scared of exercise again, like I was when I was a kid. I’m scared of riding a bike, I’m scared of other cars, I’m scared of losing my life.
But I have to get back to it, otherwise chopstick sugar eating Ravi is going to come out again.
So, I start re-training myself how to enjoy exercise, and really feel into what did, and what doesn’t feel good for my body…..
- CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT YOU LIKE TO DO: This sounds simple, but it is. And it’s the greatest predictor of success. If you stop here, and do this one thing, you are probably going to succeed for longer. You are far less likely to stick to something you hate. And yes, there will be something you like or have liked to do that involved moving your body — Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Home Workouts, Park Running, Obstacle Courses, Walking with friends.
- FRAME IT AS A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE: Here’s where the feedback loop comes in, and one that I had to break as a child. Exercise meant embarrassment. Re-framing that into Enjoyment (see above) is HARD, and it takes time. But once your mind re-writes that loop, it will actually start saying “hey, you are starting to like exercise, maybe you should do it more!” AND…
- YOU START TO GET BETTER AT IT: When you get pleasure or satisfaction from exercising and building new capacities, you’ll continue to strengthen those skills. If you’re pushing through a tough sprint on a bike and feel a rush of pride at the end, for example, your mind will create another link between resilience and feelings of reward, and that link will intensify with each new instance.
- WATCH THESE EFFECTS FILTER TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE: For me, I gained an immense amount of confidence when I started to get back to exercising after the accident. The confidence comes from taking control, and taking action — two things that were missing right after my accident. It affected how I felt about my body, how I treated my partner, how I stood up for myself at work.
Rewiring Your Brain
It’s not easy to re-wire your brain to like something after it hated it all of your childhood and had a traumatic accident… but through these four techniques, and the feedback loop that followed, I was able to re-discover my love for moving and gain back the control, and the life, I wanted.