"You Only Live Twice"
Hi, My name is Sumit – lovingly known as Sumo.
I am often called an old soul, the title is probably helped with my love of old songs and having deep conversations - many times in the most ironic of settings. I am currently 31 years old, working in the family business of plastics manufacturing and started a board games café with a few friends as a passion project. I enjoy nature-based activities, hiking, climbing, campfires, good food and wine.
Recently, I made great changes on how I perceive the world around me and would like to share that journey with you. I was lucky enough to have been dealt an adversity that tested my integrity. It was not the royal flush of adversities but was enough to make me cry at the time and wake up as a realist shortly after.
At the young age of 28, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – an old man’s disease! Since the day I received the results, I learnt two things about myself.
My first great lesson: Let logic prevail. It is what it is, the diabetes is not going anywhere. The only option is to find a way to deal with it. When life deals you a bad hand - you can either fold or bring out your best poker face!
I also learnt that the first thing I did in distress was to blame others for my messed-up lifestyle. I accused my father (you know, like any immigrant father who values and rewards hard working mindsets) for imposing an unhealthy work-life balance. The change of mindset did allow me to shift my focus to take a more holistic view on incidents around my life instead of taking things personally. I find many times that we are so focused on personifying any mistakes and pointing fingers, perhaps because that helps with gossip, gossip makes for captivating stories, and stories are what makes us human.
When I went to see some reputable doctors to help manage my diabetes, I was so caught up implying that the doctors were brainwashed to recommend medicine and not pro-lifestyle changes – and I pointed fingers on the single-minded conventional approach of the medical system. After factoring that my HBA1c levels were at 15 and 17 and after meals sugars went to above 400 mg/dl (*)– the doctors were glad that I had not passed out somewhere and their primary focus was to bring those levels to a controlled amount for “MY” benefit. I hope we can all find ways to take a step back and see the world from other people’s eyes and understand where they are coming from.
Isn’t our individuality or how each of us see the same world differently what makes us human?
Photos provided by Sumit Dodhia
My second great lesson, the power of lifestyle change!
I imagine you must have heard the famous quote, “it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to make it a lifestyle.” I do testify that a lifestyle change is such a powerful mindset change. I learnt to change my reward mechanism. All it asks of you is 90 days of your life!
Owning a café (with a fully-fledged bar and kitchen – with beer on tap) it was extremely easy to ‘earn’ a beer after a hard day of work at the family business. After realising that I was too stubborn for medicine, I decided to try a lifestyle change. The big picture was simple, idealistic, and tangible! EAT WELL, EXERCISE & LOSE WEIGHT!
But how do we get there? It is the everyday living that is difficult, isn’t it?
I found, instead of worrying about the overwhelming big picture, just make the small choices every day. One day, you’ll wake up, look in the mirror and realise: “I’m doing it! I’m living it!”
I would think of where I want to be and if that choice will support me on that journey. In the evenings, instead of meeting friends for a drink or excusing myself to just plonk in front of a tv – I persevered and chose to go for a jog until this choice was the automatic choice. Soon enough, instead of beer runs, I needed actual runs after work to get the mind to slow down and be at peace.
Changing my reward mechanism! Changing my source of happiness!
It also helped to understand that I loved spending time with friends, camouflaged in all the tasty food we used to go eat together, but realising the memories were made in the conversations and living in the now. Sort of the relationship between popcorn and movies, you do not need one for the other – but what a power couple!
So, separating the emotion from the event, really assisted in making healthier choices in the moment. These thought processes helped me be there with my friends and still being strict with my health and wellbeing!
Do question yourself, where else do emotions intertwine with everyday activities we do, and are they healthy relationships?
I also felt I would make many choices to live up to the identity and image I had set in the minds of my friends and family. I had been a certain type of character, create a certain type of vibe. This affects our subconscious mind. After making better choices of lifestyle, this automatically transpired into how I would like to spend my time and energy. Thus, naturally creating and allowing me to embrace a new identity. The new identity is being moulded with the conscious small choices that I want, creating a new Sumo that I am happy with! Creating a new Sumo I am at peace with!
Just like that, from being the official beer tasting director at Baobox, I became the healthy food advocate at my own café! It almost seemed that my identity had changed. There was a Sumo of the past who just enjoyed his beer, food, going out, and overall big guy living it large. There is a Sumo of the now, who is the contact person if you would like to go hiking, enjoys spending Sundays out in the wild, and eats healthy without shame.
I know everyone is fighting a battle, with themselves or with the world around them. I am not unique in my story. But perhaps I was lucky to have an external catalyst that helped me find a world that I was not aware could exist. In the end, it seems the goal is common – happiness. There are so many positive body and mind messages out there, but if it does not come from within it feels like there is a void that is not getting filled, doesn’t it? I would like you to ask yourself; Are you happy with how you are? With whom you are? If not, what would you like to change about yourself?
Start painting your big picture, let every stroke be the small choices you make to complete that picture!
I would like to mention living healthy, both body and mind, came from lots of support from friends and family. People who supported me, educated me, respected my choices, and celebrated my victories. I would like to thank you all! I only wish I can only be a similar positive influence on other people’s lives and help them paint their picture better!
*HBa1C is a test to find your average blood sugar levels in the last 3 months. A normal range is between 4% and 5.6%. Blood Sugar levels of 140 Mg/Dl after meals is considered normal.
By Sumit Dodhia
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