Have you ever had that moment where you stumble onto a perspective that makes everything feel right? Something that all of a sudden makes somewhat difficult tasks seem easy? My grandfather helped me find this perspective when I started to make some sustainable changes to my eating and exercise habits. We called him “Poppy,” and he was a passionate man full of energy and life. He was a picture of health well into his 80s (see below). He and my grandmother cooked almost all of their own meals, and they taught us a lot about great healthy snacks like peanut butter on apples along the way!
Poppy took us to the gym and always wanted us to run with him (even if we weren’t terribly excited about it; see below).
However, he never forced us to do anything we didn’t want to do with our exercise. He just simply told us how much he loved the YMCA and running, and would love it if we came. It made us feel like we were really making the decision to get involved with our fitness. And look at that smile on his face!
Poppy was one of the first people I thought of after college once I started to shed some of the old “offensive lineman” frame. I was doing fine with numbered weight loss goals, but I wondered where does it end? How much do I need to lose? I had been struggling with not really getting any lasting satisfaction from these numbered weight loss goals. Then finally it hit me one day when I was back home in Florida with Poppy.
While I know Poppy loved the energy and happiness he gained from leading a healthier lifestyle, I think he fully committed to those habits because he loved making an impact on the people around him. He was the guy still going to the YMCA and running into his 80s. He was still out throwing footballs with his grand kids and playing golf with friends. He continued to connect with so many people in his life which in my mind gave him lasting fulfillment. And I too want to be in control of my health, so I will have all these opportunities as I grow older. He passed away a few years ago, but I still keep his Men’s Over 60 10K medal up on my wall as a reminder of the way he lived his life.
Harold “Poppy” Schurig created a much larger perspective than just looking good and feeling good, but instead, he found a unique way to be healthier for his friends and family. I will always love and cherish my grandfather for helping me see this vision. I never feel obligated about my nutrition and exercise now, because I know it is much bigger than me. The happiness, energy and fulfillment I gain from a healthier lifestyle helps me connect better with my family, friends and colleagues. These thoughts bring purpose and authenticity into this aspect of my life. And maybe one day I can inspire someone like Poppy did!
Whether you are trying to find motivation to exercise or lose weight do you think it would feel different if you took a larger perspective with you? Sure, the numbers are nice to have as a measurable but try creating a “noble goal” that makes you feel authentic and genuine. Aside from my grandfather, another example came from a friend who told me recently that exercising became easier for him once he realized that if he didn’t get serious about his health and back problems, he wouldn’t be able to pickup his kids anymore. It might take some time but search for a reason, person or group that would make your healthy lifestyle about something more than you. It sure makes 1 + 1 > 2 for me!