How Skydiving Changed My Life - Bob Davies

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by Bob Davies | D-13735 | Lake Forest, California

As years of skydiving passed, I noticed that my jumpsuits were starting to get tighter. My fall rate became a challenge, and I couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to honor my part of the skydive. But since I was only making six jumps a month, I continued on as if everything were normal.

I always said health was my number-one value. Since I realized the power of measurement and accountability, for years I tracked my intake and expenditures from workouts—but I still gained weight. I became stocky at six-feet tall and 235 pounds. I didn’t feel good, and it was tough to button my shirts and put on my suits. But I continued on under the illusion that I was healthy and in a program committed to weight control.

What was missing was the decision to lose weight—I thought I was committed yet tolerated the lack of results. I continued to live the lie by rationalizing that, at age 56, I was just getting older and my metabolism was changing.

Then I went on several business trips and didn’t go to the drop zone for awhile. When I finally made it out to Perris Valley Skydiving, that weekend changed my life. When I showed up, everyone looked at me and thought, “Oh, he’s pretty good; he’s got thousands of jumps.” What they didn’t know was that I was a fat little boy in a man’s body trapped in the fear of making a change.

My first jump at Perris was from a Skyvan. I was in the base and it funneled. I went low and that was it. I remember thinking that if I told my wife I went low in the base, she would make fun of me! The next jump was from a Twin Otter, and I was one of the divers on a 12-way. As I approached the formation, I got big but still whizzed right on by. I managed to grab a leg near my slot, but that pulled the entire formation down with me, and as it broke apart, bodies went everywhere.

On my next jump that day, I was in the base, and we managed to launch a good exit. But when we broke for the next point, I sank right on out. I had had enough, so for the next couple of months, I jumped in my camera suit! It was ridiculous. I could manage to dive to the base, but that’s all I could do—if I tried to do anything close to the formation, I’d pop up.

Finally I said, “I’m either going to spend my lifetime flying base and accept that I’ll go low on the next point, or I’m going to lose weight.” That was it. I got mad. I made a decision. I stopped overeating and rationalizing. It was time to change my habits, and it took skydiving to force me to face the reality that I was overweight and headed in the wrong direction. I could hide in every other area of my life, but the laws of physics prevailed every time I went skydiving.

I now had a reason to lose. I dramatically cut my intake of food and formed new eating habits. I also decided to burn more calories from exercise. I’ve lost 35 pounds and have kept it off. I can now fly any slot, and it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll get there. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to button my shirts and have my suits feel comfortable. I now have more energy and more credibility (I’m a professional motivational speaker).

So my question to you is, “What lies are you buying into, and where are you being a fraud?” If it weren’t for jumping, I would continue to be living my life buying into the lie that I was committed to healthy living.

Bob Davies is an author, speaker, trainer and coach whose website is bobdavies.com.

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