A brief history if you will...
As I sit here at my desk, I look back to just 10 Weeks ago, 242
pounds of out of shape blubber and spiraling towards a guaranteed heart
attack. Now you might think that at age
33, a Heart Attack would be highly unlikely, but when your grandfather died at
the age of 35 from a Heart Attack, it gets you thinking.
Sure, I was stupid to think it wouldn’t happen to me, I
would even joke about how I only had 2 years left, so I was going to have a
good time till it was my time was up. The
truth was… I was not having a good time at all.
I was in a career that I absolutely hated. I left a career earlier in my life that I truly
loved and missed greatly. I had things
to do that I enjoyed, my children, my hobbies and such, but the one thing that
took up most of my time, my job had me so depressed at times, it was all I
could think about.
This past summer, I was able to afford a rare family
vacation. This little get away, or life
saver as I like to call it, is where it all started. My family and I got the opportunity to meet
my long lost sister for the first time in nearly 15 years. She is a United States Marine. I had found her on “My Space”, after I received
a photograph of her from my grandmother, who I had not spoken to in over 10
A little concerned of what she might say or her reaction to
my contacting her…I eased into this endeavor very delicately. I came to find out, our biological father
(the only name or description this man will ever get from Me.) had pretty much
done to her what he had done to my brother and I, left us high and dry. She was so excited to hear from me as I was
from her…we became instant friends. I
would have to wait several months to meet her; she was currently serving in
Our vacation went very well; we all had the greatest time,
until it was time to leave. As we packed
up our mini-van, to head back home, we said our good byes, made plans to see
each other again and headed to that dreaded place called home. During the 12 hour road trip, the one thing
kept entering my mind…I do not want to go back to work!
Having responsibilities, such as a family, house, car and
such…it’s kind of hard and probably not the best idea to up and quit everything,
so I sucked it up. I sat down with the
family and expressed my thoughts and proceeded with a plan.
For the first six years of my adult life, I was a
soldier. I loved being a soldier and I
was good at it. By the time I was 20
years old I had my own team of soldiers, I was a leader, a professional. In the United States Army, I was proud to
serve my country. I was an Infantryman,
who embraced the mission and the unbreakable band of brothers.
It was one of the hardest decisions for me to leave the
United States Army, but my wife was not well with her health and even though
the Army didn’t issue her to me, she had been apart of my life long before the
Army. So, after the decision was made to
leave the Army, I knew deep down that I would be back in some way. I was only 24 years old when I left active
Now at the age of 33, I had been completely separated from the
Army for the past nine years. I had
spent the last eight years working my current job, which most might think is
very similar to the Military and ask me all the time, isn’t it about the
same. In my mind and in the locations I
have had to work, it was far from my Military experience. I honored those who love the job where I
worked, but it was not for me. I just
wasn’t cut out being a third trick road cop on a small department where just
about everything you do is scrutinized by the locals.
In addition, I became the doughnut eating poster cop, you
all see in the movies. I went from an in
great shape soldier that could run all day and walk all night with a 80 pound
rucksack on my back, to at times a 250 pound tub. A tub!
I could barley move without breathing hard. I really didn’t care too much about my
health. I was very active in local youth
athletics, but did mostly administrative duties and shied away from getting
I knew deep down that I was killing myself, but I continued
to eat. I told myself, that I just loved
food. I never did any exercises. I convinced myself that the few times I
wrestled with the kids in practice every year was going to keep me in some kind
of shape. I used to run the wrestling
team in formation and sing cadence for them when I first started coaching.
I had always been an athlete, I know how to take care of my
health, I know how to exercise, and I know what my capabilities are. I just didn’t care. I was lazy, passive and if it started to
hurt, I stopped whatever I was doing.
How long would I continue this route of self destruction? I was not happy, depressed, and had of the
worst…dying by age 35 from a heart attack, just as my grandfather did.
I never met my grandfather; he died when my mother was 13
years old. My mother told me it was one
of the most devastating things that she has ever experienced. I thought to myself, my daughters are 15 and
12…do I really want to put them through the same devastation that my mother
went through. What can I do to ensure my
health won’t be the cause of my death?
First things first, get happy!
Find a new job, was the number one objective.
Our town is small, about 4200 people, so jobs are hard to
come by. So about a week after we
returned from our vacation, we went up to the closest big city and I went in to
the office of the United States Army Recruiter.
My wife asked me if this was some kind of mid-life crisis or something. I just looked at her and said, “This was the
only job that I was happy to do”. I
walked in, and was greeted by a tall, lean guy about my age. He asked me what he could do to help me, and
I told him I was a prior service member that was just curious to know what if
any chances I had to get back in.
The gentleman kind of rolled his eyes, but stayed
professional and responded to me that I would have to pass the height and
weight test before they could do anything for me. He asked me to fill out a questionnaire, and
told me that at my age I would have to pass the body fat test as well. We spoke for a few more minutes and I thanked
him for his time and walked out the door.
I got the impression, by the tone of the recruiter’s voice that he never
expected to see me back.
As my wife and I went to dinner that I night, I told her I
was going to do it. I took my first step
and ordered a salad, and she laughed. My
wife didn’t mean anything by laughing; I knew her all to well. I had said things like this before and came
went through with them. This time I was
going to go through with it. The next
day I called the recruiter and asked him what the body fat percentage was for
my age and height. He chuckled and said,
it’s 24 percent, oh and by the way he said, prior service guys don’t get any leeway! I was polite, thanked him for the information
and hung up the phone.
It was late August of 2008, and my oldest daughter was
running on the Cross County team at her High School. I told her that I was going to start running
again, and she was like yeah whatever dad.
She has ran the 5K (3.1 Miles) in twenty-two minutes or so. My younger daughter, a 6th grader
ran for the Junior High Cross Country team, and ran the 3K (1.9 Miles) in
thirteen minutes flat. I expressed to
them both that I was serious and was going to lose the weight.
On September 6th, 2008, a Saturday morning, we
went to watch my oldest run in a big invitational. She didn’t do well, she struggled with shin
splints and I could see the pain in her eyes as she continued to run. I remembered how it felt to run in pain, but
pride would take over and not allow you to quit. September 6th was just over 10
weeks ago. When I got home that day, I
stepped onto the scales in the bathroom and it read 242 pounds! Today, I told myself is the day I start!
Being a wrestling coach and involved with several youth activities,
I have always had access to many services such as an indoor track, weight room,
fitness center and so forth. I had bought
a brand new tread mill several years ago, that I used maybe once. I had good friends that were certified
trainers. Why? I asked myself, have I
not used these resources before. It
wouldn’t have cost me a dime, but yet I still never cared to use what I had available.
I rolled out the tread mill, stepped on it and started to
walk. I walked every night for a week,
sometimes for a half hour and sometimes for an hour. After about a week, I noticed a small drop in
my weight. I had lost about 5 or so
pounds, from just walking. I made a few
phone calls to a friend, a man that I will always be indebt to, about my
diet. I told him my plans and my
goals. He told me what to do for the
next week and what to eat. After week
two, I had lost close to twenty pounds.
I could not believe my eyes when I stepped onto the scales.
The weight was slowly coming off, but my body fat percentage
was another thing, it was a lot slower than the weight. I started to incorporate slow jogs, and
bicycle rides. In addition, to the added
cardio, I started to spend time in the weight room. I never realized how weak I had become over
the years. 15 pound dumb bells felt like
100 pounders. I can remember bench pressing
over 250 pounds when I was in high school, now 35 to 40 pounds was straining.
I added cardio to my schedule for every night, 30 to 45
minutes. I was on such a roll, that I
decided I was going to change my diet all together and after five weeks, I had
lost 47 pounds…That’s right, 47 POUNDS!
I was weighing in at 195 pounds.
I was so pumped and excited; I thought there was nothing I couldn’t
do. The following week, I was at 192
pounds, which put me at an even 50 pounds lost at just six weeks. I felt so in control and fresh.
I drove back up to the United States Army Recruiter’s Office
and asked to speak to the same recruiter I met back in late August. I introduced myself to him, and the look on
his face was priceless. I asked him if
he was getting my periodical emails of my progress. He kind of shook his head and said sure; he
got them but really didn’t pay all that much attention to them.
I asked him to do a body fat test on me, to see where I was
at. We went back to the restroom area
where there was a scale and he then weighed me and did a tape test. “26.5 percent”, he said. I was crushed. I thought for sure I was under 24
percent. He was so inspired and told me,
“Man your doing it, and don’t stop now!”
Two weeks later, I was down less than 185 pounds in
weight. I had stepped up my cardio times
two and with my added weight room routine, it seemed like the weight was coming
off slower and slower. Only seven pounds
or so I lost in the past two weeks. I
thought it was not going to happen anytime soon, hitting the 24 percent mark of
my body fat. I went and got taped anyways,
just to see where I was at. As I was
undressing, for the tape test, I noticed that my abs were really beginning to
show, like the days of old. The
recruiter wrapped the tape around my waist and it measured about 35 and a half
After he did the formula that calculates body fat, he looked
at me and smiled, I was at 23 percent.
Wow, I thought…23 percent. Sure I
was very happy, but 23 percent…I knew I was very capable of getting much lower
now, after all I have done over the past eight weeks.
I am close to eleven weeks on my program, and I have lost
over 60 pounds. Yesterday, I taped out
at 15.1 percent body fat. I have to
re-set my goals each week, which I am not complaining, don’t get me wrong…but I
am going to become that lean, mean fighting machine I once was…Oh and by the
way, I re-enlisted in the United States Army- Reserves. It’s not where I want to be just yet, but it’ll
get me to where I want to go.
Keep Driving On!