To thine own self be true. William Shakespeare

One of the biggest changes post-transplant was learning that I didn’t really know anything about myself at all – new lungs, new body, new everything. I would look back at the great old days when I knew every creak and crackle my body made.

Looking back over this blog in preparation for the Smile Through It release later this month, I’ve discovered I never really knew anything at all. I was just as clueless then as I am now.

Case in point

Every so often I catch sight of myself in the mirror and realise how much I dislike my body; surprisingly, not in the ways you’d expect.

Yes, I have quite a chubby, rounded face and obvious double-chin, but that’s mostly down to the steroids I take to keep my lungs healthy and I’d rather have moon-face than be dead – easy trade-off, that one. I’m also covered in scars. Literally covered. But to me they are symbols of everything I’ve been through. My shark bite and bullet wounds are the best (that’s my chest-wide transplant scar and the remnants of my 7 chest drains, for those who think I’m a touch more adventurous than I am).

What I dislike about my body is a) my belly and b) the mismatch between my barrel-chest (again, a pre-transplant leftover), my spindly arms and, in particular, my weedy little legs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not filled with self-hatred or considering any drastic surgical action, I just really, really don’t like the shape of my body.

So, every now and again, I try to do something about it. I change my diet, I start eating healthily and I start to exercise.

My myriad fitness fails

My lack of self-knowledge then rears its ugly head as I find or devise an exercise plan that will get me in tip-top shape in a sensible, achievable amount of time. Like, you know, 8 weeks.

Every time I have done this – and I mean every single time – I’ve started out for 2 days, over-worked myself and ended up in an achy, immoveable heap for the following three days, got out of the habit and, frankly, given up.

The only times I’ve ever made it work in any semblance of sensible way is when I’ve joined a gym and had a proper, sensible instructor who knows what they are doing gives me a sensible, balanced programme to build myself up at a sensible pace.

So what did I do this week? You guessed it.

Impossible Abs. Impossible.

With 8 weeks until Christmas I thought to myself it’s a perfect window to get into training. A while back my kind-of-friend/inspiration/bloke-what-blogs Joel Runyon released his Impossible Abs course, a strict fitness and dietary plan to get chiseled abs in just 8 weeks: perfect.

I signed up for the course, did my healthy shop online for all the right foods, then hammered 2 workouts in 2 days that have left me still achy and shaky as I write this post three days later. Massive, massive fail.

The thing I keep forgetting about changing my body and getting the most out of these new lungs is that they are not ready to go full-bore into something this hardcore. It is, literally, impossible for me to maintain that sort of a regime with the body I currently have. I must take a slower approach.

Product of my culture

I preface this all by saying that there is no one to blame for my failings but me. That said, I blame the world I inhabit.

A world where I shoot films, which is no-way near condusive to eating healthily – you just munch on anything that will give you enough energy to get through the day.

A world where I work in social media, the most instantaneous of media that give gratification of any kind within milliseconds at the click of a mouse.

A world where everything is fast, crazy, easy, accessible and achieveable. A world where people can toil for 40 years and all we see is their overnight success.

A world where I believe I can get a new body within seconds.

A world where I’m wrong. A lot.

Changing my mindset

If I’m going to get fit, build my body and start feeling confident about looking myself in the mirror, I need to make some serious changes.

I need to accept that I can’t do everything at once.

I need to accept that I can’t change things in an instant.

I need to accept that this body of mine can’t do everything and that I’m not Superman.

More than anything, though, I need to accept that that’s OK.


What changes in mindset are you struggling with the most? Leave a comment or ping me an email and we can work on them together. The more minds the better!

Photo: Ray Sadler on Flickr

Some other posts you might like: