Throughout my life, I always had weight problems. I was always the “big guy”, the guy who was picked last for any sport, the guy who didn’t have many friends, the guy who just didn’t belong. In elementary school, I had trouble playing on the playground, seeing as how I could not run as fast or as long as the other kids, but I was happy and unaware of my weight issues. My dad always said I was “big-boned” and my mother and sisters always showed me the utmost love, and I was happy.
The real issues occurred when I left elementary school for middle school, and I got a first-hand experience of the old saying “kids are cruel.” I was bullied, both physically and mentally. It seems as if it only got worse as I got older. I had trouble making friends, because I was always afraid of being ridiculed. Middle school was a cakewalk compared to high school. I was brutally bullied in high school – numerous times a day, by people I did not even know.
It was at this time that the depression took over, and I became more and more anti-social. I was withdrawn from every aspect of my life, at home, school, everywhere. I tried everything to fit in, but nothing worked. Looking back, I realize that I was a stress eater. Food was always my escape. It was the one thing that I was able to control, the one thing I had that comforted me when I was sad. Every time I had a bad day, (everyday), I came home and ate everything and anything I could.
I became suicidal. I thought about killing myself because, it was a way out. It was a way for me to end the constant depression and hate built up in me, to end the dreaded voices in my head, to make all those who made my life hell feel horrible. At 16 years old, I was weighing in at over 350 pounds, and I was at my breaking point.
Everything changed though, on January 11th, 2012, my nephew Kayden was born. I suddenly stopped thinking about myself, and started thinking about him. I knew that it was not fair for me to leave him, he needed me and I needed him. I knew it was a matter of time until I died, either from the high blood pressure I had, my high cholesterol, or from my own hand. A fire was lit.
That said though, I started exercising all the wrong ways. I went through stages of “fad diets” and did endless amounts of cardio while practically starving myself. I felt sick and saw more harm than progress. I knew I had to get serious. I started researching, reading books, watching YouTube videos, pretty much everything. Senior year of high school after losing close to 100 pounds, I started to love school. My high school, Warren Mott High School, has an excellent strength and conditioning program, with two of the best coaches someone could ask for: Russ Shifferd and Shauhen Tahrebandi. They opened my eyes to a different world of fitness and nutrition. I discovered flexible dieting and bodybuilding and, over time, discovered that I not only loved working out, but I was passionate about it. I wrote my own workout routine and tracked my macros.
My family was my rock! My parents and sisters constantly showed me support and love and without them, I probably would have never attained any of my goals I had set out. Over time, I got leaner, and stronger. I was seeing my body change right before my eyes! I never gave up, I always wanted to improve and get stronger and look better. As of today, I am six foot, three inches, 190 pounds, train in a four day split, and currently lean bulking.
If I had learned five key points through my journey, they are these:
Life can be unfair – you could be the nicest, bubbliest, and most go-lucky person in the world, life has a way of making you miserable. Take what is thrown at you and make yourself happy.
Your family is key – your family, no matter how big or how small, love you and you should not overlook them.
Nutrition is key – in my books, nutrition makes up 75% of your progress! You could train like crazy and tale as many supplements as possible, but if your nutrition is off, you will not progress.
Everybody’s a critic – people will try to bring you down, to make you feel as bad as they do, you must cut that negativity out of your life and be happy and proud.
Be realistic – I never said when I first started out “I could probably lose 200 pounds in a month, just like the guy on TV says.” BE REALISTIC! Don’t look at fitness as a sprint, but a nonstop marathon only Forrest Gump could complete.
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