This page is an archive to my articles for Oblique Magazine
I LOVE SHARING MY STORY!!
I thank John Di Giovanni, publisher, for this great opportunity and partnership.
July/Aug 2018 My Secret Weapon
I talk with people all the time about my weight loss and fitness journey. Most people will ask “was it diet
and exercise?” And, as I told you in the last issue, the secret to the fountain of youth is diet and exercise!
But, my journey’s secret weapon has almost nothing to do with diet and exercise!
The secret weapon is HAWK! I wake up to HAWK every day and use it as my guide. I knew
I needed something to keep my journey moving forward and help me rebound from bad days. Each
letter represents a key piece of my daily strategy. Why don’t I break it down for you?
The H is honesty! I’ve always considered myself an honest person. Unfortunately, I wasn’t honest with
myself when it came to my obesity, health, and wellness. I avoided and hid from the facts that were
staring me in the face. Now self-honesty, is a critical piece in my day. I wake up and
take a hard look at myself. I look at what I did well and not so well from the day before. I build on what
I’ve done well and figure out how to deal with what I’ve done not so well. Taking a hard look at myself in
the mirror each day is a challenging but necessary part to my continued success.
The A is all about attitude! Attitude can make you soar or crash. I knew that attitude would be critical to
any success I would experience on my journey. My daily attitude is a choice. Circumstances can change
each day: they can be great or they can be tough. My attitude is still a choice. I’ve volunteered with kids
with cancer for 32 years and have seen kids with the worst circumstances have the best
attitudes. Quite often their attitude is what gets them thru dealing with their horrible
circumstance. So, even though it has been tough at times, I know choosing a good attitude each day is
critical to staying on my journey. When I choose a good attitude each day the odds are I’m going to
make good choices. When I have a bad attitude during the day I know I often make bad choices. It’s that
The W is water! I knew from my early research that water was important. I learned that most adults need to drink ½ an ounce of water per pound of body weight. I run into people that say they can’t drink water or it’s hard to drink enough water each day. Well, it was no picnic for me either. I was drinking very little, if any, water. I was drinking sweet tea, sodas, and venti mochas that were loaded with sugar and junk. When I weighed 360 pounds, to get that half ounce of water per pound each day, I had to start with at least a 20 ounce glass of H2O first thing each morning. I kept a glass on the counter to remind me. Now I keep bottles of water staged to make sure I do not come up short!
Finally there’s K which stands for KISS! KISS guided me in business and other areas of my life and
helped me to find success every time. When I was 23 years old I had a long conversation with my dad
about a management theory class I was taking. We talked about the course, my job in management,
and real world application. I wanted to prove my professor wrong on some things. As I walked to the
door to leave, my dad said “Just remember one thing, ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’.” I paused for a second
and said, “I get it”. I used KISS throughout my career and it never failed me. I use it each and everyday
now to deal with my journey!
I’ve found it important to have something to guide me each day. I use HAWK. What do you use to
find success every day?
Continue to join me on my journey each issue!
You can also contact Mike @ 843.637.0723
May/June 2018 I Found The Fountain of Youth!
I found the Fountain of Youth! No really, I did find it.
You see, in 2009 I was quite old. Weighing 360 pounds did a lot to make me old. I was on medications for sleep, high blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, pain, migraines and allergies. I used a CPAP machine at night to help me breathe. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I accepted the fact that I was old and unable to do things I liked to do. Riding a bike or going with Polly on a walk were out of the question. I was 52 going on 92.
Then I found my journey, the journey that would save and change my life. Losing 150 pounds in 2010, started turning back the clock. I realized I didn’t have to accept feeling bad and getting old long before my time. Feeling my body gain flexibility, strength, and energy became my norm.
And the secret to the fountain of youth is eating smart and moving more! It’s that simple. Notice I didn’t say it was easy, just simple! Of course, I had to get my head and heart in the game to move my journey to health and wellness along. I needed them to work the plan and stay committed. Looking at food as fuel and exercise as energy to improve my body was a big part of getting younger.
Realizing food is the fuel for my body was a big deal. I know some of you are going, well duh, you didn’t know that? At 360 pounds, I did not try to know or understand that food is fuel. I put all kinds of junk in me that made me feel like crap. Sugar, salt, and high calorie drinks all in excess. As I look back, I’m surprised my body operated at all. I got very comfortable with my body being a clunker!
As I started fueling my body with better nutrition on a regular schedule, I started feeling darn good. As the crap fuel funneled out of my system and the good fuel took over I felt amazing. Yes, I did slip some crap food in occasionally, but I paid attention to how I felt afterwards and focused on how I wanted to feel and live.
And I do want to live! I want to live a long life that has the quality I deserve built into it.
In 2010, as my nutrition improved, so did my activity level and workouts. I wanted to ‘move more’! I thought to myself, you are not a sloth anymore. I wanted to be fit, I wanted to be a beast about taking care of my body. I needed to be a beast about taking care of me because I’m worth it.
How much have I really moved the needle? I’ve done a few online life expectancy calculations over the past 8 years. My life expectancy in 2009 at my heavy weight was 64. That number was scary to see. As I am now approaching my 62nd birthday, my life expectancy is about 96 based on my current life style and goals. Hmmm, would you want to add 32 years to your life? Let’s come back to that!
The other piece is quality of life. That is harder to measure but a definite part of my equation. Look at pictures of me now and multiply the difference you see by four and that’s how much better I feel as opposed to 150 pounds ago. I feel fantastic!
As you think about getting into that swim suit for summer, think about something else. If investing an hour, a day could gain you a year of quality life, would you do it? It’s easy math: a 24 to 1 return on investment! If it were money, you’d do it! What’s your wellness worth? My wellness is priceless!
I’ve found the fountain of youth and I plan to hang onto it the rest of my life!
Continue to join me on my journey each issue!
You can also contact Mike @ 843.637.0723
Jan/Feb 2018 How Did I Get So Fat?
5 years ago, I was speaking to my sister in-laws first grade class about my journey. I kept the talk short and showed them my ‘fat pants’. Being first graders, every one of them except one stopped me during my talk to make a statement or ask a question. I had no problem with this as, well, they were first graders! At the end I asked if there were any questions. Every child raised their hand. So, what did I do? I chose the young boy in the back that had not said a thing during my talk. He timidly stood and proceeded to blurt out in a very loud voice, “How did you get so fat?!”
The kids laughed, and my sister in-law was mortified. Kids always ask tougher questions than adults. I assured my sister in-law it was fine and proceeded to answer the question.
Getting as fat as I became took concentrated (or not so concentrated) effort over 53 years. I did everything wrong when it came to healthy lifestyle habits. If you need a book on how not to live a healthy fit life, I am an expert!
It started with my addictive personality. I found myself in two deep holes during my twenties. I struggled with cigarette and alcohol addiction. In 1984 after hitting bottom, I became a very grateful recovering alcoholic. In 1986, I stopped smoking cigarettes and have not had one since. I knew at this point I had an addictive personality. But, I made the most insane mental statement to myself I could have ever made. I thought to myself, “You can quit drinking, quit smoking, but you can’t quit eating!”
Pretty insane statement to make when you’ve struggled with weight all your life. That one statement was on a loop in my head for 23 years! Yes, the definition of insanity. I was also a stress eater, convenience eater, did not exercise regularly, and was a person that would do everything to help others while not taking care of himself.
I did everything wrong when it comes to lifestyle. I yo-yo dieted going down some and up even more. Fast food restaurants and all you can eat buffets were great friends of mine. Any sort of sugar was just fine with me. Ice cream? I’ll take a half gallon! Bag of candy…. can I have that in family size? Sodas, venti mochas, and chocolate malts? Yes, yes, and yes.
There were things I didn’t do, too. I did not drink water, did not eat breakfast, did not look in the mirror, and did not stop to think about what I was doing to me. I did not do anything to take care of me or learn to live a healthy fit lifestyle. I was a mess by the time 2009 rolled around.
Now I am scared. Scared for our state and country. I look at our country and think, ‘how did you get so fat? How did we dig such a deep hole filled with obese and overweight people? How did we get so fat?’
I know there are many reasons to make unhealthy choices and many things to blame for our obesity epidemic. There are also many organizations and people working to make the healthy choices easier. As I say to my friends all the time, there are many organizations paving highways for people out of obesity, out of an unhealthy lifestyle, and toward wellness and fitness. Unfortunately, I do not see many people taking those highways! There are no traffic jams on the highways to health and wellness!
So, the question I pose to you is, “What gets you to take those highways? What gets you to make healthier choices? Is your WHY big enough to overcome your circumstances?”
I was once where you are now. I was once Hopeless. Now I am Amazed at how I feel. I wish I could truly have you feel the difference I have made in my life. I want you to feel the difference; live the difference.
As this New Year starts, commit to taking care of you. No excuses!
You can also contact Mike @ 843.637.0723
Nov/Dec 2017 Are You Fed Up?
Are You Fed Up?Well, ARE YOU FED UP? Or are you just going to keep feeding yourself bad food, bad vibes, bad decisions, and bad lifestyle habits UNTIL…………. well that’s the big question! Until you are on 7 meds and a CPAP machine. Until you can’t fit into a theater or airplane seat. Until you can’t go up a flight of stairs. Until you can’t enjoy anything in life without thinking of your weight, your size, and how bad you feel. All the above was me in 2009. I was living a miserable existence and had come to accept it. I had come to accept something that I would not accept for you or anyone else.
But, I have been blessed to have found my journey, lost 150 pounds in a year, and I am healthier and fitter at 61 than I have ever been in my life!
If any of the above statements struck a nerve with you, then you need to see the journey I’ve traveled. You need to travel the journey with me as I do a series of articles over the coming year. I’ll tell you about my weight loss journey and how I changed my life. I’ll tell you about the good and bad, the highs and lows. I’ll tell you how to start YOUR journey to health, wellness, and fitness. I want you to travel the journey with me! I want YOU to know YOU CAN change your weight, fitness, and wellness!
This series is not for the person looking to lose 5 pounds to get into that bathing suit for summer or that tuxedo for the holidays! This series is for YOU, yes you, the person that is FED UP with your present lifestyle. The person that wants to change but can’t see a way out, a way to change. I want you to know there are many more stories just like yours and mine. AND, I would like you to be one of the stories that changes their life today. I want you to commit, learn, and move toward finding a healthier, fitter you. I want you to “Take Care of YOU”!
So, at this point your probably saying, “Who is this guy?” I’m a recovering fat guy. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life and learned to manage it just in the last 8 years. I was a chubby child that was a little out of bounds at times. As an adult, I was far out of bounds and saw my weight go up and down over a 29-year career in Ops Management with the SC Ports Authority. I left the Ports in December 2004 to work to save the local Boys & Girls Clubs. I saw my weight go from 300 to 360 pounds over 3 ½ years and my lifestyle habits went down the tubes. I was in a bad place then.
Yes, I know, next question is “Why do I care so much about you changing your life?” I care because I did the research when I was losing my weight and know there is over a third (118,000,000 people) of our country struggling with obesity and another third that is over-weight and headed toward obesity. Also, I’ve talked with many large and small groups of people about my journey. After every speaking engagement, I’ve had people come to me that seemed hopeless and unable to start their journey to lose weight and improve their life. Each time it hurt my heart and took a little chunk out of me. I see my past self in them and I know the hopeless struggle.
Well, now I’m on a mission. I want to reach as many people as possible to let them know they CAN change their life. I want them to know how deep a hole I was in and how far I’ve come and that they can do it, too! More importantly, I want YOU to know YOU can change your life. I know YOU are sitting there thinking, “not me”. And I am saying, “YES YOU!” Let’s do it and do it NOW. I’d love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check my website – fatguydiary.com
Next Issue: How did you get SOOOO fat?