Goodbye My Friend

There are elements to weight loss and management that simply confound me at times. I knew from weight loss social media sites that many people when getting close to their goals will sabotage their own efforts and will subsequently implode. They will quickly wipe out all of their efforts in less than half the time it took to lose the weight they had lost. They will regain all of their lost body fat, and most of the time will wind up with a higher body fat percentage than what they had began with. This is a sad reality that occurs each and every day.

When I was working towards earning my certification as a Nutrition and Wellness consultant, a portion of the course of study covered human nature when it comes to weight loss. You would think the most important question to ask a prospective client would be  – “why do you want to lose weight”?  This question actually ranks down to about third in  importance. The top two questions are actually – “are you willing” and “do you think you can”? If you are not willing or do not believe you can, then the question of why is a moot point.  Even people who are facing death will not find this reason enough to change their dietary habits. This lesson was slammed home for me in a very personal way over the course of the last year.

( in the interest of family privacy, I’m withholding my friends name below)

 A little over a week ago, I lost my best friend to liver cancer. I had taken him into my home a year ago to care for him since he was unable to care for himself in his own home. My friend was also morbidly obese, he had very poor nutritional habits that contributed to his demise.

As we watched his condition deteriorate, it was becoming obvious that we would be needing help in the home with his care, or possibly have him placed in a Hospice House. I took him to his last oncology visit with the intent of speaking to the doctor about hospice care, but it turned out I did not need to raise the subject as the doctor brought it up first. Even though I knew my friends condition had deteriorated, I sat in stunned silence as the doctor told him nothing more could be done, and then he described how his demise would occur. The doctor reassured him it would be painless, and that he would simply fall asleep and never wake up again. We left the oncologist’s  office and checked him into the hospital with the hope he would be transferred to a Hospice House at the beginning of the week. For my dear friend, the beginning of the week never came. Early Saturday morning he fell asleep. Sunday afternoon, I watched him gasp for his last breath and then sadly watched as the life left his body.

As tragic as this loss has been, I want to convey an important lesson from it in order to help others. My best friend had hope for a cure. Although he was morbidly obese, I was there when his doctor said that if he could get his body mass index (BMI) down, he would be able to get a life saving  organ transplant. It was a long shot, but through good nutrition I was able to assist him in losing weight from 588 pounds down to 361 pounds. He went from being immobile to actually being able to do the exercise program I had set him up with. He also regained his ability to walk without his walker. We were on a good path towards achieving his goal of getting his BMI down far enough for the transplant. He was feeling much better, his blood labs had vastly improved. It was amazing to see the transformation to his quality of life. But then, about late summer or early fall, he fell back to his old eating habits, which resulted in a rapid decline to his health. I had talked with him about the importance of not resuming his bad nutritional habits ever again, as he did not have the luxury of time with the cancer in his liver. We had to get his BMI down before the cancer took over. I was actually optimistic about achieving this goal until he began once again eating sugar and sneaking out for fast foods excursions along with having it delivered to our home. I know he wanted to live, but in the end, the cravings for unhealthy food choices beat out his desire for life.

We cannot, nor will we ever know if my kind and gentle friends life would have been saved if he had remained on point with nutrition and exercise. Cancer is a bitch and will take even the most healthy with a swiftness. The take away point is the importance of healthy nutritional habits as a permanent lifestyle and not a temporary diet. It is not rocket science that a fit and trim body is going to allow you to live a life of better quality than living with an obese or overweight body. When you allow yourself to become obese and out of good physical condition, you are literally gambling with your life.  The longer you let a habit overcome sensibility, the harder it is for one to break this habit. This is especially true when it comes to poor nutritional habits. If you have a child with a weight problem, it is incumbent upon you to help them to change their unhealthy ways. By allowing your child to continue with poor nutrition of sugary, processed foods, you are dooming them to an unhealthy life in the future. A healthy body is more important than a roll of the dice.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jimi Magenheimer says:

    As I read this I will continue to wipe away the tears. I will always remember our friend as we were as younger people. I guess its me defense mechanism for accepting the in enviable. I know you made a suggestion and well I am a stubborn fool for not listening.
    David you are a great man and a forever brother.
    Time takes its toll on all of is in its own way.
    With that said know I continue to shower you and your family with prayers for your further

    Forevermore my friend

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thanks brother.

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