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I would like to share the story of my weight loss journey in hopes that it may inspire others to do the same. You too, can gain control of your physical being and become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

It will not be easy, but it is definitely not as hard as you think, either.

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I will end with the ten reasons why losing weight made my life better. I hope you enjoy the story and the list. Please feel free to comment and share this. I will make myself available if you need any tips or resources. If just need someone to kick your ass in gear or if you’re game for a workout sometime I’ll be there. Seriously…

During the winter of 2010 I had a devastating knee injury while snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The resulting knee surgery and subsequent rehabilitation changed my life.


Just after the surgery

To heal properly and to regain the strength and motion in my knee I had to commit to adjusting my diet and incorporating regular physical fitness into my daily routine.

I knew I had to. Aside from wanting to regain regular use of my knee, I knew that I never see obese elderly people. It may sound harsh, but it’s a fact. Look around.

Prior to that time I had no discipline in the kitchen and I did not exercise. I had always eaten whatever I wanted with no thought of the consequences. On top of that, the only physical exertion I really got was in social situations.

When I weighed in after my injury I weighed 210 lbs. I was always a husky kid. I had told myself I had thick bones. I always thought I wore it well. Interesting feelings are aroused now when I look back at pictures of myself from those days.

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I was given a second chance. I had to become a changed man if I was to have any hope of returning to snowboarding, let alone walking without pain. I committed to my physical therapy exercises religiously, without regard to the discomfort or inconvenience.

With the help of my supportive wife and family I made healthier choices during my meals. I ate better, more natural, wholesome foods. Additionally, I watched my portions more closely. I severely limited my sweet and junk food intake.

Edible Arrangements from Mom

Edible Arrangement Sent from my Mom after surgery

Eventually I would get the all-clear from my physical therapist, Kristen Carpenter, and my arthroscopic surgeon, Joanne Halbrecht. I was now started down a path of physical improvement, but I was far from where I would end up today.

The next New Years came and I chose what I believe to be the most important resolution and nutrition decision I would ever make. I quit drinking soda cold turkey. I would no longer drink Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Surge, orange soda, grape soda, or cola. I would say no to all of it.

If you’re sitting there with a Coke in your hand, or in your body, this may sound difficult, but it really wasn’t. Like you do now, and like smokers do when they think about their smoking habit, I knew the soda was bad for me. I decided my will-power and my desire to improve myself was stronger than whatever physical, mental, or emotional addiction I had to soda.

I may have had three to five sodas since then. They’ve all been organic or natural sodas, but I don’t even really have the taste for them anymore. I definitely no longer crave or want one when I see them in supermarkets or at BBQs.

My brother-in-law, Jeremie, helped me continue to look closer at my diet. We went through a period where I logged my food and beverage intake. I had to be brutally honest with everything I was putting in my body. When I drank a coffee I marked the coffee, as well as the half and half and the teaspoon of raw sugar.

We weren’t doing it as an exercise in counting calories as much as just practicing being conscious of what and how much I was in fact eating. This did two things. One, I had a baseline to see how I was doing day to day comparatively. Two, it made me cognizant of the places I could continue to reduce and eliminate unnecessary foods, drinks, and snacks.

Through all these changes and some moderate exercise I lost twenty pounds! I was now weighing in at 190. On a five foot five frame I still was fat. I just still didn’t really know it yet.



Even in denial of how heavy I was and how fat I looked, I still felt a yearning and determination to make something physically better of myself.

Jeremie and I decided to ramp up my fitness. He was studying to become a personal trainer and I was no longer hungry for unfulfilling processed foods; I was hungry for fitness. Jeremie presented me with the opportunity to participate in a body transformation challenge.

The challenge was put on by the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers. The competition took place over twelve weeks. Progress needed to be documented by weigh-ins and photographs posted online to contestants’ social media pages.

J Body Transformation Begin

Transformation week 1; 2014

I was in good shape at the outset of the competition, but we really dialed in my exercise regimen to achieve some amazing results. We kicked the volume up to ten. We incorporated long distance runs and races, as well as high intensity interval training.

Jeremie din’t take any bullshit or excuses. He would kick my ass in the workouts and he wouldn’t accept me dogging and lagging behind on the runs. I will never forget the time, energy, and effort he invested into me and my journey.

Slimmer and firmer parts of me became a cut, clearly defined physique. I shed almost all the excess weight around my midsection. The weekly pictures gradually showed a sizable difference in my form, until the final photos told the whole story of my transformation.

J Transform Results

End of transformation comparison; 2014

Unfortunately, we did not win the competition. There were competitors who had a much larger fitness deficit to make up and were able to show significantly more results by the end of the twelve weeks. I was happy and impressed by the winners’ transformations.

Even without winning any prizes I felt that anyone who committed to and completed the twelve week transformation were undoubtedly winners. I could tell from the looks on the faces of the entrants, as well as from the looks of their bodies seen in the succession of photos posted.

I personally dropped another eighteen pounds during the transformation and ended the contest at 172 pounds. I was in the best shape of my life. I loved how I looked. I loved how I felt. I loved what I could do. I had become a person I could truly love and not just learn to live with.

Fast forward to today. I still weigh in regularly. I’ve gotten my weight as low as 162 pounds when I’m in a heavy exercise routine or training for a race. Right now I am close to 170, as I have had to sacrifice workout time in favor of writing, reading books, and spending time with the family.

For the past two years, I have regularly attended a Kung Fu class. The first forty to sixty minutes of which is high intensity interval training. I attend two to three classes per week.

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I have done so many sit-ups in that class that I am rocking a sick six pack. I keep threatening my wife that I am going to post a pic on Instagram. I’ll probably use this article as an excuse.

This year I ran a 10k in under fifty minutes. When I was cleared by my P.T. all those years ago to resume regular exercise I could not even run a half mile without having to walk part of it.

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I have even set a rule for myself that every time I enter a particular room in my house I have to do ten pull-ups or ten chin-ups. When I started this journey one of my original fitness goals was to just do ten pull-ups. Back then I could only do one pull-up if I jumped into it.

Now I batch my trips into that room, so I don’t owe myself too many reps. Still, it helps when I am spread too thin to commit to a workout every day. It helps me get a bit of a pump.

The whole journey was all about sacrificing the short-term satisfactions for the long term gains. It has been about determination, and creating a positive outlook through positive changes.

It was all in establishing discipline in my unruly life. I have a tattoo (seen in the photos above) stating that I am out of control. It is a constant reminder of the person I used to be and where I came from.

I have achieved control over my body and many of my worst impulses.


Circa 2008


Circa 2018

I have gotten rid of all my fat man clothing. I remember thinking it was the best worst problem to have at the time.
I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I’ll never get rid of these love handles or all these chins. Now they’re almost all gone.

If you’re thinking about starting the journey yourself just remind yourself, there’s no good reason not to.

Thanks for reading this. I hope to be able to one day provide similarly substantial results with the work I am doing on my emotional and social IQ’s.

Ten reasons why losing weight has made my life significantly better:

  1. Overall health improved and less susceptibility to injury.
  2. More confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Improved athletic ability and capacity.
  4. Better stamina and staying power.
  5. Look better; naked and in clothes.
  6. Fit through tighter spaces.
  7. Better in bed.
  8. Can pull myself up if I had to to save my life.
  9. Someone else can pull me up if they need to save my life.
  10. Fixing my outside has allowed me to see the need to and start fixing myself on the inside.

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Feel free to leave a comment if this piece speaks to you or if you have any value of your own to add.

Jer & Pappa Finish

Winning, even when I’m not the winner! 2016

Graciously Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

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