Realizations and Apologies

First of all Happy Holidays, and now it’s time to blog.


Have you ever had a realization, a realization that taught you to look at things just a bit differently? My first realization was a WTF realization, and I was about 5 years old when it happened. Let us  go back in time.

I was born in East Los Angeles in the early 70’s. Damn that’s a long time ago. Anyways, from the day of my birth my parents only spoke Spanish to me because that is their first language, so how else were they supposed to talk to me. Moms is from El Salvador and Pops is from Mexico. Eventually both my parents learned to speak English because after all, this is Los Estados Unidos. I think they learned to speak English through a method called “English Submersion”. Come to think of it, that’s how I learned English. They just stuck me in a classroom with English speakers and said “Speak English or shut up!” It was sink or swim. I am not kidding. This is obviously way before ESL, English as a Second Language, programs were implemented into schools. I went to Catholic School in Los Angeles from 1st through 7th grade, and their English learning program was STFU-IUCSE. Shut the eff up if you can’t speak English. I am not kidding. If we spoke Spanish in Catholic school, we got in trouble. Some of those Catholic nuns were as strict and rule enforcing as some of my Marine Corps drill instructors. Damn!

Uncle Sam in Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

As a child I would watch TV in Spanish, listen to music in Spanish, and talk to my parents in Spanish. So guess what I assumed for much of my pre-atttending school life? Little ol Latino me, born in America, assumed that because my parents and all my aunts and uncles spoke Spanish to me, that the w-h-o-l-e world must speak Spanish too. And of course, I was incorrectomundo.


And one day, my “the world’s inhabitants must all speak Spanish” assumption was smashed by a 4 or 5-year-old Korean boy who lived a few homes down from the house my parents rented in the city of Angels. I never learned how to spell that young boy’s name, but I do somewhat remember its pronunciation. It was wan-ee-dee. I am sure I just mutilated his names spelling and pronunciation, but that is how I recall it.

Waneedee and I were playing outside one day. This is way, and I mean w-a-y back, when kids just played outside with each other, without parents having to arrange a play-date, and it happened. Waneedee spoke to me in English. I was like “What the hell did he just say? Is that Korean or something?”. I mean, technically I new he was speaking the language I had seen on TV cartoons, but it still didn’t make sense, and I didn’t understand a word. He spoke fast. I don’t remember if I responded in Spanish, my jacked efforts at English, Spanglish, or if I even responded at all. I just remember my disbelief in someone opening their mouth in person, and not on TV, and a language other than Spanish being expressed. Eventually I got over it, especially when I started kindergarten and EVERYONE spoke English, even the teachers!

And yesterday, I had another humbling realization. I actually felt like quite the dumb ass when I had this realization. It was about an assumption I had for many years about diet and exercise, as it pertains to weight loss. As a trainer, I had always just assumed that weight loss was mostly physical in nature. “A person desiring to lose weight should just eat less, move more, and presto, weight will be lost” I thought. But I read a report yesterday, on, that talked about a survey with psychologists about weight loss and its challenges. Bottom line “Emotions play a central role and may be the primary obstacle with your weight loss”. Holy shit Hector! Another assumption of mine blown up.


So for that assumption I apologize to anyone trying to lose weight who relates food with emotion. I am sorry, and I mean it. Since I have never struggled with emotions, as they pertain to food, I just thought people ate because they were hungry, and not to feel better. Who knew! I had always thought “Comfort Food” was just something that was said, but I have learned that there is much clinical validity and truth to it. I don’t know if it’s empathy or sympathy that I now have for emotional eaters, because both words seem to mean the same to me. So to cover my ass, I now have empasympathy for people who eat based on emotions and not just hunger.

Another thing I learned was that people eat when they are stressed. Because my appetite disappears when I am stressed, I couldn’t relate to that eater, I mean either. And again, I am sorry. I always thought “How could people eat when stressed?” When my mother passed away, I lost like 5 pounds in 2 weeks because I didn’t want to eat. And at various stressful times of my life, I preferred not to eat. But when I am happy, and things are going great, I will eat, and mucho. (Christmas day I was happy and ate according to that emotion).

I am obviously no expert in food and psychology, as evidenced by my silly assumptions. So from now on, when I do a consultation with prospective clients battling weight issues, I will suggest that maybe they talk to “someone” about their emotional relationship to food. I can take care of the physical part.

It’s Friday, so let’s end on a positive note by returning to my English learning experiences as a child. Because for a while, as a child, I couldn’t speak English proficiently, if at all, I didn’t read out loud in class until about the second grade. I remember one of the first things I read aloud was “Jump John, Jump!” We were learning the J’s or some shit. I was scared as hell when I read out loud, but I was so happy when I got it right. I remember that immediately after I read “Jump John, Jump!” I thought “Is that ‘Brinca Juan, brinca‘?” in Spanish. And of course, it was and is.

And now, I can blog in English, while listening to music in Spanish. I can talk to my father on the phone in Spanish, while watching TV in English. Or, puedo escribir en ingles, mientras que canto en espanol. Or worse, for Spanish or English speakers only, and their comprehension, I can intertwine Spanish and English, create Spanglish, and say something like “Gracias for tomando tu tiempo to read my blog. Les pido disculpa por que I didn’t understand la relacion entre la comida and emotions. Les deseo un fin de semana divino”. Writing, reading, and Speaking Spanglish is as easy as cake, and the sign below.



Feliz New Year!!!

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