While following my journey he looked at his own life and saw some similarities. He looked at his health and saw a reason to make a change.
He looked at his wife and saw a future he wanted to live for. He looked at his family and saw a joy he didn’t want to lose. He made the difficult choice to change and decided to have the same weight-loss surgery that I had, at the same weight loss centre where I get treated.
Claude was scheduled for lap-band weight loss surgery on April 9th of this year, exactly two years and five days after I rolled on to the operating table full of hope and fear.
In a tragic reminder that obesity is a high-stakes disease, Claude Martell died of an apparent heart attack while in Mexico on January 7th. He was 39 years old.
His sister reached out to me last week and I have been thinking about Claude and his family ever since.
I’ve talked to hundreds of people over the last two years who are looking to make a change and one of the most frustrating things I’ve learned to cope with is that there is no way of rushing anyone. Everyone has to come to their own conclusion in their own time.
Sometimes I get frustrated when the same people who message me asking for help are posting pictures from fast food restaurants. They’re sad and depressed and while they think they’re obsessed with getting better, really they’re just obsessed with the idea of getting better. You can’t make anyone start before they’re ready.
That’s why Claude’s story is so tragic. He was ready. He took the first, most difficult step and admitted the life he was living wasn’t what he wanted. He turned to those who loved him most and said he wasn’t happy with the way he was living.
His sister tells me that just before he left for Mexico he said he wished he was getting on the plane to head for the surgery instead.
We think we’ve got forever to make the changes we want but we don’t. Claude will never get to live the life he wanted. He’ll never get to make the changes he dreamed of. He’ll never get to show himself, his family, and his friends how strong he really was.
And I’ll never the get the chance to thank him for making my story a part of his own.
I’ll never get to tell him that it’s the strength of people like him that keeps me so passionate.
Obesity is deadly. Health leads to hope.
Whatever change you’re putting off, take the first step tonight.
If you can’t find the will to do it for yourself, do it while thinking of Claude.
Borrow the strength in his memory and get started while you can.
Wanting to change just isn’t enough.