Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.
Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.
I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.
My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business.
I have a friend who is a big history buff and really loves ancient Rome. He tries to even work some of their culture into his daily life.
For example, we went out for drinks the other day and the bartender asked him what he’d like to have. He held up two fingers and said “five beers please.”
Like any other amuse bouche, you may have hated it, but it was worth every penny that you paid for it, right?
Four years ago this week, I had some decisions to make. Was I going to keep on the current course of my life which included obesity, low self-confidence and likely face the same early death as my father? Or was I going to choose a different path?
This week marks the four-year anniversary of when I chose a different path. I chose to change my life. I set a goal to lose over one hundred pounds in under a year. And then I was more successful than I thought possible and changed much more than just the number on the scale.
Instead of writing a recap of where I was four years ago, I thought I would share an excerpt from my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-changing Project Management to Lose over 100 Pounds in Under a Year. This excerpt is about my “moment,” that time when everything changed.
I was ignoring all the signs that I had a problem. I would get winded when walking up a single flight of stairs. I would sweat all the time in the summer and was absolutely miserable when it was hot out. I was snoring every night and I don’t know how my wife could get any sleep. I would perpetually order meat-heavy dishes at restaurants and could always eat more – and often did. Having a very small statured wife who fills up quickly at meals often meant that I would finish what she didn’t eat in addition to my own meal. Plus, I drank too much in both quantity and frequency.
I could only shop at big and tall stores and had very few clothing options. Then every couple of years, I would have to buy bigger clothes or at least ones that were the same size but fit looser. In June of 2017, I was a size 52 waist and wore a size 3XL. I was starting to find lots of 3XL clothes that weren’t fitting.
Even worse, I hated how I looked when I looked in the mirror and in photos. I was way too big and I just assumed that I would be for the rest of my life. I was happy in most other aspects of my life, so I pretty much ignored my health. Here is an example of what I saw in photos and in the mirror that I hated so much.
Beyond ignoring my health, I would make jokes about the severity. I would talk about the fact that my dad died at 59 and his mother at 63 and would tell Liz that she should plan for her second husband now. I would say things like, “I am overweight, eat like crap, don’t exercise, drink and have a high stress job, so I am on the right path!” It was mostly a joke, but there was some seriousness built into it for sure.
The situation was terrible, irresponsible and getting worse, but I wasn’t ready to turn it around. Then I turned 40 and it started to dawn on me that this was really not heading a good direction. It really started to hit me that I was in the last 20 years of my life if I go the same way as my dad and grandmother.
To this point, this is just background information and the series of events that started to set the stage for my moment. This is the 40 years of bad choices that led me to my moment in June of 2017.
My actual moment all started with one Friday night of bad decisions. I had a very draining week of job-related stress and failures. So I decided to meet Liz and some friends after work for a happy hour. We went to one of our favorite bars, and I had a few cocktails while there. Then we went to another favorite restaurant, and I had a
“few more cocktails. Then we went to a third restaurant and had dinner and another cocktail. I knew I had drank a bit too much, but didn’t think it was anything over-the-top by any means. I went home and went to bed as per usual.
The morning after this marathon drinking and eating night was terrible! I woke up with the worst hangover of my life. The hangover was far worse than anything I had ever experienced even on those rare times where I consumed way more alcohol. It was this moment when a classic lyric from a Hank Williams, Jr. song really resonated.
“The hangovers hurt more than they used to…”
I don’t know if this was a side-effect of getting older, but it was bad and a bit frightening.
Making the fear factor worse was the prolonged impacts of the bad choices. Yes, the hangover was mostly gone by that evening, but not entirely. I still had some lingering digestive issues for a few days afterwards and it took a while to get back to normal. So, I decided to do something I hadn’t done since 2001, I made an appointment to see a doctor!
I walked into my first doctor’s appointment in over 15 years on the morning of June 15, 2017. I sat in the waiting room and nervously completed my paperwork. This was the first of many sobering moments that day. My answers on the health questionnaires painted a very bad picture that I had never seen all in one place before. Yikes!
The nurse called me back for my exam and the first stop was at the scale. I stepped on the scale and expected to be somewhere between 300 and 305 pounds — and this would have been disappointing. I stepped on the scale and saw a number I never would have expected — 325 pounds! I was devastated when I saw that. But, little did I know, the bad news was just starting.
I went into the exam room with the nurse, and she asked me the standard set of questions. Many of my answers echoed what was on the forms that I had filled out. Again, came so much disappointment in myself.
Then the doctor came in and did his exam. We discussed a number of troubling things. He asked me about my nutrition. I said, “I don’t eat great, but it isn’t terrible.” Together we figured out that this was incorrect. I did have some terrible habits. He asked me about how much I drink, and we determined that I needed to reduce my consumption.
My doctor then asked me about stress from work and working hours. I told him that I didn’t know how many hours per week I worked because I intentionally stopped keeping track. He said, “Well, let’s add it up together. Walk me through your normal week.”
So, I recapped my normal work week including early morning emails and such before going into the office, my actual time in the office, lunches at my desk or in meetings, calls during my drive home and evening and weekend work at home. The doctor was diligently noting my answers as I was saying them and he quickly replied, “So you are working sixty or seventy hours per week?”
Are you kidding me, how am I working that much?!
Then he gave me the reality check. I really have to cut back on everything I am doing except for exercise. I need to increase exercise to more than zero. He told me what I already kind of knew but was avoiding, I was on a very disastrous path and needed to figure out how to make a change. Then he stole 6 vials of blood and scheduled a follow-up appointment in two weeks to get the results of bloodwork. Those results would include the moment of truth about whether or not I was showing signs of diabetes which runs in my family.
I walked out of the first appointment with my doctor very disappointed with myself. I was failing at my health! I was on a path towards the early death that I kept joking about. I had let myself get up to 325 pounds! I needed to make a change immediately and never look back. Plus, I didn’t have all the information yet because there was still bloodwork to get back.
And this was my moment! This is when I made the decision to take action and do something. I just needed to figure out what that something was.
Four Years Later
Just a few short years later lots has changed and life is quite different.
Through my weight loss, I lost 131 pounds and then put some back on through body-building, not mindless consumption and lack of exercise. I am in a new job that aligns well with my “What Do You Do” story which is that I help individuals and businesses achieve their most important goals. I have one published book and am on the cusp of an exciting announcement about what comes next. And the list of ways my already happy life has improved.
Most of all, along the way, I learned that goals are powerful and can change your life. I know that can do anything that I want to do and so can you. This is why I have become a certified coach. I want everybody to feel the sense of accomplishment that you get when you achieve a significant life goal.
Thank you for continuing to be a reader of my blog. Please join my email list. Let’s all work together to pursue our goals instead of letting them die of loneliness.
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