I Love Food but I Love Life More
By Gilbert Quinones
The reason I think I use so many movie analogies in some of my writings is because I grew up watching a ton of movies as a kid. My big sister worked at a theater called the Cinema 76 in Copperas Cove, Texas and I got free popcorn, soda, and movies. I think watching all the movies early on helped me to be intuitive during my childhood and to this day I still use movie scenes to make analogies.
Although consuming lots of soda and sweets were probably not the best thing for the little butter ball I was. Growing up as a chubby kid I was made fun of alot but deep down I always wanted to be healthy and in shape. Luckily, I was eventually able to lose around 100lbs. The transformation was one of the greatest and exhilarating feelings ever. However, despite my efforts of losing weight I was never able to achieve a level where my BMI % represented the “standard” (six-pack, adonis appearance, blah blah) in fitness.
Recently I tried, hehe. Meaning, that I’ve been striving to get there and I’m still working on it. I saw a photo of Mark Walburg when he was around 185lbs and it inspired me. The guy is 51! And he has some similar physical attributes to me but I am several years younger. I told myself, “I can do it!” Recently I tried so hard to achieve (got down to 196.8lbs) the goal of his same weight at 185lbs and it was challenging. I still hope to get there.
I hope this helps you to stay focused and that you will always keep your health standards high. Most of us struggle to either lose weight or stay in shape. The world has evolved and it is much more difficult to maintain a healthy body these days when we are living in a world of technological conveniences.
I know and understand the battles you may deal with when it comes to fighting cravings and staying focused to exercise. Hopefully hearing this story helps you to be more self-aware of the importance of always striving for healthy living.
Recently I found out I was going to live a little longer than I expected to.
This event caused me to reevaluate my relationship with food so that I not only appreciate the taste but more importantly appreciate it for the results.
It was a time at the crossroads when I had to reflect and think about preparing for the possibility of not existing. Simply put, I thought I was going to die.
I was experiencing severe pain. One doctor that examined me could see I was in pain as he pressed on my stomach. After he reviewed my CT scans that showed abnormalities I remember the look of concern on his face as he tried to be discreet about it and said we need to schedule a colonoscopy ASAP.
I was scared of what they were going to find. This fear prevented me from getting checked out years earlier as I sensed something was not right.
Now that I know (knocking on wood) that I am okay and had time to reflect, I can say this experience gave me a new set of eyes on how to view the world and the importance of healthy living.
There is a scene from Interview with a Vampire, after he becomes a vampire he is told, now look at the world with your vampire eyes. His view of the world was never the same again.
I feel some similarities with this character when he awakens and now sees things differently. Realizing just how precious life really is can be described as enlightening gratitude with appreciation for the little things.
The way strangers smile. Pleasant sounds of kids playing. The sound of the ripples blowing in the water. Life. It is so precious. And I’m so grateful to be able to see my son grow prosperous and appreciate all the little things that can easily be taken for granted.
Because I realize just how short life is and the fact that I must practice what I preach. I am sharing a few things that I have come to realize with these new set of eyes.
One day soon I will share the whole story and all its details. But for now, I am sharing the lessons I took away from this experience.
The summarized version is I had to take pain pills as I waited patiently for doctors to send me to different specialists. I was bleeding occasionally for three years off/on but in the third year, it started to be consistent. I was scared to get checked out (stupid me smh) and I just figured I had a severe ulcer and I just needed to control stress to make it go away.
As the bleeding darkened, so did my pain.
I thought I was done and one night I was not sure if I was going to bleed internally and not wake up.
I was traveling and had no one close by to call. I experienced the most severe pain I ever had in my life and I couldn’t use the restroom. I actually thought I was going to wake up my neighbors because of my long painful moaning. I didn’t want to move from bed and it hurt so bad that I didn’t want to be touched or moved into an ambulance.
Long story short and two ER sessions later it turns out I actually only have three ulcers in my colon and I must learn to live with Crohn’s disease for the remainder of my life.
It’s no big deal (as long as I’m not having a flare-up episode) and I ended up switching my diet to 80% plants for protein. No, it doesn’t taste as good as the real stuff but when compared to that pain I experienced I don’t care. I would eat dog food if I had to in order to prevent that pain from returning again and it was one of the many events that has humbled me forever.
Here are a few things that I took away from the experience.
1) NATURE IS UNDERRATED
I get lost looking into the mountains. Similar to the artistic beauty of a special painting, getting captivated by the mountains’ beauty is comparable for me. As I drive through mountain sceneries with snow caps in the distance it always makes me reflect on just how small we really are. Similar to how it feels when you see a large moon at its peak size. Seeing the enormous mountains become more massive as you drive closer is the same feeling.
“Does it ever get old?” This is a question I often ask local people when I travel. I’m not one for small talk and prefer to have meaningful conversations and when we are talking about how beautiful the mountain views are this is something I’ll ask random strangers. I want to know if they appreciate the beauty we are experiencing or if it is something they take for granted. And I love to hear people open up about how they feel about the area and what goes through their mind.
“Nice cold beer in the warm sun feeling your blood warm with the New Orleans music. I get it now.”
When we spend time with people, we create new experiences. And each time we walk away from that person, we become different people (in some way) than we were before.
Because we take the new knowledge, the new shared feelings, the new experience communicating with that person stays with us.
It’s the reason why it is important to stay away from negative people. It’s also what makes special people in our lives precious to spend time with so valuable.
I feel very fortunate as I know most people need to stay in a local area and don’t always have the option to be able to travel for months at a time and work remotely.
I sometimes wonder if I should be spending time with someone during my travels because I have no one to witness or share the moment I am experiencing with. It makes me realize why we value experiencing moments with people we love so much.
It’s almost as if we don’t acknowledge the beautiful moment with someone then there is no recollection or proof of the feeling we are witnessing and experiencing. Similar to the philosophical quote, “If a tree falls in the forest and there are no ears to hear it, does it make a sound?” I realize now it’s not just about the beauty we are experiencing but more about the way it makes us feel while we are experiencing it.
It’s about sharing and the feeling you get whether it’s giving or sharing something beautiful. It’s about the appreciation of knowing someone else feels the same thing you are witnessing and carries the experience with you.
If we don’t share that moment with someone, then it’s possible for us to feel that moment will get lost in the universe somewhere. I found that by taking the time to write about some of these experiences, I share the moment with others in a different way.
Although it’s not the same, it’s something that I can share. And if something were to happen to me then it is my hope and desire these writings will remain in existence.
In summary, when you are able, take a deep breath to gather your thoughts and go spend time in nature. Nature is underrated.
2) WE SPEAK THINGS INTO EXISTENCE.
Our choice of words has the power to influence our lives because it is the words we speak that influences our decisions. Recently when staring at the possibility of death I think it stares back at us and stays with us in our subconscious.
Sitting close to the mountaintop it is so quiet and you can hear nearly everything. It makes it simple to reflect upon mortality and realize several things with total clarity. If I don’t write these words into existence and I pass nothing, then nothing becomes the reality because our words die with us unless we choose to express ourselves.
We have the power to shape our world. The words you speak have the ability to create the world around you. Why would you choose poor words with limitations and self-doubt? Don’t.
If you want to accomplish something, it starts with your choice of words.
If you want to get better at something or accomplish goals, you need to choose your words carefully.
What you say can dictate, create, initiate, stimulate, commence, influence, or become conducive to making things happen in some way.
You have the ability to create your life any way you want.
We speak things into existence.
3) LIVE IN THE MOMENT THAT IS HAPPENING AND GET TO KNOW PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE.
So many of us are connected to technology and we can easily forget to look up. Do you feel a desire to live in the moment or do you feel you should be looking somewhere else that’s not happening?
I feel as humans our public behavior has evolved and many people are apprehensive. I think it is foolish for two humans to walk past each other and not make eye contact if it is not a crowded place. To give a friendly nod or say a single “hi” or “how are you?” shows people a common respect as another human being. It seems like there are so many people that have a “don’t challenge anybody, no eye contact” mindset.
Most people smile when they see that you show care and concern and either say their name or remember their name when you see them again.
I was checking out at a grocery store and I entered my phone number to identify my membership rewards with that store.
The cashier said my name, “Gilbert?” And then I said his name (reading his name tag) as a response, “Dexter”. He was a sharp young man with a “Where’s Waldo” type appearance and he just couldn’t help but let out a big cheesy smile after I said his name.
“It’s actually my new nickname I started using”, he said. He was proud of his name. It got me thinking. What if we could know everybody on earth? How would that make people feel? How much of a difference would that impact civilization?
I love to make predictions about the world and gradually watch some of those predictions become reality. Saying a prediction is bold because you are basing it off your observations and even though the rudimentary principles for it may exist it requires our imagination to be free.
Is it possible to know everyone and understand a little bit about everybody?
According to publications from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, we will reach a world population of 8,000,000,000 people by mid-November 2022.
If you asked the average person a few hundred years ago if it would be possible to soar hundreds of people simultaneously through the clouds and over the oceans they would have absolutely said that it would never be possible.
Since that became possible, I think it’s important to not think with limitations about anything else. Communicating with the world simultaneously is now possible. So when thinking about the possibility of communicating with everyone in the world and knowing everybody you see and understanding the consciousness of every human being in the world is possible to me.
It just hasn’t happened yet.
Just think how much we could understand each other if you could know every person in the world as if they were your friendly neighbor.
Until that time. Live in the moment that is happening and get to know people for who they are.
4) GET OUT AND TRAVEL TO CREATE NEW EXPERIENCES
When I was in the sixth grade through middle school for my elective choice I took band class. What I loved most about band class is we got to go on field trips such as state fairs and many other places like Six Flags! We were always traveling somewhere and it was so much fun.
The first time I went on a trip I remember how excited it felt. I was in the sixth grade and so thrilled because it was my first time riding a commercial charter bus. I remember the feeling of walking up the steps onto that bus. It was cool, nice, and dim with fancy lights. You could hear the diesel engine quietly running in the background and all my friends were excited and getting situated in their seats.
My best friend who would later pass away three years later was Avedis Garcia. He is one of the people in my life that would later influence me to strive for fitness. But in 6th grade, we didn’t talk about lifting weights then. There were no cell phones for kids then but we had our video game magazines such as Nintendo Power. It was a time of fast innovation for the video game industry and I remember we were so excited that the Super Nintendo was coming out and we were flipping through the different pages of the screenshots showing its graphics compared to the Sega Genesis.
But the greatest feeling was the excitement to be going somewhere with my friends. Every time I’m about to travel somewhere new when I crank the engine I feel a part of the excitement I felt as a kid. To be going somewhere new. And although I travel alone it’s the memories I have with my friends that makes me smile.
“If I have not seen someone in years it doesn’t matter because I can remember and feel what it’s like being in their presence. Memories are special.”
If you are able I hope you take time to travel and get away from routine once in a while. Never running away but instead always seeking new experiences. Running towards healing and deeper meaning for your inner self to be at peace.
Get out and travel to create new experiences.
5) LISTEN TO YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS
Dreams have a strong relation to our subconscious. They expose our insecurities and aspirations. Usually, they do not go into our long-term memory unless we write them down or talk about them as soon as we wake.
Do you have any dreams you can remember when you were young? I have one I recall when I was 5. The reason I remember this dream many years later is because as soon as I woke up I talked about it to my family. It had the Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Superman, and some female looking hulk that I think coincidently recently became a T.V. series. Because I talked about my dream thirty-nine years ago I can still remember all the details as if I just dreamed about it last night. And till this day I still write down or sketch dreams that I feel may have some relevance.
As an adult, during the pandemic, I had a nightmare (during the peak of the stay-at-home lockdowns) and I had my quarantine weight on at the time at 247lbs. I DID NOT want to go back to around 300lbs. All these door dash people were bringing me fast food and they wanted me to get obese again. It was such a weird dream.
Now when I see fast food places I try to imagine seeing the bad stuff behind those brands. When I see the signs I also see consequences in the background.
I feel like the dream was my subconscious that gave me clarity of what was happening inside my body. This has changed my life and stopping the fast food possibly helped prevent my condition from becoming fatal.
Deep down we know what decisions we should be making.
Listen to your subconscious.
6) DO YOUR BEST TO LIVE HEALTHY FOR THE LONG TERM
Recently I found a new hobby in mountain biking on nature trails. As a “computer” type guy I didn’t think I would enjoy biking in the mountains so much.
When I was picking up a package of an e-bike at a UPS distribution center the size of the box made me reflect. The package weighed about 75lbs and the clerk offered to help me carry out the large box. It got me thinking that I lost 100lbs (more than the package) and now two people are carrying this large box out to my vehicle.
It made me realize that there are many people in this world still carrying around these packages on their own, weighing them down, and shortening their lives. I remember vividly the feeling of what it was like to carry around that extra weight and having to scoot my body just to get out of bed. And to think I carried more than the weight of this package on me full-time blows my mind.
I would not be able to go mountain biking if I had never lost weight. It makes me realize there are so many people that have limitations and are not able to enjoy many physical activities in life.
If you happen to be in that position I wish there was a way I could help you instantly. But just as the UPS clerk helped me carry my package maybe in some way this article has helped you to reflect on where you may be carrying extra weight. Even if it is just the mental weight, physical or not we all carry some kind of weight. I hope that you find these principles and experiences insightful to energize your life in some way.
And if the end result ends up with you being able to spend more time with your loved ones and enjoy more special moments, then I hope you will also love food, but love life more.