Tuesday, January 18, 2011
John Vella's (Bodybuilder) Inspiring Story!
I was diagnosed with Crohn's when I was 17 years old. At the time I was deathly ill. I weighed in at a whopping 82 pounds. My skin looked awful, and I barely had the energy to go up a flight of steps. The cramps were constant and crippling. Trips to the hospital were just a part of life. It wasn't pretty! 2 surgeries and dozens of lengthy hospital stays later (plus slews of harsh medications that had their own set of lovely symptoms), let's fast forward to today. I consider myself totally cured. I am on no medication whatsoever, and I am 160 pounds, and preparing to compete in my first bodybuilding contest. I have also been dabbling with powerlifting with a 495 pound deadlift, and a 315 pound bench press, so that too may be on the horizon should I decide to seriously pursue it! I have also participated extensively in Submission Grappling & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. (Not exactly the world's most gentle pastimes) I say this humbly by the way! I say it not to boast, but to inspire anyone who walks in the shoes I did when I was a teenager.
Obviously the nutritional aspect of my healing from Crohn's is paramount, but It is a massive topic for another discussion.
What I did not realize at the time when I was ill were the mental and emotional roots of Crohn's!
There are a few key factors I would like to bring forward. The first one is our mental attitude when dealing with this challenge. For the longest time, I would consider myself the victim for obvious reasons. "Why me? I am just a 17 year old kid trying to figure out life as a young adult! This is daunting enough without any added challenges piled on!" We develop a victim mentality mindset. This will also be encouraged by most of our loved ones as well as our health practitioners. They are simply trying to be supportive, but it gives us an easy fall-back position to carry on with the same "I'm defeated attitude".
One day back when I was 17, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and made a decision. I said to myself "No longer is it OK for me to just get by. I am getting big and strong, no matter what!!!" For me the fascination with power and strength was embedded in me from the time I was 9 years old watching cartoons like He-Man, wrestlers like Hulk Hogan & movies like Conan the Destroyer. So I made a decision at 17 years old, that I was going to somehow get big and strong. No ands, ifs, or buts. Crohn's or no Crohn's, It was going to happen!!! I'll never forget the day I told this to one of my doctors. He said "Oh John, you may be able to get in decent shape, but you'll never get really big" I simply used this as more fuel. He wasn't trying to put me down; it was simply too big a stretch for his paradigm to accept! So in summary, you MUST believe in yourself and change the way you view yourself! You DO NOT have to be identified by your Crohn's. Screw that!!!! Set a goal regarding your physical body that gets your juices flowing. Visualize the body you desire to be in, and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Go through life with THAT attitude all the time, and magic will start to happen in your life. It truly is empowering, and the only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves!
The second factor I have found from my experience speaking with other Crohn's patients, is they tend to internalize anger. I was always the type of kid who was really nice to everyone, but also never knew how to say "no" and be assertive. I don't know why, but it always has been a challenge. It still is today!
This can often lead to us becoming silently offended when dealing with assertive people. We have a hard time standing up for what we want. What happens then is us internalizing anger. It is a common theme I have had, and that I have realized many other Crohn's patients have. To change our behaviour overnight is simply not realistic. We have lived our lives by certain themes, and I am a huge believer in those themes manifesting themselves in physical form.
Last year I had the good fortune to learn an energy healing called Emotional Freedom Technique. (EFT) This has been quite helpful with digging deep into the roots of my behavioural patterns. I highly suggest investigating this as a powerful complement to a new nutritional program, and a perfect companion to your new positive attitude about your body and what you WILL accomplish. There is more information regarding this on my website: www.johnvella.ca
Feel free to drop me an email for further information!
I hope this was helpful to anyone reading this. Remember, you have the power to transform your health. Take command of your life, make that decision, and never ever give up!