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Sunday, February 03, 2013

So what's the accomplishment?

 I've seen the video at the following link shared by a lot of people on facebook.  Take a moment to watch it at the Do You Even site, then pop back here.

Heart Touching Inspirational Transformation

 Pretty awesome, right?



Okay.  Let's look at this story for a moment.  Here we have a Gulf War veteran; a former paratrooper with injuries to his back and knees, no longer able to walk unassisted.  He started doing yoga, regains his mobility, and now he can not only walk, but run, again.  That's pretty friggin' amazing!

Oh, wait.  That's not the story we actually got.  Not really.  What we really got was ZOMG!!!1! he got SO FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and he can't walk anymore.  His stomach was OUT TO HERE!!!!  But he LOST 140lbs in a year and LOOK AT HIM NOW!  He's skinny again!  What an amazing transformation!

(oh, and btw, he can walk and run now)

I realize this is a year's worth of clips put together and necessarily edited, but whoever put the video together had the choice of what to focus on.  There was an incredible story to share.  To go from having to wear back and knees braces, and having to walk with two canes, if walking was possible at all, to being able to throw those away and regain full mobility, thanks to a year of doing yoga, is pretty darn mind boggling.  Only a year!  That's just all kinds of amazing!

So why the focus on his weight?  It's almost as the weight itself was what caused his mobility problem and, thanks to the magic of weight loss, suddenly he's cured!  Even the brief clip of the yoga instructor was curious.  He describes seeing the back brace, the knee braces, the canes, but OH WOW!  He weighed 297 lbs and had a big belly!!!  I have to help this guy!

Wait.  What?

Even when the video does mention the "most important thing", just before showing him walking, then running, towards the camera, it comes across as a side note.  Just a minor benefit of what he REALLY managed to accomplish, which was to get skinny.

Look.  I can completely understand the challenges this man faced.  My own husband has been struggling with a back injury for many years.  (He's due to see a spine specialist in just a few days, where he will be assessed for surgery.)  Among the old injuries that have come back to haunt him are a knee injury in one leg and an ankle injury in the other.  He's in massive amounts of pain, controlled only so far through painkillers and muscle relaxants.  Last year, he actually had fewer days that he made it into the office then the sick days and holiday time he took because he was in too much pain to come in (though some of those days, he was still able to work from home).  Thankfully, he's good at his job and still managed to keep up with his work, and beyond, and his current employers are pretty amazing about accommodating his health problems.
And yes, he's gained a lot of weight as well.

Also, he does yoga and/or Tai Chi. Pain prevents him from doing it all the time, but he does try to keep it up as he definitely notices that it helps.  We also got him an exercise machine that he can use without further injuring his back or knees, plus we got him some free weights.  We recently picked up a home gym (small, cheap, but adequate for the job), so more weights have been added to the mix.

It helps.

Most of the time.

Other times, things go south, and he's near immobile for days.  Either his knee gives out or the pain in his back gets out of control.  Sadly, weather plays a big part in this, with sudden temperature changes making things incredibly painful for him.  Temperature changes such as the last few weeks, where we've gone from -44C for weeks to the +3C we're having now.  Such temperature extremes are the norm for winters where we live, and it wreaks havoc on his body.

But he keeps on going.

We know he's a good candidate for a surgical fix on part of his back problems - a herniated disc - and we're hoping the spine clinic will be able to give him more tools to deal with the other issues that are contributing to his pain.

Thankfully, no one has given up on my husband, nor has he given up on himself.

And thankfully, while his weight is brought up as a contributing issue, so far no one has tried to tell him that if he just lost weight, all his problems would go away.  Pretty much everyone has been on top of the fact that the weight he gained has been a consequence of his pain and immobility, not a cause. 

I'm really impressed with what the guy in the video accomplished.  To regain quality of life so dramatically is incredible!

Yet I can't help but shaking my head over the video.  Instead of focusing on the astounding results he got in regaining mobility in just one year by doing yoga, it focuses on how much weight he lost, how quickly he lost it, and how thin he got.

Gaining weight was a side effect of his loss of mobility.  Losing weight was another side effect of his regaining his mobility.

Here's a man whose injuries completely destroyed his quality of life.  Through yoga, he was able to recover that quality of life.

That's an amazing story!

So why did they make something that looked like a weight loss ad?

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