By Russell Rawlings

Who would have imagined that a blog series on weight and wellness could generate so much interest among legal professionals?

This thing is literally feeding itself.

One member writes in to compliment me on losing over 100 pounds and keeping it off for nearly 40 years. He adds that he is on a similar quest and is over halfway toward his goal.

My money’s on him. He has already overcome tougher obstacles in his life, and has always demonstrated the highest level of dignity and integrity in his dealings with fellow lawyers and those of us who are non-lawyers working for the North Carolina Bar Association.

Being a person of such sterling character, when he digs deep to find the resolve and determination he will need sustain and maintain a significant weight loss, it will be there.

Another considerably younger member extended a handshake and a kind word at a recent meeting here at the Bar Center. He said that he appreciated the insight and was hoping to latch on to a healthier lifestyle of his own in the near future.

My money’s on him, too. Over his relatively brief career, this young man has proven himself to be a reliable volunteer and a capable leader. Fellow attorneys and citizens throughout his community look up to him and respect him well beyond his years.

He possesses something special – that “it” factor – and in due time it will serve him well as he makes the necessary adjustments in diet and exercise to achieve his desired weight.

It may or may not matter that I believe in them. I like to think that regardless of the situation, it always helps to believe in people and to let them know it. I can personally attest that when I undertook my greatest weight loss, and in any instance thereafter when I sought to reclaim lost ground, the support and encouragement of family, friends and colleagues was always very helpful.

But what really matters most is that they believe in themselves. No matter how many people are pulling for them, or you, losing weight is a personal struggle of the highest order. There are no side entrances or easy outs – you have to face it head on, and embrace it as a fight worth fighting – and winning.

I recall a pivotal moment from the summer of 1978 when I learned the importance of believing in myself. I can remember this as if it happened yesterday.

Four fraternity brothers were riding across town in an old Chevy Blazer, ragtop removed, and a beer was offered. It was a very hot day and the beer was very cold.

It was the best beer that I never drank. I can still taste it. Albeit only one beer, a couple hundred calories tops, it was not part of my plan. Whether it would derail or delay my quest to lose weight was irrelevant.

The fact of the matter was it was not going to help me, so I turned it down. In a lifetime preceded by countless moments in which I had given in to temptation, I said no.

No!

Russell Rawlings serves as director of external relations and communications for the North Carolina Bar Association and welcomes every opportunity to write and talk about wellness, weight and walking.