“You have to want it more than anyone else…”
I was always the fat kid, the last kid picked, the funny kid that made everyone laugh, the one that did anything for attention. I mean, let’s face it, nobody really wanted to be friends with the fat kid so you had to be funny to keep people around. That’s how I grew up at least. Being compared to three intelligent and athletically gifted brothers all your life wasn’t an ideal childhood either. I grew up hating myself and believing that the cards I was dealt in life was my destiny. I grew hateful and bitter. I remember clearly one day, my father and I went to a father/son event and when it was time for the basketball game, my dad didn’t pick me on his team. I was eight years old.
I reflected on that memory time and time again through the years. The more I reflected, the more I realized that my weight had affected many of my relationships in my life with friends, family, as well as my love life. All I’ve ever wanted was love. Was that too much to ask for? I know many people reading this right now can relate how gut-wrenching painfully this feels.
There came a time when I noticed that the darkness could in fact get darker. I had set goals in life such as, having a career, getting married by 25 and having a house, kids even. I wanted to be successful yet I had no idea what success even meant to me. When the goals I set hadn’t been accomplished, I knew it was time to toss the towel in. I had attempted suicide in hopes to stop burdening others in my life. When I couldn’t manage to follow through, I decided I would eat myself to death. I was about 315 lbs at the age of 24. Not even a year later I was a staggering 360 lbs. November 2012, I heard a sermon that would change my way of thinking. See, in life we go through storms that batter and destroy us. We tend to set our anchors down durning the storm hoping to endure it but tend to give up and sulk and pity our self. I had been doing this for over twenty-five years.
I decided it was time to raise my anchors and push through courageously. I was ready to accept that I had allowed myself to reach this point. I was tied of losing at life and just getting by. It was my time to live.
January 14, 2013 (370 lbs) was the first day of my journey. I signed up for a gym membership began working out 7 days a week. I would workout on the elliptical for 45 minutes. That’s all I could manage doing. After a month I began incorporating running on the treadmill for 15 minutes as a cool down. I started losing weight and noticing a difference. My mood had changed. I was feeling energetic and alive! On the third month, I began doing two-a-days, strictly cardio. I’d wake up at 6:30 am and run a mile. After work it was back to the gym to workout on the elliptical for 30 minutes, treadmill (incline level 5, speed 3.5-5.5) for 15 minutes, and jump rope for 5 minutes. I was obsessed. I had no idea I was missing out on this happiness all along and it was always in my control. By month 5 I had lost 50 pounds; a week before my birthday. It was the greatest gift I could’ve ever received. My workouts grew with intensity. I started running miles in the morning, during my lunch hour, and after work. After month 10, I had lost 70 pounds and had made the skeptics into believers. I began to add squats, burpees, push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges, and arm curls into my workouts.
I wouldn’t have had the success without the nutrition. On my first day I made it very clear to myself that I was done drinking soda and eating fast food. I also cut my calories from 3,000+ to 2,100 and after the third month down to 1,500. My diet consisted of lean proteins such as chicken breast, eggs, fish, Quest Bars, almonds, and green vegetables. I also included bananas, apples, blueberries and strawberries. Water was (and is) my drink of choice.
I know I had many people that loved me and wanted a healthier me. I always took it the wrong way and saw it as rejection. The problem was that I had rejected myself. I had given up on myself. I had to want my life more than others wanted it for me. I had to make the decision for myself and stop making excuses.
As an individual, you have to save yourself. You can’t wait for someone to do it for you. You have to want it more than anyone else does for yourself. Take action. Take responsibility. I can sit here and blame and curse the world and be full of hate. In reality, I only hated myself for being so weak. I leave you with this; learn, apply, and improve. No matter what, you can endure. I will fight. I will suffer. I will conquer. I will live. Heck, I am living. My life is good.
You can find Jesse at: