That pilot there? That was me.
I wanted to fly since I was 3 years old. No joke.
All through school I did everything I needed to to reach my goal of flying for a living. There was a time when pilots made great money, had great lifestyles, and were treated with dignity.
I had never really considered the trade-off for trading time for money back when I was a kid. My dad was a doctor and was employed by “the man”, but it was always a vocation that was treated with dignity and respect – and came with a reasonable salary. Even when I was still in high school (pre 9/11) pilots were very well paid professionals. But, then, 9/11 happened. The very day I was to take my first flying lesson. After listening to my professors at school, I was convinced it was a good idea to continue my degree and flight training.
And you know? I’m glad I did. But…
My dream came at a price
It took 8 years of training and paying dues to get a flying job. No small amount of blood, sweat, tears, and money is what it takes to become a pilot. I enjoyed the first few years, but as time went on I was used and used and used. Ridden hard and put away wet.
I will save the gritty details because the purpose of this post is not to highlight the nature of my employer at the time, but rather to point to what the end result was to me and my body.
Towards the end of 2014, I was in rough shape. I had a bad back from the flying I had been doing, I wasn’t sleeping properly, I had a terrible diet, and the stress and anxiety was extreme. During the time on this job, I gained 30 pounds. Worse, I had actually begun to have some serious digestive issues. Bad enough, in fact, that I was beginning to be concerned they would eventually affect my ability to maintain my medical certification to fly. The details are quite gross, but suffice it to say I had persistent pain and very troubling things were coming out of my body. I had gone to the doctor about it and they had me do some significant tests (MRI and the like) to rule out certain serious problems. Everything had to be reported on my medical certification renewals, which also caused some anxiety. I mean, my entire livelihood is centered on the ability to be healthy enough to fly.
Then everything changed
I ended up leaving that job in favor of one that reduced my stress load immensely. I escaped the terrible treatment I’d endured at the previous job and my schedule changed dramatically. Instead of 25 days per month on the road, I went down to about 5! Talk about relief.
But I still had residual problems. I still had all the weight I’d gained and I still had digestive issues that needed to be repaired. The doctors had basically said “take these fiber pills, the most allowed by the directions per day” and that was it.
I have great respect for doctors, but that was nonsense. In fact, that actually made it worse.
So what helped?
Diet and Exercise
Many times doctors will just give a blanket answer to solve health problems: Eat better and exercise more.
Great. But what does that mean?
I’d tried and failed a lot in my previous life when it came to eating “healthy” and exercising.
I’d change my diet to “health” food overnight and it would be fine for a few days, but then it wasn’t. My body took such a shock that I came running back to what it was used to eating as fast as I could. What was I eating? Too much. Also, exercising was NEVER something I enjoyed. I hated organized sports growing up and frankly, I just don’t like the suffering associated with cardio!
BEACHBODY SOLVED MY HEALTH PROBLEMS
The doctors were right about one thing – diet and exercise worked. The trick was finding something effective that I enjoyed.
I went through the 21 Day Fix and lost 20 pounds in three weeks. That was amazing. But the BEST part? My back pain? Gone. My daily heartburn? Gone. My severe gastrointestinal distress? Gone.
It was like I’d won the lottery. All these years I’d looked at health nuts like they were, well, nuts. When they said “I feel amazing” I just thought, “Well, good for you. Go do it somewhere else and leave me alone”.
Now I get it. I’ll never go back, not permanently anyway. I still have periods where I lose my way, but once my body starts to reject what I’m doing I come running back to taking care of my body.