I felt mixed emotions before going to my health program’s national convention last week in Dallas. While I was excited about being a Top 10 finalist for our nationwide transformation contest, I also experienced some disappointment, some sadness, some regret.
I had big goals for this convention. For the past year, I’d targeted this gathering for being the end point for reaching my goal weight. I wanted to wear a snazzy suit — something I haven’t worn in 25 years aside from my wedding tux — while being introduced on stage as a health coach leader. (I’m rewarding myself with a suit and a wood-pellet smoker when I reach my goal.) I wanted to look and feel like a million bucks. I wanted to have the weight-loss portion of my health journey in my rear-view mirror.
As my before-and-after photos show, I’ve made a TON of progress since March 2016. I’d lost 168 pounds heading into convention — down even more now! — and feel like a different person. But this is where I was struggling. I felt like I’d let myself down. I’m not where I want to be yet and, honestly, where I could have been if I’d made healthier choices the past few months. I haven’t blogged in four months and my weight loss progress has slowed down in that period.
As you can see, I still have a ways to go — about 45 pounds — to reach my goal weight. That actually caused some inner strife as I battled back and forth in my mind.
In a berating tone, I’d tell myself, “Why didn’t you try harder!? You don’t deserve to be a finalist in a transformation contest! You’re still obese. You haven’t even gotten under 200 pounds, let alone come close to reaching your goal yet. People are going to wonder why you’re up there on stage when you still have so much to lose. Others have lost more. Others reached their goal weight. You should’ve done better!”
The more compassionate part of me whispered back, “Dude. You’ve done an amazing job. Look at what you’ve done in the past 16 months. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve changed your life and helped inspire others to change theirs. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Celebrate your successes and learn from your struggles. This is part of your journey, and you’re still fighting the good fight.”
So with raw emotions, I went to our convention looking forward to having my cup filled with love, knowledge and inspiration from an incredible group of people. Incredible is an understatement. The people involved in my health program and company are truly wonderful, from the clients to the coaches to the leaders. I needed their influence in my life after a very difficult month of work writing about the Utah Jazz’s busy offseason and some life difficulties left me emotionally drained and exhausted.
More than anything, I was feeling sorry for myself. It’s a bad habit of mine to slip into a depressing woe-is-me mode. It’s almost as if I sometimes crave feeling bad about myself and trying to get others to feel sorry for me. Yuck! I think that factored into my frustration and inner battle.
It didn’t take long for me to snap out of my funk.
It’s hard to keep yourself down when person after person after person excitedly approaches you and tells you what an inspiration you are to them and to their clients, friends and family.
People joked that they’ve been stalking me from afar to watch my progress.
Many thanked and congratulated me for my success during this health metamorphosis.
One kind woman even told me her husband watched my video — the one that I’d submitted for this contest — and it sparked him to try our program. He’s now lost 40 pounds and feels great.
My heart couldn’t have been happier.
It made me feel silly for having such a weird attitude.
I smiled when I saw the theme for our health convention: “Lifelong Transformation.” Perfect! I sometimes treat my weight-loss journey as a race to the finish line, but it’s not. That diet way of thinking led me to go from 371 to 198.5 and then back up to 373.7. It’s about making small changes and creating new habits that lead to optimal health.
Am I where I want to be yet? No.
Am I on the path to get there? Yes!
Things got really crazy for me last Friday morning after going on stage with the Top 10 finalists — all awesome and inspiring people — and it was revealed in front of 4,300 people that I finished in first place.
What an honor!
What a moment!
I have so much gratitude for all of the support I receive. I’m truly proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished. I’m thankful for the help I’ve gotten.
“I thought I was going to get a rose.”
With the bright lights shining on me, I then had one minute to share my story with thousands of people. Without a speech rehearsed, I simply started telling about how my journey began high in the air on a Canadian Regional Jet when I forced myself to dig deep into my soul and write a blog about what it was like being the fat guy on a plane.
It usually takes a few minutes to share this story and describe the discomfort I endured asking for the More of Me to Love belt, the pain my body was in as I leaned away from my seat neighbor and spilled into the aisle, and the …
YIKES! ONLY 20 SECONDS LEFT!
I was miserable on the plane just as I was miserable in life. Everything was hard when I weighed 373.7 pounds.
0:00 ON THE CLOCK!
I’d like to thank my wife, my coaches, my team, the little people (including those who used to be big). Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Amazing applause (or more amazing applause, because there was lots of it).
It was one of those moments you wish would last forever.
And to think I was worried about getting judged for not being at my goal weight.
The opposite happens, and deep down I knew it. People appreciate me because I’m not a perfect physical specimen. They love my story — and stories like mine — because I pulled myself out of darkness and jumped into the light. They were inspired because they know the struggle is real and that I’d managed to find hope, health and happiness in the past 16 months.
Did I find my six-pack and perfect weight according to the BMI chart?
No, I still have a chunky dad bod, but who cares?
Inspiration doesn’t require perfection. Inspiration doesn’t require you to be a certain number on the scale or to wear a certain size of clothing. Inspiration simply requires showing people there’s hope, a way out of misery, a path to success, a reason to keep fighting or to start.
As so many supportive and grateful people have reminded me, that’s what my story is about.
In the week since being on stage — and having a blast taking selfies with awesome people — I’ve given a hundred better speeches in my mind. So let me just wrap up this blog entry with a few simple things I’ve learned over the past 16 months while on a program that’s like a success story factory.
Change is possible.
There is hope.
There is help.
You can do it.
You can inspire.
Keep moving forward.
And be kind to yourself — Jody, I’m speaking to you, too — just in case there aren’t others around to lift you up when you need it the most.
This week’s weigh-in:
- Starting weight (March 6, 2016): 373.7 pounds
- New Year’s Day weight (Jan. 1, 2017): 262.0
- Last blog weight (March 24, 2017): 220.7
- This week’s weight (July 28, 2017): 200.8
- This week’s loss: 6.0 pounds
- Total loss: 172.9 pounds