Look...I know this is long...just hang in there, I think it's worth it. So, this is kind of difficult post for me to put out there. That being said, I think it’s something that needs to be done. Not just for me (although that is a reason), but for you. Our members. If I really am living up to my title as your “Coach for Life,” you need a glimpse of what it’s like to crawl around in my head for a bit; to see where I’m at in this process of becoming healthy, and where I’ve come from. I hope that this offering of my story, and myself, will help keep you motivated. Maybe it will re-ignite your fire/motivation? Maybe it will inspire someone in your own peer group to start moving and turn things around. Please feel free to share this series of posts with your friends and family. Let them know that the people you work with each day in our gym are just like you, and just like them. The following is post 1 of 3. The majority of this was written in October of 2015 right after I left my job:
The Way Forward...
How the hell did we get from here….
Shane - June 2012 (248lbs) ...
to here?!?! Shane-October 2015 (362lbs)
The reckoning is upon me, and it has been a long time coming. Not too long ago I felt like I could conquer the world. I had battled obesity and mostly won. Then, as if some sort of unforeseen rogue wave, life happened. Add a divorce, increased hours in the office, stress, 3 hours of daily commute time, and a general lack of paying attention, and all of a sudden I wake up 120 pounds overweight.
Not 24 months have passed since I was at my best, and now, the wheels having come completely off the wagon. Scratch that. The wheels have come off, thrown me to the ground, run me over, and then I ate the damn wagon.
In retrospect, I had first noticed the weight coming back on in October of 2013. I was headed out of town for a conference and had to go buy a bunch of new clothes and realized that I was back up a size. “It’s just a size, no big deal, right?” I didn’t give it too much thought as I was still performing well physically, and generally felt good about life, I had come out of my divorce relatively unscathed, my daughters were great, and career was on track. I had emerged from the darkness of personal strife and was feeling great, ready to conquer the world and boy was I slaying it. So I thought, anyway…
The first thing to go was the gym…from 4-5 days a week, like clockwork, to 3, to 2, then slowly I missed a week…then two… After that it was the diet, went straight in the toilet. The slow creep of bread, pastas, and sugar in replacement of the vegetables I had grown to enjoy eating. The short term high of eating the crap, followed by the feeling of guilt creeping in, and a "promise" that tomorrow I would clean things up.
Oh, let’s not forget the booze…ohhhh the social beers, the pub nights, happy hours, dates, and whiskey cocktail after whiskey cocktail. In time, the guilt faded away, and booze and food no longer mattered. Quantity was no longer relevant, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I was entitled.
All the while, my work-day still consisted of spending 9 hours in a windowless room, sitting in front of a computer with s bear of a commute staring me right in the face. Fast-forward a few years and things really started to manifest in a real bad way, and reality began to sink in. The first time I noticed I was in real trouble, was when I was dating a woman that lived in a 3 story walk-up. I noticed that I was more than just slightly winded going up three flights of stairs. I also noticed that maybe my...um…”performance” in other areas, wasn't quite what it once was. Some alarm bells started to go off in my head.
In seemingly no time, the bottom dropped out, not for any particular reason, but just because. The stress of the job set in, I completely abandoned eating healthy, didn’t sleep, and apparently erased all memories of working out. In other words, I stopped caring all together, accepted my "fate" as it were, and couldn't even think to summon the motivation to get back on track.
As an example of my lack of motivation, one night, around 9:00pm I receive a phone call from my Coach for Life (Cameron). It went as follows:
Cam: Hey, what are you doing RIGHT NOW?
Me: Not much, just chilling at home
Cam: Get your gear on, let's workout
Cam: I'm in your driveway, I'll work you out right now, you need to get moving man
Me: Do not get out of your car. You should go home
Cam: You know what you need to do here, but it's up to you, you have to want this. I'm parking.
Me: I know, but if you get out of your car, I'm locking the door. You should go
Needless to say, I dug my heels in, and he left, as I had requested, but that was a huge moment for me. I realized that people cared about where I had been, and knew I was in trouble. While I may not have worked out that night, the gesture wasn't lost on me. This is what good friends do…this is what GREAT coaches do.
Sadly, this was the status quo for about another year. I was extremely successful at doing nothing...I mean seriously, fuck-all NOTHING as it pertained to my health. Then, all of my proverbial warts were exposed when I decided to take a trip to Europe. Talk about feeling every bit the fat American. I didn't fit in the airline seat, I was sweating ALL THE TIME, it hurt to walk, I had no stamina for walking through town. It was more than an eye opening, It was downright scary. It was during this trip that I felt the ship begin to turn. Travel is funny, if you do it right, you get some time in your own head. I did some deep thinking about where I stood with things.
Over a series of evenings looking out over the Italian countryside, I took stock of my career, my health, and my life. I spent considerable time trying to locate the disconnect in my life. Long since gone was the time to feel sorry for myself, to be angry about my fall back into the world of morbid obesity. The price of continuing on the same path was too steep and I realized that without a doubt, if I were to continue doing exactly what I was doing, I was going to end up dead.
Upon returning from the trip, I began to work out scenarios where I could continue to work at my present job while carving out time to get the physical work done. Nothing seemed to pencil out. My first goal would be to turn my work situation into a work from home scenario (at least in part), in order to relieve the pressure of the commute, which ate up 2-4 hours a day. There was a general lack of willingness of my employer to even discuss this, which severely limited my options there. Check. Time to try something else.
After weeks of torturing myself with numerous end-game scenarios, it became clear my only option was to leave my job. Once that decision was made, I began to set aside money so that I might be able to take some time away from working in order to focus on my health. A leave of absence from the working world. A sabbatical. Call it what you want, but I wasn’t going to keep doing what I was doing. I had gone to the doctor, I was hypertensive, pre-diabetic, on the fast track to a heart attack at 37. No thanks. So, at the beginning of October 2015, I boxed up my feeble office belongings, packed them into my car, and set off for a 3 month sabbatical in which my sole purpose was to whip myself back into shape.
What happens next...is for my next post...I’ll let you know that that first few days back in the gym was like, what it felt like to see progress, and how the idea of being a “Coach” even entered the universe. Again, please feel free to share this with your friends...