“How You Got Fat?!”

Gallon-sized plastic bag
filled with change

I named this post after a MyFitnessPal forum thread I recently read. I know I said in my book, Use Your Smartphone to Lose Weight, that I didn’t find much use in the forums on MyFitnessPal, but this particular headline caught my attention. I am officially eating crow right now.

What Did Others Say in the Forum?Many of the responses on the thread contained statements like the following as their reasons for becoming overweight:

  • Stress – eating brought comfort
  • “Didn’t care how I looked”
  • “I #@$ing hated my mother and my %&!ing miserable life.”
  • Boredom
  • Clinical depression
  • Abusive relationship
  • Parenthood – not having time to go to a gym like before
  • Ate a lot, too lazy to workout – took up about half of the posts on that thread

I find it amazing that for many of us, the weight gain seems to be linked to something that is not physical at all, something we are fighting within our hearts and minds.

How Did I Get Fat?
For me, my weight gain was mostly the result of enjoying lots of food and avoiding exercise. It was predominantly a habit issue. Most of my life was spent in athletic activities that required I consume a lot of fuel to keep up. When I left the Army in 2003, I stopped the exercise regimen in my life, but added to my diet. My perspective of the future had always been bright and without limits.

Somewhere in the last ten years, my perspective of the future had changed. I know that in 2013 I drew a line in the sand and decided to create the life I want for myself and my family. However, I never really gave it much thought on why I got to that low point in the first place. How did I let myself go physically? How did I let go of so many of my dreams by simply not pursuing them? This forum post on MyFitnessPal helped me realize what was going on in my life underneath the surface. Knowing drives me forward!

On the outside, I carried on like I had hope. I smiled. I was known for being positive, and calm under pressure. Deep down inside, I was drifting like a ship without power. Between 2006 and 2011, I experienced a job loss, a failed attempt at being self-employed as a Realtor, and nearly foreclosing on my home a number of times. 

I still remember the day when Olivia had to rescue me with a gallon-sized Ziplock bag filled with less than $10 in change. My car was stranded because it had run out of gas, and I needed to get to a real estate appointment to show property. That Ziplock bag was all the money we had left to our names.

Those six years were financially, mentally, and emotionally rough times for us. My self-image could clearly be seen through the obese version of me who fills many of our family photos in that time period. Even after a couple of years in a solid position working as a community educator and public speaker, I wasn’t confident in myself or my future. While my family, friends, and coworkers shared their admiration in my ability to speak in front of people, I felt puny, like I had squandered my youth chasing the wrong dreams, or not chasing them at all.

The Turn

May 2011, practicing our own
father-daughter dance at a wedding.

It took my son wanting to be active with me, my wife sharing her concerns for my health with me, and my daughter asking if I looked forward to dancing with her at her wedding (she was only 9 years old at the time, so this kinda freaked me out.) It took being tired of not being able to do something as simple as tying my own shoelaces without suffocating myself. I talk about this in my eBook

The revelation hit me that life is hard. No wise person ever said that life would not be difficult. What I needed to do for myself, for my wife, and for my children, was to pick myself back up and restore myself to the confident, determined, purpose-filled person I had been. 

“No wise person ever said that life would not be difficult.”

The journey started with results I could see in the mirror, getting physically fit by adding life-changing habits to lose weight and keep it off. The effort to lose weight required work within myself to accomplish the physical results I have seen so far. 

My weight loss of 56 pounds isn’t about the weight loss itself and the newly regained level of health I once had. It’s about regaining my confidence to go after my dreams. This year, I am building the foundation for those dreams through more blogging, more speaking and podcasting, and putting another book on the market!

Recommended Reading
Today Is the Day: Find and Embrace Your God-Given Dreams

How did you get fat? In other words, how did you lose your way physically, emotionally, financially, or in your relationships? What can you start doing to regain your confidence and get back on that saddle?

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