My Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle


By the time I finished High school I was overweight.  I was very active, but I had bad eating habits.  Some of those you can get away with when you are a teenager, but as I got older my bad habits continued and I began putting on more weight.  This increased weight led to less physical activity, which led to more weight gain and eventually this cycle led to other health problems.  Twenty years later I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type II diabetes requiring the use of insulin and oral medications.  In addition to insulin 3 times a day I took 7+ pills a day.  I was limited in the types of activities I could enjoy.  If things stayed the same I may not have had a lot of time left to live, and couldn’t enjoy the time I did have. 

I consulted with my endocrinologist and other doctors.  I knew that I needed to make lifelong changes to be healthy and active.  As part of those changes I had a gastric bypass surgery in May 2016, and fully committed to a new lifestyle.  I committed to myself that I would strictly follow the guidelines my healthcare professionals laid out for me.  I would not cheat.  I committed to eliminate all soda and carbonated beverages from my diet.  I committed to avoid foods high in sugar, especially added sugars.  I would stick to a new balanced diet high in protein and low in fat and sugar.  As I followed this new diet I began to see results in the form of weight loss.  I learned to enjoy new foods that fit within my new lifestyle.  I learned to politely say “No thank you, I am no longer eating those things.” when offered donuts, sweets, and other foods that didn’t fit into what I had committed to eat.  Verbalizing this choice to others helped me re-enforce my diet in my head and helped me stick to it.  I let others know of my new diet, and I found support from my family and my colleagues at work.  As I continued avoiding sugar the seemingly uncontrollable desires I had for sweets went away.  I found new joy in healthy and natural foods.

In addition to diet I also committed that I would get more exercise.  I began by walking more.  Instead of driving the car to the mailbox I would make myself walk – even if I didn’t want to.  I would park a little further away at the store to make myself walk more.  Things were going well, but I needed a regular exercise routine that I could stick with.  I wanted to increase my strength and fitness.   A good friend of mine saw the progress I was making and told me I should go workout with him.  He went to CrossFit 7220.  I had heard of CrossFit, but had no real idea what it was.  I was unsure, but I decided to give it a try after I learned they offer a beginning foundations class for those new to CrossFit.

I was scared and intimidated when I first came to CrossFit 7220.  I hadn’t exercised in almost 20 years, and I had no idea what I had signed up for.  I fell trying to do an air squat my very first day, but I got back up and tried again with some tips from the instructor.  I knew to succeed I had to come back, so I did.  I kept coming back and eventually the foundations class ended, and I had survived.  Almost as intimidating as starting the foundations class was signing up for a regular CrossFit class full of people who knew what they were doing.  Sure I had a month of training, but I didn’t know all the terminology, lifts, and exercises I might be asked to do.  Fortunately I didn’t have to know; I just had to make the effort and show up.  I decided I would go three days a week.  Like foundations, each class had an instructor who would explain the movements.  I had lots of questions about the movements, and how I could scale them for me.  The instructors never made me feel bad for not knowing a movement or term, and always offered suggestions and encouragement.  I continued to come and to improve.  I continued to lose weight and started to build strength.  What sold me on CrossFit 7220 was having instructor led classes with great instructors.  I didn’t have to plan out a workout routine and find a place in a gym to do it.  The routine was set for me, and all the equipment was ready.  I just had to show up and put in the effort.  That style was great for me.  I had one less thing to worry about with all the other changes I had going on.

It has been twenty months since I started my Journey to a healthier version of myself.  Through a new lifestyle of a healthy diet and regular exercise I have lost 213 pounds – more than half of my original body weight.  I no longer have Type II diabetes.  I no longer have high blood pressure.  I no longer have high cholesterol.  With the advice and consent of my doctors I am off of all of my previous medications.  This has been an incredible journey, but it is not over.  This wasn’t a diet and exercise plan to lose weight; it was a lifestyle change to be healthy that I intend to keep living.