I'm going to take a step back before going forward here. My whole life I've tried to live a healthy lifestyle but have always struggled with weight. I never thought of myself as obese, just a little overweight. Never unhealthy, just less healthy than I could have been. I tried to keep myself in decent shape. In high school I took up sports, a weight lifting class, and many other school activities. In college I would walk to Hy-Vee to get groceries or to Amigos for fast food (both were about a mile walk round trip). In college I also irregularly went to the gym, took up a fitness cycling class, and tried to watch my food and beverage intake (easy to overdo it when you're stressed and focused on other things).
No matter what I did though, year after year my weight kept creeping upwards. I didn't care too much at the time. Until the summer after my 23rd birthday. I have bad joints to begin with but I, for the first time, felt the toll on my body from being out of shape. I creaked more, I hurt more, and was just plain tired more. At first I thought it was just part of getting older, but after a while I felt like my body was falling apart faster than it should have been. In December 2008 I moved in with a friend, Sam, at an apartment complex with fitness center.
When New Year's rolled around, I weighed about 235lbs and I made a pledge to get into that gym and to get healthy. I would work out in the morning in the gym for about 15-20 minutes. I started slow so I didn't burn out, hurt myself, or grow tired, which was smart thinking and, for a time, it was working. I was slowly losing weight but working out by itself only helped a little bit. The increase in activity made me hungrier so I ate more. In late spring of 2009 I moved out of the apartment complex and lost access to a fitness center.
However, I didn't change my eating habits. By the time Lisa and I took a trip to Kearney that summer (see photo at left) I had reached my heaviest weight: 240lbs. Seeing the scale and having knee pain from just sitting in a car for more than an hour, I realized something. I needed to improve my health. Not just for me, but for my family and my future family. I was having fears of being in a wheelchair by the time I was 35 due to my joints, and I didn't want to let that come to pass.
I am a strong self motivator, but when it comes to being healthy I have always struggled. This time was going to be different. This time I had additional motivation, an additional motivator: the lovely lady in the photos with me. This time I was going to make it. This time I had a plan and the motivation.