In Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, they write about Jared Fogle, the man who lost weight by eating Subway sandwiches. In the book, they say that Jared ate low-calorie subs and walked a lot, which caused him to lose enough weight that people who knew him didn’t recognize him. My rehabilitation has had a similar effect on my body: people who have known me for years don’t recognize me.
Before I took on my thirty day yoga challenge last year, I spent several months rehabilitating myself through swimming and weight training at the gym. One afternoon, I was swimming while I waited for my trainer to join me and my neighbor happened to be swimming in the lane next to me. He and his wife and children moved in to our neighborhood before I started working with Karen, so they saw what my body and walk were like before I started my rehabilitation. My neighbor told me that he has seen me transform physically and that I carry myself completely differently than I used to. He said that he sometimes doesn’t recognize me when I walk past his house or walk down the street. He said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, it’s working.’ It was a very encouraging moment for me.
Last Christmas, I went to a party with people whom I hadn’t seen since 2009. One of the girls I ran into didn’t recognize me at first because – as she later told the party’s host – I walked and carried myself so differently. This kind of feedback pushes me to work even harder, but it also makes me feel good about all the progress I have made because the program Karen gave me is real, it is happening, and it does work.
Since I’ve come back to England, my friends whom I went to school with three years ago have also noticed a difference. They have told me I carry myself with much more confidence (one of them actually did a double take when he saw me walking toward him). This process is not only physically transformative, but psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually transformative. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I not started this work and made the conscious decision to commit to the practice for life. It has made me more mature, responsible, accountable, independent, self-disciplined, and strong. It has helped me grow up and has – in more than one way – made me unrecognizable.