Guys, Let's Wake Up and Stop Sleeping Through Life

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's note: This is part 1 of a four-part series. Come back each Monday in January for a new dose of motivation from Jerome, who reclaimed his life and lost 100 pounds using SparkPeople!

According to various dictionaries, the word asleep has several definitions: 

Adverb: 1. into a dormant or inactive state.  2. Into the state of death.

Adjective: 1. Sleeping  2. Numb and lastly dead. 

There are many people who are completely asleep when it comes to living.
I am not talking about physically lying in bed, eyes closed all day. I am speaking to all those folks who are crazy busy all day.  Busy with distractions that disconnect them from memorable conversations, meaningful activities, and mindful eating.  Folks who are so busy making it through each day that each week blurs into the next.  Don’t get me wrong.  We all have crazy weeks.  A million things to get done.  It is when these day and weeks stretch into months and even years, that we begin to sleep through life.  Denial sets in, and we no longer even realize we have stopped living.  Denial is an ugly word that means refusing to recognize, acknowledge or believe.

I hear from many members of SparkPeople who joined to help not only themselves but their loved ones as well.  Many I hear from are wives who are trying to help their husbands.  Some are mothers trying to help their sons, others are siblings trying to help a brother. 

Do you notice a pattern here?  That’s right, most of the time I hear from members, it’s about a man they love who needs help.  It’s about a man who needs to make some changes.  In many of these cases, that man is obese, and simply doesn’t seem to care or acknowledge there is a problem with his health.  Maybe they have a history of heart disease in their family, maybe there is a history of an early death in their family, whatever the case may be, these stories break my heart every single time! 

Many times we men are in denial that we are inactive.  Sometimes we do not like going to the doctor, therefore we are in denial about our overall health.  How many times have we been asked, "How are you?" and responded with, "I’m doing great"?  Can we all acknowledge the fact that we are lying to ourselves and others when we do this?  Deep down, we know we aren’t great.  Deep down we know there are issues with our health.  Deep down we know the reasons for our denial that we do not want to address.  Yes, men, sometimes we live in denial that we are sleeping our lives away.

I speak from personal experience when I say that men are in denial.  I know because I was in the exact same place.  I was in denial about my weight.  I hadn’t been to the doctor in a very long time because I was scared of what might be discovered.  I was in denial about the fact that I was sleeping my life away. Remember those definitions for asleep?   I was dormant, inactive and it scares me to say that ultimately if I hadn’t made some serious changes, I was on my way to an early death. 

Men, this is our call to arms.  Our wives want us to be healthy and active in their lives.  Our children deserve for us to be healthy, they want us to have the energy and ability to play with them.  They want us to get out and play with them.  Our grandchildren want to get to know grandpa.  Our charge is to live again, by having memorable conversations with our loved ones.  We need to participate in meaningful activities several times a week, and we need to be mindful about our eating habits.  Men, we deserve to be as healthy as our spouse wants us to be.  We deserve healthy relationships, with our families, with our co-workers and, yes, even with food!

This is the first blog in a series of four in which I hope to enlighten and share ideas on HOW to WAKE UP and begin to live life again.  My next three blogs will give more details and advice about my own personal experience.  I’ve come up with three success factors that helped me wake up and live again.  It is my desire to share these success factors in detail so they can help YOU as well.  If you are one of these brothers, sons or husbands, I challenge you to be courageous enough to step up to the plate and give these factors a try.  I challenge you to wake up and live again.

Is there a man in your life who's sleeping through life? Men, how have you made the decision to "wake up" and start living again?

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Reverse in my house. women are lazy sleeping in and men wake up early. Report
By being healthy I can put so much more back into life. Report
Interesting. Report
interesting article Report
Great idea for a series! I'm posting all of these to facebook because I know too many men who need to read this stuff and realize that they're asleep to the fact that they need to move it! Report
This works for the ladies too. Thanks for this - a lightbulb moment just happened and I am motivated to get on up and out there. Report
Yay, heteronormativity. Report
Great Blog! This goes both way. Report
From what I've seen - and in my own marriage, too - I'd say both sexes are occasionally in need of a little more daily activity and exercise, it seems :) Report
I kept telling my boyfriend ( now fiance) that his work place has a FREE gym and he should go! I think somewhere along the line he forgot he likes to move (he's a videogame developer) and with such a sedentary job it was starting to worry me. I count my blessings for his roommate saying "will you go to the gym with me?" and him agreeing. Now he feels SO MUCH BETTER and much more energized since he remembers what he likes! Report
Great blog sir! Especially the part about not acknowledging the need to go see a doctor when we are not well. I like this blog because it hits dead center of why which is the need to project a strong image to our families and friends. I can't wait to read the next one. Report
Nice call to arms Agent J. Another good blog. Keep em coming. Report
Nice. my hubby is in denial. he just says its a part of aging. but if I told the drs that they're like hes still young (36). he gotten chubbier (to others he still looks lean but he gains in his thighs so its just looks likes hes got mroe muscles and hes gained a bit in his stomach or whatever. he just thinks its a part of getting older. i'm trying to reverse my health problems and get healthier. but he just stays the same. I wish more men would be willing to change too. Report
Yes, my long-time boyfriend is sleeping through life. He knows what he "should" do, but he is just too comfortable in how he lives right now. It makes me sad, but you can't make someone want to live healthy. They have to want it for themselves. I'm just hoping that one day he will realize what he is doing to himself, and when that happens, I will be there to support him. Report
Great blog Jerome! You know where I stand on this. I can only lead (in this area) by example. :) Report
Yes, yes, YES! I just had this discussion with my fiance about his poor habits. I'm forwarding this article to him. :) Report
You've got my attention.....waiting for the next installment! Report
Great job Jerome. Kinda fun to see health from a man's standpoint. Report
Great blog! Report
Men are SO much sexier when they're active...Guys with beer bellies, junk food eaters and zombie sports freaks (watchers, not players) are huge turn-offs... Report
Waking myself up has helped my husband wake up. Thanks for the article. Report
Im in the AMEN corner with ya Bro! That is it totally. I live with rose colored glasses for years. pictures is what snapped the mask off. tha tis why I hated them. I could always tell myself that I was ok but the pictures never matched what I thought I looked like. then there were the chest pains... yup. wake up call... Report
This is so true. I joined SparkPeople in 2006 and have lost a total of 48 pounds. I still watch what I eat (usually) and exercise very consistently. My husband (I just got married two weeks ago) is overweight and I always worry about his health, way more than his appearance. It is very hard to get him to realize that eating better and exercising are the best things you can do on a daily basis and that I know how much better he will feel even if he loses just 10 pounds. I'm happy to say though that he has now joined me at the fitness center twice and is committed to making it a habit. Our honeymoon is in May so we are both trying to help each other be as healthy and fit as we can so we can enjoy it as much as possible. I know from experience that it is definitely a lifestyle change and one that you have to work on each and every day but it is so important and well worth it! Report
"Is there a man in your life who's sleeping through life? Men, how have you made the decision to "wake up" and start living again? "
* Recently got visited by my motivation back in December. Blogged about it.

when I first started wanting to lose weight, it was just a sheer "I hate my physical appearance". Many guys in my generation were never awake to begin with, raised on junk and highly processed food with fathers who made it through a hard day at the office and everyone watched TV in the evening.

Healthy people sort of become just, well, "them".

It took three older co-workers and relatives developing illnesses clearly associated with such a lifestyle to get me to say, "wow, I can't let that be me". I changed my breakfast from McDonalds and donuts to Eggs and whole grain cereal (prepped at home) and lost 10-15 pounds just on that. The rest has been and is history in progress.

Well written, I hope that this article reaches men like my former co-workers and relatives. Report
Thanks Jerome! Another good one. I look forward to each one you write! I'll forward this on to my husband! :-) Report
You CAN make a difference! Report
The man in my life fits your description perfectly! The problem is, he is aware of much of this, but just doesn't care. It doesn't help for me to care more than he does.
It bothers me, but I simply try to keep myself on a healthy path, and not be side-tracked. I must say, he has been making some improvements. Even if it is for me, it is a beginning.
Oh wow....THIS is good....can't wait for the next! :D Good for you Jerome. I'm trying my best to rub off on my want to grow old WITH him!! Report
I always remember what the late Jack LaLanne said "Use it or lose it." Report
I find it interesting that a man write a blog yet it is the WOMEN replying to it,lol. Well, I did not read this blog yet, thakfully all the men I know are wide awake! But thank you for writing this. I am sure that the women will share this with those who need it. Report
Yeah, it was my ex. He's still asleep, and getting more unhealthy every day. I continue to pray for him that he wakes up and smells the roses.

Great blog! Looking forward to reading how you woke up! Report
Can't wait for the next installment. How do you lovingly give someone a "boot to the head" about this? Report
It's so true. And, when you hound a guy to "wake up" he's bound to hit the "snooze." My husband says he's too busy. My response, "too busy to continue to live?" Great blog and a very clear message for all. Report
My husband is definitely in some serious denial in this place. I wish I could help both him and my mom. Get them to wake up and move forward but I've learned that I need to help myself first. =) Report