“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:

Living Up To My Perceived Potential

It’s been awhile… again.  I guess, by now, you have figured out that I drifted away from blogging.  To myself, I denied it.  I would tell myself how busy I was or give myself excuses, but there were moments of clarity.  Moments when the denial was cracked by a brief glimpse of truth.  These were moments when my honest thoughts would provide a ray of honesty into my existence and my denial would be challenged.  Simple moments when I realized I had time to blog or should create a blog and I simply had no desire to do so.

This exactly matched my pattern of drifting away from the healthy eating patterns that I had been pursuing so strongly.  In May, I became much more lax and ceased working out.  So far, in June, I have given up any pretense of healthy eating patterns.  Unfortunately, I have given everyone the opportunity to say I’m just like every other failure at weight loss.  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  Those people that announce they are going on a diet, start having a little success, talking about it constantly, and then give up without ever really talking about it.

Why did I stop?  Well, there are a lot of excuses, but no good reasons.  It’s honestly difficult to try and come with something that is creative and new each week.  Also, it’s a lot of work after a busy week of counseling, life responsibilities, and teaching about essential oils, to come home and find the energy to type out a blog.  Not only is there finding something to blog about, there’s making the perfect graphics, creating the an eye-catching title, launching the perfect Facebook post, etc.  All to wait and see how people respond to your creation.  Too short? Too long?  Okay?  Perfect?  Amazing?  10 readers?  4,000 readers?

Those are some good excuses, aren’t they?  Great!  I can play a victim to circumstance and difficulty and go on without a second thought.  Right?  It’s my pattern.  Okay, then, why did I stop losing weight?  Was I too busy to work out?  Yes.  Struggling through windows of bad allergies and back pain?  Sure.  I have tons of excuses, but I honestly lost the biggest majority of my weight through eating patterns alone.  That nullifies all excuses because the eating patterns were cheaper and would help me continue, or at the very least, maintain my weight.  Damnit!  This creates an area where I can’t excuse the behavior and move on.

I crashed.  Hard.  All my worst coping mechanisms showed up and I struggled for a couple weeks without even really understanding why I was crashing.  One night, as I was driving home, my internal dialogue lead me to a place of evaluating this situation and I stumbled upon a thought.  This thought seemed much bigger than me.  A thought so true that I needed to share it here even though it would require me swallowing my pride and being more real than I ever cared to…

As I was having my internal discussion, I realized this is about the third time that I have gone through this cycle.  The first time, I went from 350 to about 340 and I crashed.  The second time, I went from about 400 to 330 (I thought) and crashed when I realized my scale was broken and I was actually just under 350.  This time, I started my cycle at 450 and I got down to ACTUAL 330 (327) and stopped again.  Why would I keep doing this?  I know what is next… I slip and make excuses for big meals and cheat snacks until I’ve gained all the weight back and all the pounds brought friends.

So… You ready for the big reveal?  The real reason I quit my blogging and my weight loss?  I’m stuck in this cycle because I’m living up to my perception of my potential.  Once this thought hit me, I googled it and found this:

I was right.  Though I never watch Dr. Phil and know absolutely nothing about him, I was seeing confirmation of what I was thinking.  In order for me to press forward in this journey, I was going to have to change my perception of what I deserve and what defines the best or highest potential for me.  Unfortunately, this revelation was happening at a time when my best friendship was falling apart, I was missing personal goals for my essential oils business, and my life seemed to be defined by situations that only confirmed the opposite to be true.

So, I just sit on this truth and continued to allow my backslide to happen.  Each week, I committed to change, but never intended to follow through.  That all changes now.  I am committing to myself that I am going to change this.  Not because my friendship has healed.  It hasn’t.  Not because I’ve reached my big goal with my essential oils business.  I haven’t (though I have hit good goals).  Nor because I have been the recipient of some major miracle or visit from an angel to remind me that I’m God’s child and worth the very best this life has to offer.  I haven’t.

I think the only thing that has changed is my realization that I have lived through these things before and I have survived.  Not my friends that stood by me.  Not my family that loves me.  Not my wife that is always there for me.  I have survived my life.  I am good enough – even when I don’t feel good enough.  I am worth it.  I deserve better.  I am worth the very best in life and deserve every form of success that I may encounter in this life – even if the people around me don’t seem to believe it, either.

I know I haven’t lost this battle unless I continue to remain on the ground and allow myself to continue being defeated.  That’s not what’s going to happen here.  Not for readers,  Not for family or friends.  For me.  I can’t lose sight of that or my green personality will torture me back into a position of defeat.  It’s time I rely on my red side to drive me even when it doesn’t feel comfortable and I don’t really want to.

There are no pictures and there will be no weigh in posted.  This blog is as raw and real as it can get and I’m just going to leave it as it is… and that is good enough for me.

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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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)

Find me on social media:

I’m a Fraud

It feels so bizarre to have mid-70s temps, be able to have all the windows open, and to go wp-1487560683955.pngon a two-hour walk in shorts DURING THE MIDDLE OF FEBRUARY!!!!  There are so many ways that I could view this weekend and I’ve probably viewed it from each of the different angles as the weekend progressed.  As I have shared before, it is one’s mindset that creates the most significant impact upon how that individual proceeds into their future.

I weighed myself Friday morning to find that I am 5.8 pounds away from reaching a HUGE goal:  100 pounds lost.  As you can imagine, I’m overwhelmingly excited about being so close to this number.  As a result of my excitement, I vowed that I would not have any meals without tracking calories and that I would not sway from my healthy choices at all until I reached my 100th pound.  However, I failed miserably.  No… I failed in the biggest way that I have ever failed since I started this life change.

I, like everyone, have a very busy life.  It seems if it is not one thing, it’s the other.  My wife and I regularly have dinner with a friend on Friday nights and it is typically a meal that calories are not tracked.  Saturday, I attended our team’s Young Living event:  White Out! where we learned about the toxins that exist in cleaning, beauty, and other household products and the alternatives that are available for those that aren’t into DIY projects.  Afterward, our direct team went out for dinner.  To finish the night, I went out and played pool with a friend.  As the weather has warmed up and I’m getting out into the world more and more, it becomes increasingly difficult to live in the healthy food choices bubble that I have created in the past several months.

Despite setting out on this journey of free will, there has also been an enormous amount of pressure that I put on myself.  Pressure to resist temptation nearly every second of every day.  Temptation has been everywhere and it changes its mask every time I see it:  smoking, unhealthy food choices, staying in bed, skipping exercise, etc.  To be honest, the positive affirmation from others has been like a drug.  I love it and I regularly get it.  Everyone… EVERYONE… is fantastic at telling me how awesome I am doing and it makes me feel so good inside.  That positive affirmation has pushed me to continue with behaviors so that I could keep getting it, but I failed… epically!

About a month ago and a half ago, we added walking to our weight loss journey.  I found this change hard, but the mounting pressure from outside sources forced me out of my bed and onto the road.  No regrets, but it gave me another avenue to temptation and pressure.wp-1487560724699.jpg  It also put me into an active neighborhood during the time that people are waking up and having their morning smoke.

I caved and bought a pack of cigarettes about two weeks later.  Being the true logicist that I am, I rationalized that I could employ a “cheat meal” with smoking as a way of managing the constant pressure.  So, I created a rule that I could have four hits off a cigarette once a week.  That shortly grew into 2-3 times per week, but I haven’t increased it further nor was it fully utilized each week.

On top of my smoking failure, I caved all weekend.  The bridges came tumbling down very quickly when I broke my vow to myself and ate a full dinner at Rib Crib without tracking calories. The devastation only continued as I had a couple adult beverages at dinner Saturday night.  I didn’t make terrible food choices, but I did call a friend and entice him to come play pool which resulted in several more adult beverages.  By the time the night ended, we were still at the bar at closing time and I’ll admit that I am glad I was not driving.

When I woke up this morning, the guilt was enormous.  Thanks to my habit of only drinking water, I had no hangover.  However, I had thrown everything away and had crashed on all of my goals and my weight loss vows.  As I contemplated the need to get out of bed, I had a quick confessional conversation with a good friend, mentor, and inspiration, but even in that conversation, I didn’t reveal the entire truth.  Rather than judge or condemn, she met me with love as she reminded me that God renews us each morning and that I am best suited to live in that knowledge and get back on the wagon and keep going.

However, as I sit here tonight, I feel like anything BUT a failure.  I feel like a champion and I feel like I had an EPIC weekend!  I don’t feel like I deserved it, or earned it, or that I gave into peer pressure, or I even failed at all!  I feel like I made choices that I haven’t made in a long time and it resulted in me having an amazing weekend and my weight loss isn’t going to notice more than a slight bump in the road.  That being said, I do know that smoking is a terrible choice and that I have to address this situation head on before I logic my way back into a habit, but I have honestly lost all the guilt over my food and alcohol choices this weekend.

This blog has been about saving my life and living my life to the fullest.  When I started, I was losing mobility and quickly headed to a constant relationship with my bed due to having incredible difficulty with movement.  I had difficulty putting on my shoes, problems with regular back pain, and even difficulty taking care of myself in the shower, on the toilet, etc.  Thanks to my progress, these issues are only distant memories.  Yet, while I have LOVED getting out and getting into parks and taking morning walks, I LOVE doing other things, as well.  Things that I always intended on doing after my weight loss was done.  Maybe the answer here is balance rather than rejection.  Perhaps, I have to establish healthy boundaries and the ability to make good choices for my weight RIGHT NOW rather than living in a strict bubble that makes me feel like I’m constantly being crushed by some unseen force.

So, maybe I’m not a fraud.  Maybe I’m just a human that enjoys the additional aspects of wp-1487560689018.pnghis life that have come with losing weight.  However, I may also be a human that enjoys a night on the town filled with choices that I don’t regularly make anymore.  To me, it seems like a very dangerous place to walk.  Maybe that is why so many fail at losing weight.  Maybe it is safer and more effective to live one way or the other.  I don’t have any answers, but I want to be me and I want to be free to make choices for myself without experiencing pressure that I am letting myself or anyone else down.

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 355.8 pounds
  • Total loss  94.2 pounds (35.2% of my total excess body weight)

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Embracing the Adventure

wp-1486954712248.jpgGood Lord, I can’t get enough of these beautiful weekends!  I relish every minute outside in these absolutely gorgeous Spring… er… Winter days.  I can’t even believe how that sentence needs to be typed.  It’s WINTER and the temperatures got into the 80s yesterday!  I would love to have a situation where I worked two days of the week and had the other five days off (and make the same paycheck… or more… of course!).  I simply can’t get enough time to spend outside doing what I love the most:  exploring nature and getting healthy!

This weekend brought me a fantastic visit with my family!  I was given a last-minute opportunity to jump in the car and drive to my home town and spend the day with my aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, dad, sister, brother, nephews, nieces, and some in-laws!  For the first part of the day, I visited with my inspirations:  Uncle John, Aunt Melinda, and my cousin, Anna.  You see, three years ago, they set out on a journey to find true health which wp-1486954487893.jpgled them to the jogging/running lifestyle!  Given the content of my last blog post, you can bet your prized goat that I wanted to talk to them about SHOES and, boy, I found my way to the right people!

From 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., we talked about life, oils, and health!  I can’t even believe how long and how easy it was to talk for this length of time without once thinking of food or having any realization of how much time had passed.  I learned from them about shoes, they learned from me about oils, and then I learned from them about health building tools!  It was an amazing time and I can’t wait to see them again.  If not sooner, I know they will be joining me on my upcoming Color Run… our first 5k!  It’s gonna be epic.

If you know me, then you know that when I get my sights set on something, I pursue it with everything I’ve got.  With the VAST AMOUNT of information I learned, I had to act on the information they shared with me.  So, today, I woke up with the goal of visiting the shoe store they recommended.  I must admit, I was easily distracted from my goal when our buddy, Liz, called with a seducing offer of a hike at Lake Springfield.  So, with a quick calculation of times, I set a preliminary itinerary and we set out for the day.

wp-1486954386337.jpgFirst, we went to Lake Springfield and hiked around the park for at least two hours.  We may not have walked very far (three miles), but we did a lot of off-road hiking and A LOT of steep, large hills.  The change up was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time!  Our neighborhood has slight hills, but we can also choose how to take the worst ones.  However, at the park, there was no foreknowledge of what was coming or how to take it… we just went.  I was blown away at how far my body has come.  I wasn’t nearly anything close to fast, but I did it without dying or having to stop for a break.  I felt so empowered.

As we wrapped up our hike, we all realized we hadn’t eaten yet.  If you follow my Facebook page, I’m sure you know all about that!  HAHA.  If not, you can still feel free to click the link below to take a visit and see more about this part of our day on my Facebook page!

After our lunch/dinner, my wife and I headed to our local Fleet Feet Sports in Springfield, MO, and embarked on an entirely new journey for ourselves:  good running shoes.  Thanks to the information and recommendation I got from my aunt and uncle, this was the starting point for us to learn the proper footwear for this new endeavor in our lives:  walking.

As we pulled up to the building, we both werewp-1486955172737.jpg overcome with similar feelings of embarrassment and shame.  We were daunted and, honestly,  believed that we would be laughed out of the store by the people that really should be in there.  So, as I walked to the building, I decided that I was going to document our journey.  This blog has been started by a man that knows very little about what he is doing and I have been learning in front of you readers from the moment I launched the site.  If I feel daunted and silly going into a store targeting runners, I know others that find their way here will experience those feelings, too!

Neither of us had ever been in a store with so little variety in products.  Shoes, tools for runners, clothing for runners, etc.  That was the extent of it.  Additionally, neither of us wp-1486955200247.jpghad ever been in a shoe store where there were NO boxes of shoes on the showroom floor!  While we were there, our sales agent evaluated our feet, examined our stride and detailed how a shoe needs to fit our feet to meet our specific needs!  After this very invasive feet interaction, she began retrieving specific shoes that met the criteria we had discussed.  She accepted our feedback and retrieved items we requested, but both of us ended up going with the recommendation from our salesman as they truly felt the best on our fewp-1486954419224.jpget!  It was a new and empowering experience as our sales agent educated us about the characteristics of a walking shoe that will meet our needs and improve our walking experience.  Our sales lady was so observant that she confirmed something I had began suspecting, but never had evaluated, for a few years – I have one leg that is shorter than the other!  She also found out I have been wearing a size 12 shoe and I should be wearing a size 10.5!

When I started this journey, I began on the premise that I was going to do this on my own and I was going to show people you don’t have to pay a company hundreds of dollars to help you loose weight.  However, I have learned this week that it is OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP and it is IMPERATIVE TO OBTAIN the proper gear to protect my feet, ankles, and legs, so that I can keep wp-1486954430072.jpgmaking the progress that I have been making!  Coming from a guy that has NEVER spent more than $30 – $40 on a pair of shoes, I can tell you that I experienced an entirely different type of step today.  The wonderful pair of shoes I had been wearing weigh than twice what these shoes weigh and feel nowhere near as comfortable for walking!  After getting home, I took a quick 1.3 mile walk in them so that I could get an immediate feel for them.  I literally felt like I was gliding as the cushion, which adds to my height substantially, absorbed every step and my feet began to develop a new relationship with the harsh pavement that has been beating the hell out of my feet and ankles!

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s full walk with my new pair of HOKA walking shoes and putting them to the full day’s test.  Now, do I want to do 4 or 5 miles?  Hmm…

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

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 358.4 pounds
  • Total loss  91.6 pounds (34.3% of my total excess body weight)

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