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There is a man that runs around my town all of the time carrying himself with no evidence of being tired. You may see him out at the park r...


GUEST POST: [Kyle Gershman, GB&B] "Freedom...Worth Fighting For?"

Freedom...Worth Fighting For?

Many thanks for Seth for allowing me to guest post in his absence. Seth has been a great source of inspiration for me in my journey to getting healthy. He is a near unstoppable source of energy and has succeeded in areas that I'm still struggling, e.g. dreaded strength training, so I continue to follow and learn by his example.

While my history of getting fit has included the usual great successes followed by huge setbacks, my latest run at getting fit started last November around 236 pounds. 70 pounds later, I maintain my current 165 pound weight through mostly running and focus on making more good food choices than bad...I still strive to improve on strength training and overall body composition. I graduated C25K in late March and have recently rocked my longest run yet of 7 miles.

And if any of you have followed my blog Getting Better and Better, have received comments from me, I mention Freedom quite a bit. It was the subject one of one of my early blog posts. It was the base of my index card submission to Jack Sh*t, Getting Fit's W.I.D.T.H. series

Before going on, let's take a look at the more relevant definitions from

free·dom  [free-duhm]

1.the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

I want the freedom to be able to do any physical activity I choose to do. I need a physically fit body to carry out that freedom, though. Sure, I've done many physical activities while being less fit than I am not, but they never truly felt free. There were always strings attached. I couldn't go as far, as fast, or for as long as I wanted to. I was always restrained by my lack of physical fitness. I have friends who are very fit and very adventurous. It really irked me to have to awkwardly turn down or suggest alternative adventures that I felt I was more capable of enjoying.

At the urging of one of our fit friends, last October before I started my latest bid for physical fitness, my wife and I went to Yosemite National Park and hiked the Glacier Point Trail. Here is my video review. It was a very hard experience for me. I was probably around 240 pounds at that time and already an experienced hiker, but it was a struggle. Did I complete the hike? Sure, but I was practically immobile that evening and for the next two days. I gave away my freedom of doing anything else for the next few days just to get that one hike in. There were other activities at Yosemite we wanted to do, but we lost our freedom to do so. If you watch the video, you'll hear me breathing heavily at certain points. Again, I could "do" the hike, but I had a really tough time enjoying it as much as I could have. I wasn't really free to take in all the experiences of the hike as I was more concerned about my health and capabilities throughout the hike.

2.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.

While I'm fortunate to be under a group healthcare plan, I don't know that I feel any freedoms (just yet) to go out and seek my own healthcare coverage. My BMI, waist to hip ratio, etc. all would have put me in a high risk class and may have made coverage prohibitively expensive. There were definitely times I'd like to have left the comforts of company employment and provided group coverage, but I never felt free to do so. I don't want to be restricted by regulations or other parties to determine what kind of coverage I deserve and at what price.

I don't want an airline to tell me I can't fly.

I don't want an amusement park to keep me from riding the rides.

3.the power to determine action without restraint.

This is the freedom of choice...the POWER to determine my actions instead of actions being selected for me.

My wife and I decided to try rock climbing. This would not have been a consideration before. While we had some reasonable choice in taking on certain activities like hiking, cycling, walking, etc. because we had some control over distance, time, terrain, etc., there are some actions that I don't think I had the power to choose.

I'm sure there are some hefty rock climbers out there...I'm sure that the ropes, harnesses, gear, etc. are likely designed to work with people who are much larger than I was; however I never even considered it. I assumed (and I still think rightly so) that climbing rocks on ropes where you are dependent on others for your safety simply was limited to a more fit participant.

Getting down to a healthy weight gave me gave me the freedom of choice.

Perhaps there are other freedoms you would like. Would you like to be free of fear? The fear of what the doctor might say next? too. I've lived much of my life in fear instead of living it. Getting healthy removes many of those fears. Sure, bad things can still happen, but when you KNOW you aren't healthy, you KNOW that there are higher risks and it raises the fears of something bad happening.

Like our forefathers and their question for freedom, it is something we all is something worth fighting for.

What does freedom look and feel like to you? What are you prepared to do?


cmoursler said...

Good post.
my whole blog is basically,
Free your mind and the rest will follow.
But you are absolutely correct.
When you are obese, you body becomes a prison.

Patrick said...

Seth, who is this Kyle guy you've turned your blog over too? Freedom? I'm from Illinois, what is Freedom??
Seriously, Kyle is a rock-star. What does freedom look and feel like to me?
Freedom is being able to walk into the kitchen and walk back out having consumed zero adhoc calories.
Freedom is understanding that freedom is not bestowed but instead must be achieved.
Freedom is looking forward to blogging because I know I have successes to share.
Freedom is of the opportunity before me to be healthy.
Freedom is taking control of the spirit within to act on the will to earn the life I want.
Freedom is not giving a rats-butt if you look goofy while exercising in front of others.
Freedom is no longer having to wonder when the Chicago Blackhawks are going to win another Stanley Cup.

-J.Darling said...

Excellent post! I LOVE IT!

Freedom to me is no longer feeling like a spectator - no longer feeling like I'm on the outside looking in on this party we call life.

Freedom is pushing my own envelopes - no matter who is available to support me.

Freedom is following my dreams and letting the naysayers go say nay elsewhere.

Freedom is looking at the sky, inhaling, and saying "what a beautiful day to be alive".

Freedom looks a lot like how I'm living now, but with a little less of the shades of fear and self-doubt that haunt me daily.

Freedom is feeling at home in my own skin and proud of my accomplishments.

Freedom is learning from my mistakes - and not being afraid to make new ones.

Debbie said...

Freedom to me is being able to travel without worrying if I will fit into the set of an airplane.

Freedom is going out to eat and not worry about fitting into the booth.

Freedom to make the right choices and stay healthy.

I liked this blog...

Shelley said...

What a great post - I look at you now and can't believe you were 240 are so healthy and fit today!

Freedom - gosh, for me, it's being able to move around like a normal person again.

Jess said...

I've learned to just try new things, regardless of weight, but as I'm losing weight, I'm feeling less constrained and more confident in myself. I got in a swimming suit and just hopped in a pool. Now I can swim 1800 meters nonstop.

I'm going to try rock climbing (again) by the end of summer. And at least try to learn surfing once.

Signing up and running my first 5K/half marathon was a HUGE thing for me. It's the freedom of choice and the ability to believe in myself the more I move forward on my journey that I love.

I am still scared and anxious of trying new things, but hey, I know that I'll always land on my feet, somehow.

I'm super proud of you for taking hold of your life Kyle, and just trying new things, for yourself. Having the choice makes all the difference.