“Allow People to be Wrong About You.”

Hello friends!  If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, you may be a little confused why my weight loss blog has taken a dramatic turn in a different direction.  I have had some major insights into myself lately.  When I was focused on my ability to control my decisions and use those decisions to change my life, I was finding extreme success with my weight loss goals.  Unfortunately, as I began to focus on the number of pounds lost and winning the weight loss competition, I began to stumble on my journey and some of my negative thinking cycles began sneaking back into my life.

That’s when I asked myself whether I created this site to brag about my success or tell you how I’m doing it.  With this new strength, gained through insight, I decided that my blog needs to ditch the weekly weigh in and take its focus in a different direction.  I could give you recipes and weekly menus, but those things are literally splashed on every corner of the internet. What isn’t as focused on?  HEALING THE MINDSET THAT ALLOWS FOR THE WEIGHT LOSS PROBLEM TO EXIST!  How many times have I said that the hardest part of my journey has been the mental one?  So, why am I not focusing on what’s changing THE MOST?!

Changing My Mindset

My last post focused on the damage of being a people pleaser, but I want this post to take it a step further.  We say we are a people pleaser because it sounds like we are a selfless, giving person, but it really means that we are liars that are constantly failing to please everyone and our relationships and mental health are suffering for it.  Today, I want to introduce you to a new, revolutionary figure in my life:  Brooke Castillo.

Remember when I mentioned my life coach buddy a few weeks ago?  He introduced me to Brooke.  He asked me to listen to her podcast episode on self-confidence.  I was immediately hooked.  Brooke spoke on a concept that I have known, but never fully understood quite so clearly.  Seriously, I have been needing to hear this all my life:  “Allow people to be wrong about you.”

Brooke shared that we often times allow the perceptions of others to define us and we are constantly doing everything we can to make people see us in the best possible light.  In my case, this became the unhealthy habit of people pleasing.  By always trying to please others, I was neglecting and abusing myself.  I would put other people’s thoughts, opinions, feelings, and desires above my own.  In doing so, I was constantly reinforcing the highly damaging thought that others are better than me and my identity ONLY comes from their thoughts and opinions about me.

I have done soooo many things all in an effort to ensure people like me.  At best, I would allow others to make my choices for me.  At the worst, I let a former “best friend” constantly berate me while always making him one of my top priorities.  In working so hard to make others like me, I created an environment that reinforced my negative thinking patterns and made me into a person that I really didn’t like myself very much.

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So, what does this have to do with allowing people to be wrong about you?  Well, in ending my people pleasing ways, I have had to accept the truth that I can’t make anyone like me, but I’ve also accepted the truth that who I am is not defined by what others think of me.  As I discussed in my last post, I’m learning to live honestly.  Now, when I am tempted to give an excuse or tell a lie in an effort to control how another person views me, I give my honest answer without excuse, explanation, or lie.  If their resulting opinion of me changes to the negative, I have to allow them to be wrong about me.

Last week, I gave a hypothetical situation:  You get asked by your best friend if you want to help her daughter’s girl scout troop sell cookies outside of Wal-Mart on the first pretty Saturday your area has had in weeks. You had planned to spend the day with your hammock and a good book because your kids are spending the day at a birthday party and you finally have some much-needed time alone.

You want time to recharge your batteries, but you don’t want your friend to be mad at you.  You may tempted to help despite not really wanting to.  You could choose to lie and give an excuse that will relieve you from the situation, but also any potential judgement by your friend.  However, the best option is to simply give an honest answer without worrying so much about how your friend perceives you.  If you tell your friend that you are unavailable to help as you are spending the day focusing on recharging your batteries and she thinks you are selfish, her thoughts about you don’t change who you actually are at all.

When you are always honest, people learn that you value them enough to always tell them the truth.  I’m not saying everyone will like it, but you will always have people that don’t like what you are doing.  I had people that didn’t like when I started losing weight and some even tried to talk me out of it, others that constantly told me that I was going to fail, and others tried to sabotage my weight loss.  I had to allow them to be wrong about me.  Some got on board with me and others didn’t.

Allowing others to be wrong about you is a very difficult thing.  It’s hard to be confident in who you are when you’ve allowed those around you to define you all your life.  However, by fully embracing that you are who you choose to be, you are empowered to break the bondage of always needing the affirmation of others to know who you are and you recognize your power to be the person you choose regardless of what others think.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back.  Find me on social media:

The True Work of Weight Loss

Hello friends!  How is your Sunday morning going so far?  As I began thinking about my blog this morning, I thought about what you all are doing right now in your life.  So many different scenarios flashed through my mind as I pictured some of you still sleeping while others are hurriedly trying to get your families ready for church.  Maybe you are making breakfast for you and your loved ones or maybe you’ve already embarked out into the world to get a jump start on your To-Do List – that always seems way too full.  Regardless of what you are doing, I find it fascinating that we all choose to approach our lives so very differently, but we all seem to make it through each day and life goes on!

I received a message this week that led to a phone conversation with a long-time friend that I don’t speak with regularly.  While I used the word “friend,” I think it’s important to clarify that we encounter people throughout our lives that are not all destined to become a person that we speak with everyday, but their support, friendship, and love, are felt regularly throughout our lives. Yet, when you do get the chance to visit again, it feels as if you pick up and visit as easily as if you had spoken to each other every single day.

Conversations with this friend have always been growth experiences.  You see, my friend is a professional life coach and has worked with so many wonderful people that are in very different stages of their lives.  What led him to contact me was his continuing observation of my journey.  He shared with me how exciting it has been to watch as my journey develops, but he had noticed a very subtle, yet substantial, shift in my thinking which he wanted to process with me.  What resulted was an amazing 75 minute phone conversation where he listened, supported, challenged, and clarified the thoughts that have been fueling this incredible journey.

Using only my words, he masterfully navigated through the mental renovations of this journey and helped bring clarity to what has been occurring in my thought life.  While acknowledging it seemed I would eventually navigate my way through this process on my own, he shared his desire was to help me do so more quickly.

Our conversation started with a discussion about where I am in life and the recent things that I have been thinking, doing, and achieving.  Next, he led our conversation back to the core of what had started this journey and, together, we processed what empowered these changes in the first place. Then, we moved towards the subtle change in my thoughts as my journey continued.  Finally, he skillfully broke down the things I was saying throughout this conversation and assisted me in clarifying the conversation into usable information for growth and continued success.

Regardless of how much I want to flesh this out (because I LOVE talking), I must keep this brief if for no other reason than length and time.  This journey started as a mental one, but my perception of blogging and my own success had slowly transformed the basis of this journey into a focus on external success – pounds lost.  After our conversation, I went back to old blog entries to see if I could find proof of these changes.  In January, I posted an entry that talks about the mental journey of weight loss.  In that entry, I wrote, “You see, losing weight has been so much more of a mental journey than a physical journey.”  I later also admit, “It fits like a glove that is too small and it doesn’t happen for me naturally. I have to FORCE myself to live within my new life choices.”  However, the signs of my shift in focus are also present.  I mention several goals throughout the entry.  Goals for walking, blogging, and “health goals.”  Yet, if you are paying attention, you can easily see I mean “weight goals” or “pounds lost.”

While doing the difficult work of self-evaluation with my friend, I gained a much more clarified insight into what was happening with my thought patterns and the effects that these changes had brought to my journey.  Again, using only my words, my friend was able to help me clarify that the most empowering thought I ever had in this journey was that I had the power to control my thoughts and live the life I wanted to live.  That I was not a victim to genetics, finances, my current life status, or any unseen external force.  If I didn’t want to be morbidly obese, I had the power to change it!

There’s SOO much that has been happening in my thoughts this week and SOO much I want to share with you, but this sharing will have to come another day.  For now, though, I want to clarify my vision for this blog.  When I came up with the address, I wanted a title that expressed that this journey was more than losing 250 pounds.  Thus, 250pounds2forever.com was born.  However, while the title was very appropriate then, the title has come to mean so much more than I even planned for it.

I’m going to utilize my blog to share about my journey, but I want to do so in a way that I am sharing what is changing my life rather than just announcing that my life has changed.  What changed my life was the realization that I had the power to control my thoughts and to choose the life I want to live.  Everything else has been a side-effect of the decision to control my thoughts and use my new thoughts to change my behaviors.

This is where I am tempted to announce a list of what is going to change as a result of my ongoing enlightenment this week, but I’m not going to do that.  I am an ever-evolving person and this blog is an outgrowth of who I am.  So, I’m simply going to allow this blog to grow and evolve with me.  That being said, I do have one big change that I’m implementing today:  no more weekly weigh in.

As difficult as it will be for me, I’m going to resist the temptation to qualify my success through the loss of pounds.  Am I success if I lose 3.5 pounds this week?  Am I failure if I don’t lose any pounds this week?  Perhaps true success is defined by something more than a numerical representation of my body’s interaction with gravity on any given day.  While I may share certain external successes, this blog is going to focus on where the hardest work is done:  my thought life.

I have the power to change my thoughts and live the life I want to live.  -Me

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back.  Find me on social media:

New Around Here?

What a beautiful day!  With the sun out and the temperature coming in at just below 70 degrees, today is a day of beauty!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, I can drive with the windows down, and I am gearing up for my last client of the day!  I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Tuesday, as well.  I thought I would take a minute to address those of you that may be new around here.

Back in September, I was chatting with a great friend, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth shared the story of her weight transformation that occurred just prior to our meeting.  As she talked me1with me, I was filled with hope.  This hope was born out of the realization that I had a very tangible control over my weight situation.  Until  then, I felt my weight was a curse upon my life and I was a victim.  To reinforce this negative line of thinking, I had created a list of subconscious lies that empowered that thinking and I had resigned myself to always being a victim of genetics and life circumstances rather than in control of my situation.  Her story also taught me that the true work of weight loss is more control of what you are taking in rather than what you are exercising out – a concept that completely reversed my misconception of what it meant to lose weight.

On September 11, 2016, I embarked on a journey.  Weighing in at 450 pounds, wearing size 60 jeans, and wearing 5xl shirts, I decided that I needed to take control of my life and save myself from the brink of becoming dependent upon others for caring for my daily needs.  Barely able to tie my shoes and unable to get out of bed without back or sciatica pain, I took control of the calories I was eating and the weight began to fall off.

Today, I am weighing 336.8 pounds, wearing size 48 jeans, and 2xl shirts.  Thanks to a handy count up app on my smart phone, I can tell you that today is day 205 of my newwp-1491073063214.jpg journey and, while I’m still obese, I am back to a much more normal size and quickly closing  in on the half way point of my journey.

I started this site to help encourage people that are struggling to find their pace and take control of their own lives.  While it has taken some time, my wife and I have both known people that have watched our transformations and began to embark on their own journeys.

So, whether you need to lose 20 pounds or 250, this is the place for you.  I’m not a person that is preaching about health and has never been overweight.  If you take the time to read through my raw and very personal posts, you’ll find that I’ve been sharing an honest window into my life in order to let others know the struggles (mental and physical) that I have been enduring in order to make this happen.

The important thing is that you stop using thinking errors, you realize the control you have over your own weight situation, and you stop delaying the institution of necessary changes for weight loss.  The journey of our lives is not one that we can ever take reset or do over.  I had made promises that I would lose weight before I hit 20, 25, 30, etc.  None of those ever worked.  I made a decision and acted on it.  Then, I followed through.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

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Transitions

Greetings everyone!  The weather can’t seem to make up its mind here in the beautiful Ozarks!  We have had warm days, storms, snow, tornados, and extremely cold days!  Mother Nature is in turmoil and she is taking out her moodiness on the Ozarks.  Each new day seems to be directly connected to her every whim as her bipolar mood swings rock on a pendulum with no predictable or sustainable pattern.

Friday was the final day of Phase One of the Slique in 60 challenge.  There has been no leader board, so I have no idea where I fell in the rankings yet.  It is my hope that they will announce the winners soon!  However, for now, I will share my results:wp-1489638341173.png

Weight:  378.8 – 348.6
Waist:  67.5 – 62
Chest:  55 – 52
Hips:  58 – 56
Right quad:  36 – 34
Left quad:  35 – 33
Right calf:  22 – 22
Left calf:  21.5 – 21
Right bicep:  21 – 19
Left bicep:  20 – 18.5

There will be 12 winners in Phase 1.  These 12 winners will be the top 2 people from each division with the largest total body transformations based on both pounds and inches lost.  There are 6 different divisions based on gender and age (Women 18-35, Women wp-1489638321645.jpg36-50, Women 50+, Men 18-35, Men 36-50, and Men 50+).  I fall into the first age bracket for men:  18-35.  Winners of Phase 1 will receive a $200 Young Living product credit, a Select 30 Oil Collection, and an Apple Watch 2.  All in total, these prizes carry an approximate retail value of about $1000!  For me, the $500 set of oils and the $200 product credit are the most exciting!

Monday started Phase 2 of the weight loss competition and it will all end on May 11, 2017.  This phase of the competition is the big one for me as they are only giving awards to the very top total body transformation for each of the six divisions.  The top overall winners from their division will be awarded:  an Apple Watch 2, a Premier Aroma Collection, and $3,000!   The grand prizes come to an approximate retail value of $6030.84.wp-1489638325868.jpg

As you can see, the stakes are higher and I have a lot of incentive to kill this fat as fast as possible over the next two months!  During the first phase of the competition, I walked 3-5 miles every day as I worked to shed these excess pounds.  For this phase, I have joined a local gym and have added the elliptical and lifting weights to my arsenal of tools to help me win that $3000 and the $2000 set of oils!

Before I end today, I wanted to switch gears and share that this last few weeks have been completely chaotic.  However, over the past few days, wp-1489638486793.pngmy wife and I got thrown a curve ball we couldn’t have seen coming.  On Sunday night, our dog began to cry as we attempted to go to bed.  My wife stayed awake with him all night Sunday night, but things only continued to get worse over Monday and Tuesday. It became painfully obvious that our beloved dog, Magnum, was preparing to make his exit from this world.

It was with overwhelming sadness that I shared on Facebook this morning that Magnum died during the night.  My wife shared that Magnum clung to her side as he came closer and closer to taking his final breath.  Having no kids, Magnum has been our shared responsibility over the past five years and his passing has been surprisingly difficult as we experience a complex mixing of conflicting emotions with his passing.  We appreciate all of our friends, family, and readers that took the time to grieve with us in our loss.  He was the meanest, cute dog you will ever meet, but he loved his family and friends.  Who knew a dog could impact your daily life so much?

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

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Destroying the Root of my Weight Problem

It’s been a difficult, but illuminating, week for me.  I began to lose the faith.  As I wp-1487178569811.pngcelebrated my 100th pound gone, I was overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of depression.  If you have been following me, I experienced a similar depression after the loss of my 75th pound.  Back then, I concluded that I was experiencing discouragement due to the fact that the man in the mirror looked the same.  Unless I utilized before and after pictures, I was unable to see the results of losing 75 pounds.  While I believe that was somewhat accurate for my point in the journey, I believe that I missed a much larger issue and I was faced to confront it this week.

Way too many non-tracked meals were consumed this week and I found myself fully smoking again as I trudged deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression.  While I should be experiencing joy and celebration, I was feeling isolated and alone.  Failure overshadowed the very tangible experience of success that I was having.  Unfortunately, for the first part of the week, I didn’t even question it.  I just went along with the FEELINGS that were clouding my mind.

It wasn’t until I had a few walks alone that I began to do some serious reflection and begin to ask the MOST IMPORTANT question:  WHY?  Why am I feeling this way in the face of such incredible success?   I wish I could say that this time of much-needed reflection was triggered by knowledge and education of psychology, but I can’t.  My saving grace came to me through a song:  You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music.  I had heard the song before, but never really HEARD the song until the lyrics penetrated my spirit and the fact that I was identifying with the song made me listen to it on repeat for the rest of my walk.

It was on the second day of walking to this song that I began to ask what parts of the song struck me so strongly and why the song was speaking to me so powerfully.  The first part that stuck out was the chorus:

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us
You are not against us

The other part of the song that was speaking strongly to me came later in the song:

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

So, why?  Why were these lyrics striking a chord with me so strongly?  I FEEL UNLOVEABLE!  I FEEL UNWORTHY!   Wait… I thought I conquered these demons when I began this journey!  I thought that my overcoming these demons was the very thing that had empowered my success?!  So why in the world am I relating to these lyrics now after I have made SO MUCH PROGRESS?!

It was then that I began to realize that I, despite my training, silently thought that I would begin to experience a renewed mindset… a new self-esteem… a new view of myself… if I were to lose the weight and become the type of person that I have always wanted to be.  I would become NORMAL!  These subconscious thoughts were based on an idea that my weight causes my mental issues and that getting rid of the weight would cause some sort of revolution in my mind and I would be a happier person with a totally different mindset.

With each passing goal, with each passing day, I am physically becoming the man that I want to be.  I see me growing and changing and have NO REASON to not believe that this change will only continue.  However, my mental me… the REAL me… is the same.  Unchanged.

I’ve known for several days I would HAVE to post about this because I KNOW there will be others that must hear this:  LOSING WEIGHT WON’T MAKE US HAPPIER.  LOSING WEIGHT WILL NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS.  If I continued to allow this subconscious expectation to persist, the discouragement would lead to the unraveling of everything else as I would be forced to resign myself to the fact that I am somehow CURSED and nothing I do will change that.

But NOTHING could be further from the truth!

 I have said on here over and over again that the MENTAL journey of weight loss has been wp-1488825772117.pngthe most difficult part of this change.  I feel myself growing and I feel myself changing… I’ve even posted about it.  If I my mind were an overgrown plot of land, I have been hacking away at overgrowth and vines for months.  There’s no way that my mindset has remained unchanged.  However, this week, I found a ROOT by finding that subconscious expectation.  Now, I have to deal with that root.  When the root is gone, the plant is gone.  If the root were to remain, the full plant could come back in time.

In my work, I often work with juveniles that have sexually offended.  I ALWAYS have to teach them that treatment is NOT a process that makes the temptation or thoughts go away.  Treatment is learning how to control thoughts and behaviors and LIVE the life they need to live ON PURPOSE.  By living a life of control, they can become people of integrity and character rather than allowing themselves to become a sexual predator.  It is their choices and behaviors that define them… not the poison that was introduced to their lives through past experiences that introduced the sexual crap to their lives that now strongly impacts their thoughts and behaviors.

Now, I am having to learn that, too.  By learning to control my thoughts and my behaviors, I am choosing to live a life that is DIFFERENT from the person that I have always thought myself to be!  This process is NOT A CURE!  I cannot be CURED from being me!

Even as I write this, I feel as if I am revisiting a topic that I have already discussed so many times.  However, I hope this serves to show others that THIS IS A PROCESS!  We become who we are over time.  Throughout the years, we forge our identities and the ways that we view ourselves.  It takes TIME and HARD WORK for those identities to change, but the physical state of our bodies are but a symptom of the mental issues that exist; not a cause.  As we move through this process, we MUST address the mental issues that have existed and allowed for the symptom of our weight to get so far out of control.  It is IMPERATIVE that we not confuse the process.

Does this fix it?  Am I back on solid ground?  Not entirely.  There have been, and may always be, times that I am unable to see the truth through the cloudiness and fog of my imperfect brain.  However, I have reached out to my spouse and a few select friends.  These people are my Truth Keepers.  During times where I can’t see the truth through my fog, wp-1488825906318.pngthey are the ones that light the way back to truth and keep it safe during those times that I forget it.  It will take time and persistence before the lies that plagued my reality have less control in my mind.  Until now, my mind has been their kingdom… their breeding ground.  It has been in my mind that these lies have bred themselves and taken such a stronghold that they crippled my life and pushed me to the edge of disability.  Today, I am purposefully embracing the journey of taking control back from these lies.  This won’t be an easy process, but We CAN do this!  We CAN win!  We CAN live our lives on purpose!

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 348.6 pounds
  • Total loss  101.4 pounds (37.9% of my total excess body weight)

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It’s Time To Celebrate!

I’m tired!  Today, after a long night of severe thunderstorms and a terribly frightened, whining puppy, I am tired and had no motivation to get out of bed!  It seems my loving wife was feeling quite the same way as she rationalized that we still had enough days in the week to meet our goals if we stayed in bed this morning.  With no real encourager or motivator, we stumbled outside solely due to the lack of either one of us wanting to be the one to make the decision to skip our morning walk.  Once on the road, we walked silently and beat out our four miles.

wp-1488381561412.pngWe have some very good news to share this week!  We have been excited by the fact that my wife’s plateau has finally given a little bit and she officially lost her 50th pound. This accomplishment has been just out of reach for almost two months, so to see the scale FINALLY reflect a number that shows her progress has been exhilarating.  We have both experienced frustration as she has struggled so long without losing anything on the scale.  However,  she struggled with temptations to give up on the changes we have made as it felt like her efforts have been in vain and she has been depriving herself of her favorite foods for no reason.

Speaking of good news, I stepped on the scale to discover an unexpected surprise:  I have finally wp-1488378918003.jpgpassed my fourth 25-pound goal!  Today is day 171 of our journey towards improved health and, in less than six months, I have seen 100 pounds melt away!!  I thought that I would cry when I reached this point, but that is not what I am feeling.  I want to skip my adult responsibilities and CELEBRATE!!! I want to go play pool, head to a casino, watch a movie, or just see the people I love.

I feel like 150 pounds is a HUGE accomplishment for us and I know we need to take the time to reward ourselves for all the hard work, but we have no idea how!  I also want to take the time to do something fun to thank everyone that has played a part in making this dream a reality!  Your support is HUGE in keeping us on track and encouraged.  So, I am asking my readers for ideas!

  1. What can we do to celebrate our success?
  2. What can we do to say thanks?

I can’t wait to read your responses!!!

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 348.6 pounds
  • Total loss  101.4 pounds (37.9% of my total excess body weight)

Find me on social media:

I’m Only Human

Boy, I tell ya, I had a really weird experience last weekend and it left me a little dizzy.  I mentioned it on Sunday night, but we had a Young Living event last weekend:  White Out!  This was a major event for our team and over 500 people came together to learn about toxins hiding in our homes, the devastating effects of using them, and the importance of getting rid of them.  It was quite an event and I met a lot of new people!

After the event, our team had dinner at a local restaurant.  My wife and I arrived relatively early and decided to sit outside because of the phenomenal weather.  As people started to arrive, we invited them to join us as we waited for our event hosts to arrive.  Due to the length of time I have been involved with Young Living and the size of the event, I only knew a few people, but we all wore white so it was easy to spot people that were showing up for dinner.

The first person that arrived was a young lady named Megan.  She introduced herself and her son and then I introduced my wife and myself.  Megan quickly responded she knew me from a weight loss group that I am in and my blog.  It was fantastic to meet someone I didn’t know that has been following the blog.  We sit together for quite a bit trying to keep her little man out of trouble and entertained.  As more people arrived, it was so enjoyable to get to know more and more people that share my new passion for alternative routes to wellness.

Later, at dinner, a few other ladies came up and introduced themselves and shared that they, too, read this blog.  We even spent a few minutes discussing how it is weird to meet someone online and then feel like strangers when you meet in person.  As we talked, one of them joked that our chatting was like meeting a local celebrity… most everyone present at dinner has been exposed to my blog or knows about my weight loss journey and I knew only a couple of them.

That’s when I realized a very unnerving truth:  I was meeting people that I knew NOTHING about that knew quite a bit about me.  The power dynamic in that situation is definitely wp-1488069298284.pngunbalanced and, to be honest, a little unnerving.  As a person that has ALWAYS struggled with social situations, I found myself extremely uncomfortable to know that REAL people have access to all of my weakness, my vulnerabilities, and struggles, and I may meet them at any point in my day.

Blogging my vulnerabilities online has always felt somewhat anonymous despite the fact that a lot of friends and family follow my blog.  My family and friends already love me and know several of my weaknesses.  However, in my head, the rest of my readers have always been faceless people in the vast universe of the world that I will never meet.  That false sense of anonymity had created an environment that protected me from the realization that I’m actually speaking to real people that may know me or may know me in the near future.  An environment where sharing my vulnerabilities was without consequence.  Suddenly, I found this environment shattered and I was left with several days of disillusionment.  In turn, I avoided everything that had to do with this blog.

As the struggle raged on, questions raced through my mind and my gut reaction was to shut it all down and hide.  What if someone I work with in the future has found my blog and read about the worst parts of my struggle?  Will I be prepared for discussing my vulnerabilities in an area where I am supposed to be the professional?  Will I be mentally able to maintain focus if an uncomfortable truth is presented from my blog and I am forced to handle the interaction on the fly?

A month ago, I had 80 some followers and 99% of them were my friends and family members.  However, thanks to you guys sharing my site with others over the past few weeks, the number of followers has skyrocketed to over 450 people and, now, the majority of people that are following my Facebook page are not people that I am actually friends with on Facebook.  Since I am not friends with them, I know they exist, but I don’t get any more information than that.  Those 350+ people could be from thousands of miles away or my next door neighbor and I would never know.

My avoidance continued through to this morning when one of my inspirations called me. She confronted me with love and wouldn’t accept my evasive interactions as she stubbornly persisted until I found myself facing the topics I had been avoiding all week.  As we talked, I peeled back more and more layers of unaddressed worries and fears and finally reached a point of understanding that my fear and avoidance was based in the remanents of my failure identity hiding in plain sight.

My discomfort was that people would know and reject me because they have a window into the information I hide from people in everyday life.  This information compromises the mask that I show the world.  The mask that I have created and put forth to others as the LOVEABLE and ACCEPTABLE version of myself.  By building a following and practicing regularly transparency on my blog, I have been giving people access behind the mask.  When that was tangibly experienced in everyday life, it was like a bomb went off and I had no idea why.

As our talk came to a conclusion, I was filled with hope and confidence as I was reminded that I am only human and people cherish people that are honest.  Despite my profession and the very efforts that I have made throughout my entire adult life, I am a completely fallable man, it’s okay for me to accept that, and there is NOBODY on the face of this planet that I need to kill myself to please or earn their friendship . If someone chooses to reject me, whether online or in person, I am who I am and I have nothing to be ashamed of and I have no shame in continuing to be real on this blog.

My conclusion to this conundrum is that I hope it continues.  I want to reach people and I want people to find inspiration to live healthier lives and engage in their own weight loss journies.  I can’t grow if I’m not authentic.  I can’t grow if my friends and family didn’t share my story with their friends and family.  I can’t grow if those friends and family don’t share my story with their friends and family.  As a result, it is a very real possibility thatwp-1488069302170.png local people will find this site and they may know quite a bit about me before I ever open my mouth.  If that is the cost, though, of reaching and inspiring more people, then I consider it a very small price to pay.

So, share my story!  Share my story with everyone you can!  If you know me or if you have friends that know me, share my story!  If you don’t know me, share my story!  If everyone took a few minutes and invited friends to follow my Facebook page, I would continue to grow and reach more people.  It may result in more surreal introductions, but I welcome it!  I want my story to reach everyone that struggles with weight issues whether they need to lose 5 pounds or 250!  The more that I hear about people that have found inspiration and have started losing weight, the more I am encouraged and desire for my blog to grow.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 352 pounds
  • Total loss  98 pounds (36.7% of my total excess body weight)

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