Having willpower is a choice. It is not something that one is given, nor is it something that is validated by the external. If you examine yourself you will find it. When you find it, you will realize it. And when you realize it, you will be unstoppable. It is the strength of not only discipline, but perseverance and the absolute refusal to give up; a hero’s strength. Embracing the willpower that resides within becomes strength to shape one’s destiny. Here is my personal story of willpower. Earning my second chance to LIVE – my destiny.
So who is Keith?
At 6’5” I have been either “Big Keith” or “BK” and many other nicknames over the course of my life. Of those who know me as “BK,” few know the catalysts for my life choices, the results of which were once my physical stature and, consequently, my nickname. Few knew what created “Big Keith.” I was prisoner to my cyclical feelings of inadequacy and failure from childhood through adulthood; pains that had shaped my choices and my life. Very early, in fact, much too early, I learned everything NOT to do as a friend, husband and a man raising children. As unfortunate and painful as the circumstances of learning those lessons may have been, I am truly thankful for them. Through that learning process, however, one lesson unlearned was the process of working though the pain resulting from the secrets I had kept. I, like most children do, learned to suppress and move forward, aware of, yet determined to avoid the pain of my memories.
Just like any problem, no matter how deep you think you bury it, it will eventually surface. For me it surfaced on the scales, which I topped at 440lbs+ (the scale’s max!) in January, 2013. I was slowly poisoning myself with the one thing I found comfort in, FOOD. I had tried before and like most, I set a weight-loss goal but never really committed. When I failed to accomplish the goal, I ate to feel better.
One day I looked at my wife and said I was sick of what I had become. After 16 years of smoking I finally quit on Valentine’s Day, 2012 after my wife and daughter implored me to quit. They loved me even though I did not love myself, they said. I had used smoking as a crutch to deal with stress but what I realized then was that I had all the tools I needed to deal with stress without smoking a cigarette. It was possible. What I took from that experience was that if my “WHY” was strong enough then I could find the willpower. I refused to be a victim of the circumstances of my life for one second longer, and for something I DID NOT DO. I set out and made a board of short and long-term goals.
In the past, I had always imposed a weight-loss goal instead of a just-getting-healthy-and-fit goal. I have to say that setting those general, overall fitness goals was the best thing I could have done. I started to hike. I have since hiked all over Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and California. Then I started to run. I am now running five days a week while still hiking on the weekends and doing CrossFit three days a week. The scale has moved just fine for me without obsessing over the number reflected on it. I have lost 65 frickin’ inches overall and 160lbs so far. That’s a 5’4″ 160 lb. monkey off my back! I now realize that while the scale measures weight, it cannot measure drive, heart or dedication to your goals — nor does it represent YOU as a person!!!
I still have a goal number for my weight that I want to hit, but I don’t care if it takes a month, a year or years to hit. It is one of many goals that I know will come when it is ready because I am dedicated to overall health and fitness and a healthy relationship with food. And unlike all those times before, I am addressing the mental roots of the problem. Which may be the most important lesson of all.
So here I am in 2016 with a ton of 5k’s,10k’s,15k’s, and 5, 1/2 marathons under my (much smaller) belt since running my first mile in May of 2013. I’m preparing to celebrate my 3000th mile ran and am in the process of becoming a running coach. I realize the boy who became the man who always quit never felt worthy and lost his smile. Now he has transformed into the man who can’t quit. Who refuses to quit with every fiber of his being. Thanks to eating and cheating healthy with Quest Bars & running, he got his smile back.
I am still “Big Keith,” but no longer for the size of my body, but rather the enormity of my willpower. I realize that not only do I possess it within me, I AM WILLPOWER.
Eat for fuel, train hard, be unstoppable.
Thank you Quest Nutrition for making healthy options for me and my family to use every day – You’re one hell of a wingman.
5 things I have learned on my journey:
- Write down your WHY! You will need it a lot for this road you are on.
- Set smart goals like “lose 1 pound a week.” I know it’s not flashy or as cool as a fad diet but remember it took a lifetime to put on and even if it takes a year or two it’s worth it in the long run.
- Set crazy non-weight-related goals. For me it was to skip everything else and walk/run a 1/2 marathon that way each day has purpose.
- Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water. A 200 pound man should drink about 100 oz of water a day.
- Plan for you mistakes. For me, after dinner I enjoy a snack so I plan for it. It could be a 1/2 a Quest bar or Chips (Fave Quest Bars are PB&J and Apple Pie, BTW). By not eating junk I can cheat clean — even if I have a whole bar it’s better than a bag of chips, right? LOL!