Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Inspires You?

When I was a kid, one of the memories I have from school, as early as 3rd grade, is writing about what inspires you - and who your hero is.  I know I was wound differently than most kids early on, because my answer to these questions were never celebrities, or the local sport hero.  My hero and what inspired me the most was always my dad and mom....Lately, a lot of people have been telling me what an inspiration I am to them because of what I am doing with my weight loss battle.  For me this is an extremely heavy weight that I am honored to carry around with me.  My parents were inspirations to me through hard work and their determination to be there always for my brothers and I.  My answer to those of you who say I am an inspiration is simply, "thanks, now go out and be an inspiration to someone else."  While I am honored to be this inspiration and reason that some of the people in my life have decided to turn their lives around and get healthier, I know that this is all a part of something much bigger. 

My coach (TJ Topper) has been and continues to be a HUGE inspiration in my life, and has told me from Day 1 of this journey that this is much bigger than just he and I....and we were damn big!  I had a conversation tonight with my brothers about how TJ can get me to try mostly anything by just talking to me about it!  Tonight I heard that people are saying the same thing about me.  For the first time in a long time I know that people are looking at what I do each day and are truly proud, and inspired to better their lives.  This is the greatest gift that you can give someone....the power to create change in others simply by your actions.  What we all do on a dilay basis affects and influences people around us, whether positively or negatively.  At work, there are people who are always negative and bring you down to a point where nothing seems to be good enough to make the day worth while.  Or there are people like me that some may want to punch in the face that tells everyone that "I'm living the dream" every time they are asked how its going...Sure it annoys some people, but if just 1 person takes that statement and moves positively ahead in the day because of it, then its worth all the other nasty looks from the Debbie Downers.  I know that I never showed negativity to most of you even when i was north of 400 pounds, but inside I was more pissed off than the guy that hosted American Idol with Seacrest in Season 1 that quit because he thought the show would never take off.....good call buddy!  That"s why your name is "the guy that hosted with Seacrest in Season 1!"  I knew that the life I was living was good at times, but temporary - and I am thankful to TJ for getting me going and giving me not only the gift of a longer life, but this gift to change lives around me!

My point to all this rambling is that change is something that we can all do and something that everyone around you can take notice of and be INSPIRED by.....I have to be honest - -for the first time in my life I didn't think of anyone but myself and my family when I started this in October of 2011...I always used to think about everyone before myself - and i know now that its ok to do things for yourself.  "If I can change, and you can change - ANYONE can change!"  Sure, its a line from Rocky IV, but it really is something that rings true here for this journey and a lot of journeys out there....Whether you are battling weight, alcohol, drugs, reality tv addictions, etc.  you can change - and those around you will take notice of that change and you will be surprised that they credit you for it!  I am sure that I told TJ a million times that he inspired me and thanked him for it - - I know what that feels like and its HEAVY!   A good heavy, but heavy!

For all of you that have called me an inspiration - make it your goal in life for someone to think that about you....you don't have to hear the words, but you can see it happening around you  - - - and its amazing!!  Kevin is going to be 2 in May and and he picked up a tension band the other day and said, "I'm exercising like daddy" - - he didn't say, "I'm going to try and eat a whole pizza like daddy" - - and let me tell you, that is powerful stuff!

Thanks for the high praise, and for the constant support, but please go out and pay it forward

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I felt compelled to blog tonight for a few reasons. One is about fatherhood and the other is about living my life the only way I can; being me. Easter was amazing today...it's funny how being the Easter Bunny for your kid can light up your day and appreciate your own parents as you look back on the years. Kevin woke up this morning and said, "Happy Easter - Bunny bring M&Ms???" haha - I am glad he mentioned the M&Ms last night so Daddy Bunny could go to Walgreens last night. Truth be told, we could have just got him that and the fake grass in the basket and he would have been happy! The look on his face as he came down the steps was priceless. It looked like he was shocked that a bunny hopped all over the place and brought him all these goodies. I am actually glad he looked shocked because the idea is completely ridiculous! What I was most proud of today is the way he reacted when he saw the rest of the family today (Gram, Pop, Uncle Brad, Uncle Michael, Anna, Molly and all the other family). I knew that he felt the same way I did and still do when he saw everyone. He looked at me as if to say, "Dad, this is way better than anything that could have been in my basket!!" Of course he could have meant, "YESSS, Gram is here and now I know I will be getting MORE stuff and BETTER stuff than that bunny brought me!" But, I am banking on the the first feeling...holidays were never about the gifts for me, but for the time I spent with my family, and it truly felt to me that he thought that too - even at 22 months old!

Another reason to write this evening is to respond to many people that have asked me about my weight loss over the last few weeks. By far, the most common question has been: "Why are you making this so public?" For me the reasons are simple. Although this journey seems to be a personal one and one that I need to forge ahead on alone, I feel that I made my struggles with weight in the past extremely public. Everywhere I went, I would not be a healthy person - I would eat whatever I wanted, I would be slow around the bases in my softball games, or drink as much as I wanted at the bar. Looking back - I have always worn my heart on my sleeve and never really kept anything private. I got to my heaviest in front of a lot of people I care deeply about (my parents, my brothers, my family, and even my wife and son). And to me, the "recovery" part of this journey needs to be out there and in front of them too. I'm sure that a lot of you had conversations and feelings about me that worried most of you. For all the pain and worry I put you all through - let me apologize from the bottom of my heart. This may sound weird, but I am battling a lot of inner feelings during this process - but the #1 thing that haunts me is letting myself get to that point in front of everyone, as if I was doing it in front of no one...So, I post these things and post each week about my weight loss not just to get praise and pats on the back, but as an apology and thank you to all of you that cared and worried about me through the years. I am doing this for me, but a large part of this is for each and every one of you that never gave up on me.

Much like the "open book" revealing of my journey, I also posted on facebook that I have registered for a 5k in October. I have got some comments that question why I posted that in such a public way, as if it were biting off a bit more than I can chew. Trust me, after the first week of training for this some of the same feelings entered my mind. But let me tell you this....I WILL finish that 5k....whether I am running, walking, crawling or rolling. To me, it seemed like the one thing I hated to do the most (running) and something I never thought I could do - that's why it must be done!

So, I am just being me by posting all the info about my journey because I feel like I owe it to everyone to overcome these obstacles and to say how much I appreciate all of your kinds words of encouragement.

"I'll never let you down again, I'M BACK...I promise to never go back on that promise" - EMINEM

Happy Easter - I hope you all had a great time with family and friends - they are all that matters in life!
Check the status tomorrow with week 24 results! See you at the finish line!