I think I have written, reread and deleted this post more than any other I have ever written. For some reason, taking a look at myself and my journey of fitness and personal growth has made me uncomfortable. I’ve been secretly trying to understand why, because I don’t often feel uncomfortable when it comes to sharing my life. I have struggled with my body and mind for my entire life. I have been a different version of me so often, that I think I lost track of who I was over the years. And so, at a very tumultuous crossroads earlier in 2016, I sat down and realized that I needed to find myself again.
I liken the epiphany to a day like any other a few months ago when I was walking the dog. As Canela caught me off guard and pulled me to the ground, I let go of her leash. I lay winded on the sidewalk watching her run away from me with tears streaming down my face. She had knocked the wind out of me and I hit my head on the pavement. Pain shot through my limbs because I hit my ribs pretty hard. Not to mention how scared I was that I might not catch her. In that very moment of pain and anxiety I told myself it was time to get up. I had to. I couldn’t just lay there in pain and watch her run away forever.
Get up Daniel. Get up.
I have been very lucky in my life and career to make friends around the world, including the team at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto. When I realized that I needed to proverbially “get up” and work towards a better me, I sat down and thought about where and what that meant. They suggested that I take advantage of their immaculate Health Club to work towards my fitness goals as one very integral part of my journey was about to begin. I used to be the kind of person that was focused on solely the physical changes in my body as a measurement of success. The more weight I lost, the better I was. Being fit was a drug in and I got addicted pretty quickly to the attention it brought me… but I hadn’t addressed my mental, emotional and spiritual needs in the process.
This time around, I swore to myself that it was going to be different. I promised that I would be honest about my progress in every way possible, because I owed it to myself at 32 years old to finally try to find out who I was. Over the past few weeks I have been going to the health club, swimming in the pool, sitting in the infrared sauna and giving this all a lot of thought. The journey towards a better me is a lot more complicated this time around, but it is one that I am taking very seriously
I don’t know how to explain how difficult it is for me to post a “before shot” because I still have a hard time at it. I see every flaw and every part of me that I unfortunately have grown to hate. The physical is just one part of the issues I am working to fix for myself, but it’s a pretty big piece of the process for me.
As someone who has been all shapes and sizes, it was never about the number on the scale. It was about loving myself, and trying to remind myself that I am a beautiful person. I think this is a challenge that many of us face, be it secretly behind closed doors or publicly for the world to see. Finding balance in my life is a necessity that I am no longer willing to sacrifice.
So I took my health into my own hands, because I had fallen down for the last time and I was ready to make a change. I started to read again every day because I was once a ferocious reader. In the pages of Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business I have found some truly moving moments of clarity. Reading has always been a way to see myself in the words of someone else. And this book has actually had a pretty significant impact on me at this moment.
“Rather, productivity is about making certain choices in certain ways. The way we choose to see ourselves and frame daily decisions; the stories we tell ourselves, and the easy goals we ignore; the sense of community we build among teammates; the creative cultures we establish as leaders: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.”
― Charles Duhigg,
I came to realize that it wasn’t just about the fact that my pants didn’t fit the way I wanted or that I was rounder in the face. It was so much more than that. I had lost my motivation and my willingness to change. I got comfortable in the life I had created and didn’t even see that physically, mentally and emotionally I had drifted far from shore.
So now I am left with a journey that isn’t a quick fix. I am seeing a therapist again to work through some heavy issues I have been faced with. I am taking the time to transform my body and become more fit. And most importantly of all, I am trying every single day to look in the mirror and appreciate myself inside and out. There is so much more to me than people realize, and I have to learn what that means again.
There has been so much irregularity in my life in 2016 and yet still so many positive things to share. I am choosing to navigate through them all and weigh them evenly on the road to a better me. I want to be happy and I want to love myself again. I think that deep down, at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. I want to be happy and for a long time I haven’t been.
A photo posted by Daniel Reyes (@dothedaniel) on
A video posted by Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto (@shangrilato) on
I think the small changes in my life are helping to make the biggest difference. I am learning to take time for myself at the health club. I am reading again. I am writing in my journal. And I have found an oasis that is there to support the road to a better me at Shangri-La Hotel Toronto.
To learn more about the health club and how you too can take a step to finding yourself again, make sure to click here.
For more health and rejuvenating inspiration, make sure to follow @ShangrilaTO on Instagram & Twitter, and ‘Like’ their Facebook page. Let us know what you love most about the hotel and it’s health amenities (yes, the spa counts too!) in your busy life. We can’t wait to see what helps you find yourself.
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Photos: Shangri-La Hotel Toronto & Daniel Reyes