Frustrated, Angry, Confused?

I've been there....

Frustrated, Angry, Confused? I was.

Two things happened today that really hit home with me. First, I had a friend post that Americans spend $65 billion a year on the weight loss industry, despite a 95% failure rate. Second, I invested a hour coaching someone today that was frustrated, angry, and confused!

I get it because I’ve been there. The frustration and anger, with a dose of confusion, I saw today is all too common. Today was a prime example of what happens to people. My client has tried multiple programs seen success to some level on each and then returned to old habits. His level of anger, frustration, and confusion stemmed from the fact that he is very successful in his career and life overall.  He is able to multitask and accomplish many things in life. He is extremely frustrated because he can’t make this lifestyle change work. He wants his habits to change now, but is not ready to stick with new lifestyle habits more than a few days or a week to get where he wants to go.

I know this situation and lived it. I’m great at helping others, was great at helping two organizations find success, love helping my church, and enjoy volunteering to help local nonprofits and schools. I was not great at taking care of me! I saw this level of frustration in me and see it when I speak to groups, have one on one discussions, and in the media.

I can help, I know I can help! I have the programs and have traveled the journey. I know what it is like to fall and keep getting up each time I fall. BUT, this comes down to one thing. That one thing is YOU! Are YOU ready to change? Just how committed are YOU to changing on a scale from 1-10? What is your WHY for changing? Is your WHY important enough to YOU to stay committed to your lifestyle change?

As my client and I parted, I told him to Keep it Simple, not to beat himself up anymore, and not to think about cheat days or anything else till we got his habits working. He promised to follow our plan through Sunday and then we will regroup!

My advice to you is don’t beat yourself up anymore, and commit today to your journey. Always get up right away when you fall. Keep things as simple as possible to change your lifestyle habits. AND, if you are committed and ready, contact me and let’s get you in a healthy lifestyle. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!

Note to ME and YOU: We are worth the effort. And always, Take Care of YOU!

holess to amazed pic

Who’s Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Journey?

It happens!

Who’s sabotaging your weight loss journey? I have had many major changes in my life and had saboteurs step in on each decision and each journey to improve my life.

I first recognized this behavior in 1984. I had battled with alcohol for about 10 years and finally made the decision that I was an alcoholic and I would stop drinking that day, the last day of March 1984. I have not had a drink every day since then. When I stopped, I felt free, happy, and positive. It did not take long for me to realize many of my friends and some relatives became saboteurs. “You don’t have a problem Mike. You can handle your alcohol. You can have just one drink with us!”  They did not truly respect or understand the decision I had to make and some were concerned that if I owned up to my problem, what about them? Many of these friends disappeared over several weeks of seeing me pursue a better life for me!

Weight loss has been a very similar situation. I have gotten to see a lot more saboteurs here because I have not only changed myself, I have worked with many people on their weight loss goals and journey. There were many different types of saboteurs. My mom loved me very much, but never saw me as a fat guy, even at 360 pounds! She always wanted to feed me, even when I was losing 150 pounds in 2009. She had not ill intent, she just loved me and her habit was to have food available for me, my 4 brothers, and their families every time we went to her house. And no, it was not a healthy option! Tasty, but not healthy!

Other saboteurs I have seen were in the misery enjoys company category. I was coaching a good friend of mine that was off to a great start with my nutrition program, coaching and support. She started posting on Facebook. Some people were happy, some congratulated her, some were curious, but one was her kiss of death. One woman that knew her posted she didn’t need to change, nothing would help her, and she should be happy with where she was. The comment had a little more content than this, but this was the gist of it. This one negative comment by a friend that was living an unhealthy lifestyle was enough to cause the woman I was coaching to abandon her journey.

I’ve see relatives, spouses, friends, and even random people on social media sabotage someone’s weight loss journey. Typically, people don’t want us to change our relationship with them when we work to improve ourselves. They drag us back out of love, fear, jealousy, and misery.

But, there is one saboteur I have not talked about. The biggest saboteur to MY journey is ME!  The biggest saboteur to YOUR journey is YOU! You see, we allow others to steer us away from our goals, our dreams, and our journey. At the end of the day it is our choice and our decision. True friends will support your journey. Loving family will begin to understand as you become the person you want to be. YOU ARE IN CONTROL! Don’t be your own saboteur!

If your friends are sabotaging your weight loss journey, find ones that will support it. Heck contact me, I’ll support it ?


Mike, TheFatGuy


Perfect, Not Perfect!

Which is it?

Many people talk to me and assume my transformation has been some sort of a ‘perfect’ journey to losing 150 plus pounds and becoming fitter at 61 than any time in my life. People I coach, people I talk to about coaching, and just a casual conversation can center around people thinking that they have to travel a ‘perfect’ journey to reach their weight loss or fitness goals. Sometimes I can see them searching for the ‘perfect’ answer to a question I ask or ask me a question wanting to find the ‘perfect’ path to reach their goals.

Bad news, it is not about perfect!! It’s not about a straight line to success. It’s not about what someone else does or does not do. Journeys hit bumps and go well and not so well. Journeys will go up, down, sideways, and spin you around!

Now for the great news! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO REACH YOUR GOALS! Sorry for shouting. I did not travel a straight line. I hit bumps, I swerved a little, I had good days, and I had bad days. But, I lost 150 pounds in 363 days!

How? I fully committed to  the journey from the start. I documented my strategy and worked toward a plan. I researched and learned how to change. And I focused on my WHY! I needed to Take Care of ME so I could be the best me for my family, friends, and community. I needed to climb out of the deep dark hole I had been digging for far to long! My why was strong. I was and am committed to my journey.

It really is about how you travel the journey. Are you committed to your journey? Do you have a plan? Is your why strong enough to overcome the tough days and the bumps in the road?

If you are committed and believe, if you have a plan, and, most importantly, if your WHY is important enough to  you; you can work through every bad day and get over every bump in the road to continue on your journey.

It ain’t about PERFECT, it’s about getting there no matter what!

Note to ME and YOU: Perfect is when you can see your goal in sight and you start looking for the next goal! That is when you know your journey is PERFECT!




perfect not perfect


YOU are a product of YOUR Decisions!


I did a Facebook post the other day about Managing Circumstances! In this picture you will see me icing my neck and shoulder. They are the result of a car accident 2 years ago and a very long story. When I made the post, I was not expecting prayers and good thoughts, but I thank everyone for them! icing postMy focus was my circumstance and dealing with it. You see many times in life I have given into my circumstance. I know it is a road many of us go down in our life. Circumstances can often be overwhelming.

At this point I would like to bring your focus to some of the inspiration I have in my life that teach me how to deal with tough circumstances. First, my dad is a great inspiration to me. He lost his partner in life (my mom) after 60 years just 2 short years ago. It is a very difficult circumstance. I know his heart hurts every day from the loss, I see it. How does he deal with it? He relies on prayer, God, family, and love. He is the best dad and granddad I know.

Another person is a good friend of mine. He is caring for his mom and mother in-law. He is raising a lovely teenager, works in the community, helps others, and works to share time with his wonderful wife. And, did I mention, he has dealt with retinoblastoma and the after effects of managing that horrible disease. He does an amazing job managing his ‘circumstances’! You will not know his circumstances because he rarely shares them outside of a select group, but he is amazing.

Then there is an entire group of people that are game changers for me. I’ve been watching, loving, and been part of the lives on countless children and teens over the past 31 years. The wonderful young people of Camp Kemo are all dealing with some form of cancer or blood disorder. Camp Kemo bannerThey are dealing with ‘circumstances’ I wish on no young person. They are dealing with hospital visits, all kinds of treatment, weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, changing relationships with their peers that have no idea how to deal with them and their disease, and yes, death. They are traveling a very tough road with tough ‘circumstances’. And how do they deal with their circumstances? They laugh, smile, cheer for one another, share, care, dance, cry, hug, and overcome. I have watched them overcome their ‘circumstances’ for many years.

These young people, my friend, my dad, and many others in life have taught me that circumstances do not define the person. Circumstances can be tough, they put much pressure on people in their life’s journey. I am thankful that I have many examples of people in my life that have seen the tremendous pressure of ‘circumstances’. How they have managed their circumstances and dealt with the pressure has created many jewels for me to look to for hope and guidance in dealing with my circumstances.

I never question or compare people’s circumstances. What I do know is I have many examples of people in my life that have managed and overcome some circumstances that seemed impossible to work through. They were steering at a solid wall of circumstances and brick by brick removed the wall to continue on an even greater journey.

Note to ME and YOU:

Your circumstances are not YOU!

YOU are a product of YOUR Decisions!




Open Letter to Starbucks

Could you send some lifeboats?

Open Letter to Starbucks

Could you send some lifeboats?

Dear Starbucks:

I love having coffee, an occasional sugar free light treat, working, and people watching at your stores. In full disclosure, I am a recovering “fat guy” or TheFatGuy, as I say.

This morning I witnessed several parents giving their kids sweet treats as breakfast! I know this is their choice but it is hard to watch with the obesity epidemic I am oh so much a part of in this country. I was offered a “healthy version” of your new Frap, The Midnight Mocha Madness. When I took a sip of the sample, I asked what made this shot ‘healthy’? “Oh, it doesn’t have whip!” was the explanation I received.  Ummm, I think not!

Yesterday I saw a first grader I know with his grandmother in Starbucks. This first grader happens to be a Type 1 Diabetic. His grandmother explained what she went through to come up with a healthy, no carb version of a treat for her very special grandson. She had goosebumps just talking about it. She had done an amazing job researching and putting together a concoction that turned out to be quite good and shake like! BUT, she had to be extremely specific and watchful as the treat was assembled to make sure there were no added carbs.

I don’t tell you this to demonize your company or place blame on you for the obesity epidemic in our country. There is a lot of blame to go around. I made bad choices when I weighed 360 pounds that got me to that weight and kept me there. I used to drink 2 to 3 venti mochas a day! That is about 900 to 1350 calories a day with 90 to 135 grams of sugar. I made that choice and I am responsible for the 360 pounds I carried.

I also know you market what people buy. You would not have all of the, let’s say sugary crap, available unless people were buying it! I get it. When I am standing in line behind children with mother’s and father’s in the morning at Starbucks all of the ‘sweet treats’ are eye level with the little darlings in line! HMMM, I wonder what they will ask for?! It does not take a marketing department to answer this question.

I’ll admit, it is kind of odd working in Starbucks and writing about Starbucks, but I am sure you will be fine with this feedback and my thoughts. You have a huge R & D team (200 plus according to your website) that works on developing your food and beverage items. I know you have sugar free this and light that for choices. I know you promote yourself as a responsible company, offering Kale chips, etc.

Knowing all of this and watching the choices being made by our youth, I was wondering if maybe you could invest some major dollars in a “Healthy Campaign” targeted at young people!  Reach out to schools, promote healthy choices to kids, impact the next generation in a truly positive and healthy way. I’ll bet the profits would see a short term and long term boost!

Maybe take the dollars you use to promote drinks like the Unicorn Frap (76 grams of sugar in a Venti) and invest some in a healthy campaign. Have a contest where people come up with healthy drink ideas. Invite the grandmother and mom of the young Type 1 Diabetic I know to give their input. Maybe you will even help turn around the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetics. Just my thoughts.

As you can tell, I am quite passionate about bringing attention to our obesity epidemic and the health issues it creates for so many people in our country. Roughly one third of our country is obese with two thirds being overweight. As I said earlier, I know people make choices, I made bad choices. Now I make good choices!!

I am 61 and as healthy as I have ever been in my life! I am 150 pounds lighter, fit, off of 7 medications, and have ditched my CPAP machine! That is the short version of my change. I want everyone to experience the type of health and wellness I have attained. Could you help me? Could you be a little more of the solution and a little less of the problem? Could you make a difference now and in the future? What a statement you could make if you were able to impact the lives of young people in way that improved the lives, health, and wellness of an entire generation!

I know all companies have some sort of look toward healthier choices. Some are giving it lip service, some are marketing healthy that is not so healthy, and some are ‘trying’ to make a difference. But, I know that marketing departments are looking at marketing to the two thirds of the population that is overweight already. It does not take a genius to know companies are in business to make money!

The obesity epidemic is like the Titanic. We have not only hit the iceberg, we are hitting it repeatedly and sinking very fast. Could you and some of the other leading companies in our country send some lifeboats to save some of the children!?

Note to ME and YOU: It is going to take more than a village to combat the obesity epidemic.


Mike Campbell

61 and not close to DONE!!

Pay It Forward Today!!

61 and not close to DONE!!

(Pay It Forward Today!!)

Today I am 61 and I am not close to done. 8 years ago I thought I was done. I was old, unhealthy, obese, and generally miserable.

Today I am blessed.

  • I am blessed to be fit!
  • I am blessed to continue on my journey in spite of 2 years of working to manage pain.
  • I am blessed to be as healthy as I’ve been in my life!
  • I am blessed to have a second chance! (it’s probably a lot more than second!)
  • I am blessed to be helping others find their weight loss and wellness journeys!
  • I am just plain BLESSED!

The feeling of having released 150 pounds 7 years ago is amazing. Losing it and learning to manage my weight, health, and wellness has been a great experience and one I will embrace the rest of my life. What is hard to convey to you is just how much my quality of life has changed. The best way I can explain it is to take a look at my before and after pics, multiply by 4 and that is how much better I feel! That is how much my quality of life has improved!

I work to let people know just how much I have changed. I work to let people know they can change too! Sometimes when you are struggling with weight and its effects on your life, you just don’t think you can make the change; you just feel hopeless. I promise you, I felt hopeless at 360 pounds and now I feel amazed. I know if I can do it, if I can commit to the journey, that you can do it too!

If I can help you, please let me know. You can HELP ME! Check out my Facebook page and Pay It Forward today. That is all I want for my birthday. All I want is for people to do at least one random act of kindness and Comment Done on my Facebook post.

Note to ME and YOU: You can always change. There is always hope to change. There is no time like NOW!    Also, a random act of kindness will help you more than the person you help J





which one is the old guy

A message from my wife about my obesity

Just how big are you going to get…

Below is a message from my wonderful wife, Polly, which is the lead into my story which I give away on my website. It will give you a small idea of how my obesity impacted the love of my life.

A message from TheFatGuy’s wife, POLLY:

Just how big are you going to get…

After Michael left his non-profit job, he just sat around getting bigger and bigger and more and more depressed. He was struggling with ending a dream of working with a children’s non-profit and it was killing him. He was also struggling with how he would start over as a 360+ pound, 50+ year old man in a society that is so geared to the young and pretty.

He self-medicated with food…all kinds of food: ice cream, candy, chips, soda. And he often ate after eating. Remember the pre-barbecue scene in Gone With the Wind where Scarlett had to eat before the party so she ate like a lady at the party? Well, Michael would leave a family reunion where there was tons of food and he had eaten a huge meal and stop at the convenience store for candy and a coke to make the trip home. And not just one item but several: junior mints, Mike and Ikes, jelly beans, milk duds.

Or he would buy a 100 count box of Freeze Pops and bring 6 or 8 to bed and eat them while we were watching TV. And I would cringe as he ate them and I would feel pissed when I threw the wrappers in the trash. But I never said anything because we didn’t discuss the elephant in the room. I remember feeling desperate and angry.

At one point, I became overwhelmed and frustrated with his self destructive behavior. I remember going to work one morning and telling my friend Missee, “I’m going to ask Michael, “Just how big are you going to get?” Her eyes got really big and she said, “Maybe you should put that in a letter.”

Well, I never wrote the letter or had the conversation, but my vibe must have been strong…because in early March of 2009, Michael started on a health journey that continues to this day.

 (Note: TheFatGuy was dramatically impacting the person HE loved most!)

From Hopeless to Amazed

8 Years on My Journey and still going strong!

8 Years ago today I started my journey from Hopeless to Amazed. I was at the bottom of a very deep hole and could not find my way to climb out of that hole then. And now, well now, I’m amazed!

Prior to March 2, 2009 I had run out of hope that I could change my life. Hope that I could shed the tonnage, improve my health, rid myself of 7 medications and a CPAP machine, feel better, improve my quality of life, and just plain live happier. I was in a very dark place.FAT GUY PIC FEB 2009

What happened? I had that AHA moment where you realize something needs to be done, has to be done to change your course. The main part of the AHA moment was the story my wife told me about the most important person in a burning building. She told me about being asked the question “who is the most important person in the fire?”, while she was at a Community Response meeting in February 2009. She came home to tell me the story and what she learned. She learned she was the most important person in the fire because if she could not found her way out of the fire, she could not help anyone else. It was and is that simple.

So what did I learn from the fire story? After 3 weeks of this story bouncing around in my head, I woke up on March 2, 2009 and realized I was in my own personal fire. I could not escape the fire of obesity! If I was ever going to help anyone in my life again, I was going to have to find my way ‘Out of the Fire’!  That day I realized I had to do something. So I proceeded to start a spreadsheet to develop and track my path ‘out of the fire’.

Along the journey I have been able to do things I never thought possible. I have been able to shed 7 medications and a CPAP machine that maintained what I thought was quality of life. I have been able to move more, walk more, exercise more, do 1,000 push-ups, and climb the stands at Stoney Field 150 straight times (17 bleachers up and 34 steps down). And more than special to me, has been the fact that I am able to help others find their way ‘out of the fire’! steps at stoney by David Quick_5

So now, now I am amazed! I look back now and realize just how bad I felt and just how deep of a hole I was in March 2009. I am amazed I found my way ‘out of the fire’! I am also very blessed!i-am-blessed





Note to ME and YOU: It’s a Journey! Get on your path ‘out of the fire’ and AMAZE Yourself!






I was struck yesterday by the thought of just how blessed I am in life. I know I am blessed and I thank God daily for my blessings.

What was different about yesterday? Why did it ‘strike’ me suddenly? I have seen a number of my contemporaries pass over the last few years and in particular this year. Some were friends, some friends of friends, past co-workers, friends of my wife, some family (my brother in-law) and parents of younger friends/relatives. It all seemed to come together as I looked at that old picture of me at 360 pounds (the one I keep to remind me of where I was, and where I will not go back to) and thought of a cousin that lost her dad several years ago.


I don’t know why my mind works the way it does, but a wave of thoughts and emotion came across me. I thought about how bad a shape I was in at 53 years old. I thought about how many people I’ve known in my age range that I/we have lost recently and over the years since finding my journey. I thought about my younger cousin and other younger friends I know that have lost parents that are my age. I thought about life, problems, pettiness, and sadness. We get so caught up in the small things in life that we do not enjoy the people we have when we have them.

The emotion that came crashing down on me was focused around the realization that I could be gone now, that I would be gone now if not for that moment of clarity in 2009, that AHA moment created by the Fire Story my wife told me. How lucky was I? Why me? And then I thought about those younger people that lost their parents much too soon. They were my age and I don’t think of my age as old. Why them? Why have we lost them so soon?

I caught my breath, sat there, and thought for a moment. I thought ‘I AM BLESSED’. Then I thanked God for my blessings and prayed for those that passed much too soon and those they left behind.

I also thought about how I was on my way out in 2009 and how I am nowhere near that now.  I was able to start my journey to healthier happier me. I was able to control my destiny. How many people get that opportunity? How many people think they are done when they may be able to change their present and future? I meet people every day that could gain that control. They feel too far gone or hopeless, but they are not. I pray these people find their moment of clarity and realize they can change and can create a journey to a healthier happier you. I know this is true because I was them in 2009. I was too far gone and hopeless. I AM TRULY BLESSED.

If I can help YOU, let me know.

Note to ME and YOU: Pray for that moment of clarity, that AHA Moment, that gets you to the healthier happier you.  I pray daily for this for ME and YOU.




Planning for your EATING EVENTS

I can't believe I ate the whole thing....

I celebrated at a family reunion on my wife’s side of the family last weekend. Enjoying good times with great people is something TheFatGuy loves. But, TheFatGuy loves to eat too much at food events!

As with most people, TheFatGuy has many events centered around EATING EVENTS! These EVENTS include, reunions, family meals after Sunday mass, holiday gatherings, business events, volunteer events, and soooo much more J

SO, TheFatGuy thought he would throw together some tips to help him and you to stay on track at these EATFESTS:

  • Wateris always at the top of TheFatGuy’s list: start your day with plenty of water and keep it up. Drink at least a 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight and go up form there if you are out in the heat. Drink a big glass of water before you eat and drink water with your meal. I drank a liter of water pre-reunion and one during the reunion meal this past weekend. And remember, don’t drink your calories if you can avoid it!
  • Bread, Chips, and such– These offer little true satisfaction. Refined carbohydrates will spike your insulin and have lots of calories. Choose to avoid or limit this category at your celebration.
  • What to eat first– eating salad and veggies first will help you feel full sooner. This is a tough one for TheFatGuy as he loves to go for the ribs, mac & cheese, fried chicken…… first!
  • Small plates/eat slow– these 2 strategies can help you cut your caloric intake tremendously. Studies have shown that smaller plates and utensils do help cut intake. Taking your plate away from the serving area to eat slow and mingle with family and friends will help you, also. Enjoy the special time sharing stories with family and friends while taking your eye off of the food table!
  • Desserts/refined sugar–  This again is a tough one for TheFatGuy. If at all possible, keep your dessert size small and MOVE AWAY FROM THE DESSERT TABLE! Use moderation here. AND, because TheFatGuy has a lot of problems with moderation, he will may not be eating sugar at all. He gave up sugar the year he lost 150 pounds. His ‘all or nothing’ thought process does not work well with doing sugar in ‘moderation’. Being aware of this is the first step to dealing with a strategy to manage it.
  • Everything else– Try to get your joy for the day from everything the day has to offer other than food. Enjoy your family, friends, the celebration, the games, the atmosphere and soak it all in without soaking in the calories. We, that have the control issues around food, have a tendency to make the eating the focus! Breathe in everything else and enjoy it!


Basically, it all comes down to choices and knowing yourself. So to make it easier, make a plan now and structure your plan and choices now for that big eating event.  Have a great time knowing you have a plan.

TheFatGuy says, DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! And remember, your alcohol drinks have calories!


Note to ME and YOU: Enjoy your day, family, friends and life with a plan that works for YOU!