2020. What does that word…or number…mean to you? For me, it conjures up images of hospitals and nurses. Long lines at supermarkets and testing sites. Protests and violence. It also elicits several emotions for me. Anger. Fear. Disgust. Hope. That last one is always a welcome change of pace.

I go through this pattern with my emotions where I cycle between negative and positive emotions just like the rest of us. But with the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that is still in effect here, it feels like that cycle has broken, at least for now. There is so much anger and fear that I deal with and hope is fleeting. But, perhaps the hope is there; it’s just harder to get to. I have to make a conscious effort to reach it. To make sure it doesn’t escape out of my grasp. And so, here is why I have hope.

I am down 20lbs from my highest weight, ever. I say this as a point of pride and as a point of reflection. I am proud of the results for several reasons. The first and most prominent is that I am seeing a change in my body that is positive. I see more definition and less softness. I don’t look as bloated and my clothes are starting to fit me in a way that I feel flattered. That gives me hope.

Second, I have more energy and feel better. My back and my feet don’t ache when I walk unless I put a lot more effort in compared to where I was when I started. I think I am sleeping better. Because of this, I am continually motivated to eat healthier and limit my portions. I also only snack on fruit now and have essentially cut out all refined sugars from my diet. That gives me hope.

Third, I am seeing results from hard work. Most of my life was spent in pursuit of wanting fast or even instantaneous results. After two weeks, I would lose motivation and give up. I’m realizing that this is a marathon and you need to pace yourself. It’s ok to indulge on occasion. The key is to realize it is an indulgence and not something to have every day. Because of this cognitive shift in perception, I am changing for the better. And I can do it. That gives me hope.

I suppose the moral of this story is that you realize the type of person you are during the worst of times. And I’m realizing that I am a pretty cool guy who wants to make himself a better human.

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