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    Change can often be the most frightening thing a person will ever experience. Fear of change keeps people at all levels from realizing their true potential, abandoning them in a pool of mediocrity that is, to them, safe and comfortable. Wives often won't leave abusive husbands because the change is something they cannot conceive regardless of the fact that the change is better than the abuse. Fear of change also keeps people in cloaked in robes of fat that leave them unhappy, unhealthy, and uncomfortable.

    For years I resisted change, fearing the pain and not relishing the idea of eating things like apples and cottage cheese on a daily basis. I was comfortable eating at the local fast food joints two or three times a day. I was comfortable hiding under layers of clothes that masked my fat. Truth of the matter was, however, that I was totally uncomfortable. My back hurt constantly, as did my knees, feet, and hips. I sweat bullets doing the most simple tasks. I wouldn't go to the beach (even here in sunny North Carolina!), and when my wife would finally convince me to go, I would not take off my shirt to get some sun on my pallid skin. I was comfortably uncomfortable.

    I am reminded of a story that I heard some years ago that goes a little like this:

    A farmer was visiting his neighbor, and the two were talking at the end of the front walkway. On the front porch of the house, a large bassett hound lay sleeping. Every few minutes the dog would stir and let out a long, sad howl only to lay its head down again to nod off.
    The neighbors talked for several minutes with the dog interjecting every few minutes. After the fourth or fifth time the dog howled, the farmer looked over questioningly and asked, "What's wrong with your dog?"
    The neighbor replied, "Oh, old Red is just laying on a loose nail, and he's howling to let me know it."
    "Well, why doesn't he just move," the farmer questioned.
    The neighbor's answer was simple: "It don't hurt bad enough."

    I didn't change out of my comfort zone because it didn't hurt bad enough. I had become accustomed to the pain and only howled about it occasionally. What a pitiful state to be in - hurting but not willing to move. Even though I cannot exactly say what the catalyst for change was, but 2 weeks ago I decided that I had to change my behaviors and way of eating or face the inevitable consequences for my refusal to "move". Since that time, I haven't missed a workout and I've eaten out only a couple times in that timeframe. My food intake has consisted primarily of chicken breasts, apples, kiwi, salads from Eating for Life, Myoplex, and water.

    Thing about it is this: once the change was made, I realized that the new isn't so bad after all. All of that fear of change I experienced before was unfounded - as it usually is in most circumstances. Working out doesn't hurt -at least not in the same way that a constant dull backache does. It's actually rather liberating to breathe deeply and feel the oxygen rush through my veins. All of those things I feared about 'change' just never manifested themselves; my fear was baseless, self-conceived, and keeping me from reaching my full potential.

    Never looking back and looking ever forward. Fabulously fit at 40!

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