of the buffet I bought for myself on the way to my parent’s house (I used to work for my father, who operated out of his house) and then eat the rest in front of them. It was still a bonanza of bad food, but it was only the tip of the iceberg in regards to what my parents were witnessing. And then they hit that health kick, where they talked about how worried they were about my health and worried about me getting diabetes and blah, blah blah. In one ear and out the other. So that was when I started making slight changes, getting up a little earlier so I can gorge in peace and not make my parents none the wiser, for I could easily lie to them that I had some Quaker Instant Oatmeal or some bananas (which never happened….like ever. In fact I think I wasted more of those items than I actually ate). Like I have mentioned before, the turning point was seeing the picture of myself at The Tucson Heart and Stroke Walk. I was the guy you could have taken a picture of and turned into an instant meme, much to the tune “Goes to the Tucson Heart Walk….eats Quadruple Bypass Burger at Heart Attack Grill two hours later!” So I reluctantly joined Parsons Training only because I figured it would be good to get my parents off my back and also because my parents actually put their own money on the project that was otherwise known as “my health.” Obligation is quite strong within my blood, so the first 36 sessions looked more like a death march for me. The first session I ever had at Parsons Training was a sweaty, embarrassing and downright sad 35-minute debacle. I didn’t see it in Jon’s face that day, but I could sense behind my back that he was thinking “this guy might die on me if I don’t slow it down.” Jon spared my feelings by saying “I want you to be able to work tomorrow,” and called it off. But I knew the real reason. I had to get better, and it was going to be a long road. That was seemingly a lifetime ago on May 6, 2012.
Now here is the biggest reason why I always kind of avoided the quest for good health. I always thought it would be like flipping a switch! I used to watch a rather horrible show called Hard Copy due tot the weird time slots it was on, and it was so trashy that to this day, I still can’t believe Bill O’Reilly got a job after hosting that show. Anyway, they did have one sweet story on the show about a kid that lost about 140 pounds in two months, and was being featured because his local community was raising money to help with his excess skin removal surgery. I think that story kind of poisoned my mind for the worst, because I thought that was perfectly possible for anyone (even though the kid was living off 1,000 calories a day and hitting the treadmill for about two hours at a time). Over the years, I just kept putting it off, and started replacing those thoughts with more and more eating, because at one point I fell into a deep funk where I just figured, “I might as well eat more food now because I can lose it whenever I want to!” Oh, such wishful thinking. Anyway, things started turning for the better, for clothes started fitting and pants started getting discarded. A couple shirts that I had bought in the 1990s that I for some reason kept are now back in the rotation, symbolic of the life I used to have and how everything changed for the worst in such a short span of time. I even wrote a blog about one of them, which happens to be one of my favorite shirts to wear in public because it was the name of a defunct minor league hockey team, but it has been erased from all memory and looks more like a subtle marijuana joke, which is in now because the whole legalization of it is getting popular. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2012/10/stephens-journeyphase-iipersonal.html
I find it interesting when I look at the old blogs, and I do mean the “old” blogs, Jon and I really had no freaking idea how to do this. The truth is, talking about myself at the time was pretty hard to do, merely because I was so used to shutting myself off from everyone and everything. Nowadays, I can take just about anything I receive. There has been a long running joke about me in regards to my distaste of pop star Taylor Swift (she is not “country” and “modern country” is not “country!”), and the jokes continue to fly. The backstory: while up at Ragnar Del Sol, I made the comment that I despise her music and her in general when one her songs started playing on the stereo. Then Jon says “If she came up to you and wanted to date you, you would say no?” “Yes, I would say no and slam the door on her face!” Yup, I have standards. Besides, it is pretty obvious she is a terrible girlfriend because all her relationship failures turn into songs and even albums! Maybe she does that intentionally. Heck, even Sam Smith took a page from her playbook and ended up coming out of nowhere to win a bunch of Grammys. Either way, I would have gotten really angry about such ribbing back in the day. But as my skin has started to become tighter and smoother, it has gotten a little bit thicker. As I move along with this blog, it is kind of mind boggling how poor the early days used to be in comparison to what I do now (albeit I had fewer errors, hehe). I was still stuck in the journalism style of writing that had been an intricate part of my life for more than 13 years. I remember how difficult it was to write in those days, because the subject of writing about fitness was pretty difficult to figure out, and would often times become tedious. I was ecstatic on subjects like resurrecting old shirts that I had reduced back in to. Of course, there was the easiest article at the time when I finally decided to become a vegan on October 22, 2012. And of course, I did compare myself to Bilbo Baggins at one point. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2012/12/i-am-bilbo-baggins.html
If anything, revealing my insecurities to the world has opened me up in a lot more ways than I ever could have imagined. Such disclosure has made it easier for me to relate to other people, because if I have the insanity to reveal something deep and personal in my life, maybe other people would think the same thing. Accepting truths about yourself is the toughest aspect of the human condition, because unless you are an attention whore, modesty in regards to your personal life is something you would keep very close to your heart. Of course, I was actually gutsy enough to write about this subject! http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2015/02/love-and-obesity.html Fortunately, I have been making plenty of good decisions in regards to my health the last three years, giving up dairy barely two weeks into my training and then changing my entire diet, and by proxy my entire outlook on life, just six months in. I even gave up soda, which was quite an addiction for me back in the day. http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2013/02/cutting-out-sodapersonal-training-tucson.html And then a year later I gave up on energy drinks, even though I was offered free ones at Ragnar Del Sol this past year! http://blog.parsonstrainingtucson.com/2013/10/my-torrid-love-affair-with-energy.html
Now some people might insinuate that after three years of personal training, my results should be a lot better aesthetically. Well, they do have a point. I did kind of revert a bit in 2014, probably eating too much Chipotle in the process and then not running for a good four or five months. But that is still part of the process; admitting you took a step back. And then there is still the main problem within my life I have to keep addressing, and that is the fact I’m pretty much a recovering drug addict. If anything, breaking the cycle of overeating has never been an easy gesture. Even when I gave up dairy, I was eating way too many roller meats at the QT next to my house. And then came my fondness for Chipotle sized burritos, made to my own specifications. The only trouble is I would often eat two of them! And of course, I once again revealed I have to cut back on my coffee drinking, which is a huge deal considering I was averaging well over 200 ounces of the stuff a week, and I have managed to reduce to half that so far. I tried quitting cold turkey, but the pain from that exercise was pointless and decided the process had to be a little slower in getting rid of the brown stuff. So far I probably down to 100 ounces or less, and I managed to resist drinking coffee at the last couple family gatherings, which is a wonderland of coffee making (we often joke about needing a 40-cup coffee maker).
In the end, while I can take a lot of credit for the gains and changes I have made in my life, I have to admit I would not have been able to do it without the help of a lot of people. To this day I am still eternally grateful to my parents for what they did, because I sure as heck wasn’t willing to do it for myself. And then of course, there is Jon Parsons, who not only helped me body through diet and exercise but also change my outlook on life. I never would have stuck with something like this for as long as I have. I’ve had the opportunity to be trained by a lot of other trainers at Parsons as well, and I am eternally grateful for the different insights they have given me as well as the encouragement. And of course, a lot of other people have contributed, both in my real life and in the virtual world as I look to find new inspirations for change. Even though there is no grand summation just yet, I do know I still have a long ways to go, for the greatest trick that no one mentions in most weight loss journeys is how much time it takes. There is always going to be those people that accomplish their goals quickly and amazingly, but I am not one of those people. I still have some issues to deal with in regards to my eating, but at least the problem is mostly due to portion control more than anything else. I don’t sit at home anymore, stuffing my face and looking like a loser in the process with crumbs all over my shirt, waiting to be shoveled up by the voracious appetites of my two little pups. And most importantly, when Jon gave me some compliments about my efforts on Wednesday, I actually took them at face value (you will get to hear all about it on the Sunday blog). For crying out loud, in spite of all the changes and improvements, I’m barely starting to get used to compliments. I think maybe it is because it makes me blush a little, which is a feeling I am not too used to. For all those years, I was used to being quite invisible. I guess I better get used to being noticed.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.