One year ago today, June 2nd, I started the FatMan Chronicles. There have been ups and downs because life. Overall, the personal growth is amazing and there is a lot more to come.
This blog started out with my origin story, the whys of what got me to this point in my life. Those stories are real and contribute to my weight and, more importantly, health issues. What has changed is my acceptance of my past and hope for the future. What I did yesterday does not define my tomorrow. The future is much brighter when you are not constantly living in the shadow of the past.
The two biggest changes are that I am listening more than ever and I accept that I need a community to help move forward. As much as I like to talk, and feel I know it all, this listening thing is a big deal.
There are two sayings that mean a lot more now – you were born with two ears and one mouth and ears don’t shut but mouths do. This means I ask more questions now and don’t just sit there waiting to jump in with my two cents. Well, normally I give at least a nickel. Often a dime. OK, a hundred bucks. But I’m working on it.
Also, experts come from places you’d least expect, or maybe just never looked. When you ask questions, listen, and relax, you’ll find that those around you may know way more than you ever thought possible. My brother and I talk about this often. I constantly listen to what he has to say about weight because he’s never had a weight problem. With over 40 years of weight maintenance under his not so ample belt, he’s an expert on the subject. Just because he doesn’t write a blog about it doesn’t make him any less qualified to lend advice. I may argue he is the ultimate expert on the subject. Since he has run over 25 marathons, I listen to him on this too. Not easy to listen to your little brother but it has served me well.
This dovetails right into my other epiphany – I need more like-minded people around me. Whether it is a couple of Gomers doing a podcast or the Sub-30 Club, I have to seek out people to help move my personal journey forward.
Asking for help has never been a strong suit. I’d rather ignore issues or work them out myself. Not the best approach. Now, I ask questions, seek advice, and maybe dish a little out because I’ve virtually surrounded myself with the right people. This extends into my physical life too as discussions with friends and family often come around to health, goals, and how to make life better.
This past Monday is a perfect example. We had a little food and wine with some great friends and the subject of heredity as a factor in weight came up. It was an awesome debate. The result? It motivated both my wife and me to start tracking our intake and move more. Regardless of who is right about the role of heredity versus effort, there is a positive result from the discussion. The fact that we were even talking about this stuff is crazy to me.
And then there is the Sub-30 Club. A podcast made me look them up and my life changed. The fact that Ted Spiker wrote a little blog post that started a movement that ended up impacting a fellow big guy five years later is a testament to the power of this group. I’ve met zero Sub-30 Club members in person yet they have already helped me through tough patches in my life. The notes of encouragement, the advice, the patience and thoughtfulness that this group extends to every member is nearly tear-inducing. They get it and I encourage all of you to join us. It is not about hitting a certain number on a time clock. It is about a community of support that will help propel you to places you never thought possible. And you will feel infinite love and support every step of the way.
With the support of this group, my friends, family, especially my wife and brother, I’ve accomplished a lot in the last year. Besides the personal growth, which is the most important to me, I’ve done a few more things.
I’ve lost weight. Most would say it isn’t much but not gaining weight year after year is a victory to me. I started at 225 and I’m 219 now. I’ve fluctuated, struggled, complained, almost cried, mostly yelled but weight is down. Victory.
Running is now a regular part of my life. It disappeared for a short time but Sub-30 helped get me back on track. I want to make a critical distinction here. Sub-30, along with my brother and wife, HELPED. Ultimately, I have to do the running so I am responsible. If Sub-30 stops talking to me, I would still run. It is easier to get motivated with them on my side. The village can make the movement easier but they cannot do it for you.
Speaking of running, I’ve completed two half-marathons and a 10K in the past year. I have another half-marathon slated for October where I have my first time goal. I want to beat my PR of 2:42. Going to be tough but I’m going for it. In the meantime, I plan to conquer my 5K PR as I work to the elusive sub-30.
That October race was on the calendar and paid for before I knew about Sub-30 so I’ll miss the big meet up that same weekend at the Runner’s World Festival. I plan to be there next year. Maybe I should have told my wife first before publishing this but she’ll understand and, I’m sure, will be there with me.
The future is going to be amazing. My plans include the running goals I’ve outlined, starting daily meditation (downloaded the app today), a new logo, and a podcast, all while being a father, husband, co-worker, friend, etc. The podcast is important to me and something I’ve talked about doing for years. Without this blog and your support, I wouldn’t have the confidence to do it. Look for it to launch in the next few months.
Finally, the biggest impact this blog has had is on the small community that has come together to read it. When I started it, I said if one person reads one entry and has a single moment of clarity that helps them, then it is worth writing. Selfishly, I needed that person to be me, and it has had a tremendous impact. But something much more happened.
I heard from people almost from the get go that connected with the struggle. Some people I knew and others I didn’t but we all had one thing in common – we wanted to conquer our weight issues to live healthy, happy, productive lives. This blog isn’t about having to lose weight. It is about life and all the challenges it presents. The words of support mean more than I can express in words. When my little blog impacts others, I’m overwhelmed and humbled. We truly are in this together, so thank you for reaching out.
One blog in particular resonated with people. The one about that Young, Fit Couple who decided to discuss what they thought of me when they believed I couldn’t hear. Thousands of people read this one and I heard from so many people. It changed how I look at myself and others. My judge-o-meter has gone way down. We all have to start (and re-start, and start again, and again) so only encouragement and, at times, tough love is necessary. Putting people down does not help, ever. Lift people up or get out of the way so we can show you what we are capable of. I forgive that couple, even for commenting on my potential parenting skills. It isn’t worth carrying the grudge because I’m still moving forward no matter what they think.
I celebrated the year anniversary of the FatMan Chronicles with a nice, easy 5K (screenshot of the run below). Day 5 of a run streak I’m doing with many others in the Sub-30 Club, and my wife. Get out there and move. Be better today than you were yesterday. Lift someone up, even if that person is you. My hashtags are #authentic and #IWFC. I mean them both. Thank you for your support and let’s make the next year the best ever, for all of us!