I really love what my life has become

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Me in 2004.

Before September of 2015, I thought I was happy. Heck, I was pretty happy overall, but there were aspects of my life that troubled me. I was overweight, and not by a little bit. I was morbidly obese. My body was in serious danger of failing on me. Because of this, I was unable to do any real strenuous activity including things like going up more than a flight of stairs at a time, doing any serious home projects, or even exercise.

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At my heaviest in 2014: 312 lbs.

I couldn’t buy clothes off the rack at any normal store or section of a department store. I had to shop at the “Big and Tall” stores or sections. I was never quite able to fit comfortably in a seat of an airliner or fit into a booth at restaurants. There are activities I wanted to do that I was just too heavy for. I had literally become a safety issue.

My doctor told me to not engage in any cardio until I lost weight because he was worried I would have a stroke or heart attack. I never quite thought my health was that bad. Heck, I felt okay, for the most part. And then I was diagnosed with having diabetes. That changed a lot in terms of my perception of my overall health. Then the nerve tingling in my toes began.

Then, my world changed. I adopted a new mindset, a new diet, and a new lifestyle. I decided that I was going to make a permanent change in what I ate, and eventually in getting fit. I knew that it would take some time before I could do some exercise, but one day I would get there and I would make it happen.

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Down 20 lbs already. I couldn’t see it; the beard was probably hiding it.

Within the first month, I already saw positive changes. My energy levels increased dramatically. My diabetes literally disappeared. My weight dropped 20 lbs. I was already fitting into pants I could no longer wear. I felt the difference in my weight; I could feel how much lighter I was. My knees already began feeling better, and I was able to tie my own shoes without holding my breath.

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-70 lbs and -beard. It was much easier to see the loss by this photo.

By the sixth month, I was down 70 lbs. I was visibly thinner and I was able to start doing things that I couldn’t do just half a year earlier: zip lining, hang gliding, and hiking.

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My wife and I at the 2016 Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

A year later, I began running. Two months later, I was able to attend the Marine Corps Birthday Ball for the first time since leaving active duty. I was able to do so in uniform, within the Marine Corps height and weight regulations, and with my wife and best friend. It was Sherry’s first ball, and we had an amazing time.

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Then, five months later, I enlisted into the National Guard. This was a goal I had set a year earlier, and was the culmination of a lot of work to get within Army height/weight regulations as well as fitness standards. I was fortunate to get in, and I am looking forward to the new adventures being in the National Guard will bring.

In my personal life, I’m very happy. I have a wife who supports me at every turn, and who is my partner in every sense of the word. She is uplifting, loving, and is there to hold me up when I need it. She has positive words of encouragement and advice, and listens intently when I talk about my experiences with our diet and exercise. We are a true team, and without her, I’m certain I wouldn’t have achieved the amount of success I have so quickly.

Professionally, I’m very happy. I have a job I enjoy, and being able to serve in the National Guard realizes a dream of mine to continue my military service through to retirement. I will be learning a new occupation, and I am excited for everything that entails. I also honestly enjoy the environment. It’s challenging, and there are difficult moments punctuated with the threat of danger, but I thrive on that.

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Sherry and I in Spain in 2017.

I feel younger than I have in the past 15, or maybe even 20 years. I am definitely more fit and lighter. There are things about myself I continue to work on to improve or correct, but they have more to do with habits. The only person I am trying to be better than is the person I was yesterday, and for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I have a real chance to do that.

I’m happy. I know you hear that happy is something you feel every now and then between the regular moments of existing, but I can honestly say I’m happy. I’m happy with how my life has turned out, where I am right now, and the relationships I have. I am happy with myself, how I feel, and where I am. That’s a good place to be, and I never would have gotten here had it not been for the change in my diet.

Such a little thing, but the difference it made was great.” – Morrissey

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