Originally posted on Linkedin on Apr 15, 2015
It still amazes me that I have gone from a guy merely wanting to lose weight to a person who is an inspiration to others. Granted I have lost over 180 pounds so far, all without surgery, dieting, or any crazy exercise routines. Considering that, I can see how it is inspiring to people. Sometimes I forget just how big this is. My family, friends, and coworkers help to remind me of that.
I’m honored if I can inspire somebody else. ~ Demi Moore
I had a lot of dreams growing up. In high school I wanted to become a doctor. By the time I had gotten through my first year of college I had given up on that dream. I didn’t think I was cut out for the work and the stress. I didn’t manage stress well, often turning to food for comfort. This laid the foundation for years of putting on weight, dieting and losing, then gaining even more back. By the time I reached my 40s I weighed around 400 pounds. All that weight was making me more miserable, holding me back in life, and creating a host of other obesity-related health conditions.
So in 2014 I decided to make some changes in my life that would be permanent and sustainable. I didn’t want to keep losing weight only to gain it all back. I knew that diets didn’t work, nor did all of the high-intensity aerobic workouts. After years of experience with weight loss attempts and a lot of research, I embarked on a health makeover. I started keeping track of everything I ate using a food tracking app and engaged in very moderate exercise.In a span of ten months I lost weight rapidly, but not too fast. I needed not only my body to get use to the changes, but my mind as well. About half way through people started to take notice. Everyone I encountered asked, “How are you doing all of this?”I think one of the biggest factors that has been key to my success has been mylaser-like focus and determination. I wanted to be a normal weight person. You can imagine that at over 400 pounds I led a far from normal life. At most restaurants I had to request a table because I could not fit in a booth. I had a very difficult time finding clothes and the choices were limited. And I was starting to develop serious health issues due to my obese body condition.
I hope I inspire people to dream bigger than what they are living, but a dream within their reach. ~ Michael Franti
There were a lot of things in my life that I wish I had done. Putting my health first was by far the best gift I have ever given to myself. And I knew that it was achievable. Hard work, but like I said, I wanted it badly. I won’t likely become a professional athlete, a Spanish guitar virtuoso, or grow any taller. But losing weight is a reasonable goal within my reach.Literally every day people reach out to me, compliment my achievement and tell me how I inspire them. I never dreamed that I would be an inspiration to people. Up until now I hadn’t really done anything that amazing. When I step back and look at my weight loss accomplishment, considering how I have done it,I am amazed.
I appreciate the recognition from my family, friends and coworkers. And when it started to become a daily thing, at first I was a little uneasy with all of the attention. Being big I had developed a dislike of being the center of attention. What I realize about the attention I am getting now is that it is inspiring me to challenge myself even more.I am finding that the more people praise my efforts and tell me how I inspire them to take care of their own health; I am even more motivated to continue.
People’s inspiration gives me fuel
It’s nice when they say I inspire them, it inspires me. ~ Lita Ford
This is what has made me turn to sharing with others. People want to know about my experiences and I feel honored to share. As I said, I had no idea all of this would turn out to be such a big deal. I just wanted to be healthy and feel like a “normal” person. My mind still hasn’t completely caught up with my new body, but day by day I am starting to get used to it. And, with the continued praise and compliments from others, I am going to continue to amaze, not just with my health, but in other areas of my life.Like I told my mom after she commented on how amazing all of this was: