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2023 Weight Loss Challenge and Fundraiser
Hello! My name is Dan, and I am the CEO of the Centre for Men & Families Australia.
I’ll keep this short and sweet because it’s raw and personal.
A friend of mine died today.
She lay down last night and never woke up this morning.
Now, as I sit down to write, all I can think about is how I didn’t reply to her last message. It was not that I intentionally ignored it. It was more of an “I’ll-reply-later” kind of thing. But, later never came. And, now, there will never be a later.
Consequently, I find myself thrust into this uncomfortable position where I am assessing myself as a friend. Did I do enough to help? Could I have been more kind, more accommodating, more caring? Did I fail somehow?
I’m told that invariably guilt is one of the stages of grief. In my mind, I understand that guilt is rarely rational or even helpful, and I know it will pass. But, right now, it sits like a stone in the pit of my stomach.
I am sad — deeply sad.
Fact: Every hour, 6,316 people die. Death is the only sure thing in life, and yet we are surprised when it sneaks up on us as if it were an unexpected intruder. Many of us live our lives like we are never going to die, and we treat others as if they are never going to die as well. And when someone in close proximity to us passes away, our very foundations can be shaken.
Suddenly we are confronted with our own mortality. We are left to face the hard truth that our life is just a dash between two dates on a tombstone. I am left wondering how our lives would be different if we actually lived as if today could be our last day. Chances are, we would probably get about the task of enjoying the good things that life has set before us — family, friends, and the things that bring us joy. Maybe we would take a few more risks. Maybe we would throw caution to the wind and realize that life is too short to pretend to be someone that you’re not. Perhaps we would leave nothing unsaid, find room in our hearts to forgive, become recklessly generous and, above all, never say to ourselves, “I’ll reply later.”
It’s ironic, isn’t it? If we knew we were going to die, it might actually cause us to live.
As for my friend, although she passed suddenly and far too young, she lived a full and kind-hearted life, giving what she had to enrich the lives of others.
At the Centre for Men and Families, we aren’t afraid to talk about death. In fact, we consider death our constant reminder to live!
I want to be about life, but over the past 12 months, I’ll admit that I have let myself go a bit. That is putting it mildly. A more accurate way to describe it would be to say I have packed on the pounds. I’m sure many of you can relate to that, and the older you get, the harder it is to turn it around. Sadly, obesity was a factor in the death of my friend.
Some men have serious health challenges that affects their weight. For other men, being overweight is the result of both internal and external factors. For example, sometimes being emotionally unhappy causes us to comfort eat and pack on the kilos. I know that that’s often the case with me.
At the Centre for Men and Families, much of our focus is on the inner work that all men must do as they journey toward maturity, and for good reason. It’s a vital work! Part of me wants to lose weight just to feel better about myself but a major weight loss program without an internal journey does not fix anything. In fact if I don’t tend to my inner world then I could end up self-soothing in other ways, apart from eating. My pain will pop up elsewhere, and that could end up causing more damage. It would be better to be overweight and emotionally healthy, than to strive for a perfect body for all the wrong reasons.
But our bodies matter as well, so it’s good to nurture both.
So, this year I want to focus on becoming healthier, both inside and out. As I work on my soul with my mentors, friends and my men’s circle, I want to bring my body into better health as part of that journey. That’s why between now and The Gathering in May, I want to try and get back to a healthy weight for a man my age and height.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, if I’m going to lose weight, I want it to count for more! So, I’ve decided to lose weight to support the work of The Centre for Men and Families. How am I going to do that? I’m inviting you to sponsor me as I go on this journey. Every dollar you donate will go to the vital work of CFMA.
Finally I want to finish with this disclaimer: Radical self-acceptance is a sign of emotional maturity. If I lose weight without working on my inner world, it won’t benefit me in the long term. No matter our size and shape, no matter the burdens and wounds that we carry, we are loved as we are. And we belong in this community.
This is my journey. However, if you would like to be my companion on this journey then get in touch with me: email@example.com
Over the next three months, I’ll be posting updates on my progress, so you can follow along with the journey. In fact, here is a video of my first weigh-in: https://youtu.be/2ABOrX2sTB0
Thanks for supporting me and the work of Centre for Men and Families.