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It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...

OK...Not really 20. More like 2.  Actually, not like 2, it was 2 years. On November 14th, 2011 I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge for the first time. I weighed in at 330lbs with a size 54 waist. And I have to say I was pretty miserable. The funny thing is, I didn't think  I was at the time. I thought I was happy with my body and the way things were. That is until I started actually losing the weight, getting healthy, and realizing that sometimes you don't have to be fat to be funny.

People thought I was nuts to start a diet so close to the holidays. But I knew the truth. Two truths, actually. The first truth is that it's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. One that I've let go lax a bit this summer/fall.  Diets never work. Changing your habits and lifestyle is the only thing that really works.

And this was the first step for me.

The second truth I knew is a simple one regarding the holidays. If I couldn't make this lifestyle choice stick during the hardest time of the year (the holidays), then there was really no point in continuing down that road. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. My birthday and Thanksgiving both fell in the middle of the 24 Day Challenge period. And with a few minor hiccups, I stuck with it.

I lost 16 lbs in the first 24 days. In the next 18 months I got down to 265. 65 pounds down from my starting weight. I was looking good, but more importantly I was feeling fucking fantastic.

I decided to tackle something on my bucket list (or as I call it, the Fuckkit List)--The Warrior Dash. A 5K Obstacle course on the slopes of Clear Fork ski resort. It was a muddy, physically demanding mess. I thought I was ready for it. I wasn't. Physically or mentally I wasn't. I thought that the 10 months of kickboxing and Hap Ki Do I had been doing 3 times a week would be enough to get me in shape to face the 'Dash.  I wasn't enough.

There were 12 obstacles on the course. I jumped off of the 3rd one and wrenched my ankle and knee. I wound up walking the rest of the course. And you're damn right I still went through every obstacle. I had come too far to turn back. I wasn't going to let the course beat me.

As a result of my perseverance, I wound up with a sprained MCL. Kickboxing and Hap Ki Do were on hold. At least for the next 4-6 weeks.

In July I tried to go back to kickboxing. I focused on my upper body and took it easy on the knee. I didn't mentally process that I hadn't gone this hard in 7 weeks. So I didn't think I needed to dial anything back.

I paid for it by jacking up my trapezoids. This resulted in another month or 2 of physical therapy just to get my muscles to the point where I wasn't waking up screaming in the middle of the night.

I haven't been to Kickboxing or Hap Ki Do since July. I have to be honest. I'm scared that I may need to find a different exercise of choice. I used to do 50-75 squats a session (it damn near killed me, but I did them)...now 2 squats has me almost in tears. The flexibility just isn't there.

I'm getting old.

Fuck that.

So. This journey started 2 years ago. I've come through some shit since then. And truthfully, there's still some shit on the horizon to go through. I have no misgivings about that.

But I started the 24 Day Challenge again yesterday. The timing is such that my birthday and Thanksgiving will fall in nearly the same place in the challenge they did 2 years ago. And that's ok.

I'm back in to cooking my meals. Cutting out the fast food that had someone crept in these past few months.

It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get back to kickboxing and Hap Ki Do. Not this month. Maybe not next month, but I will make it back. Like before, I will let my body tell me when the time is right.

That's really the key to making this shift work--listening to my body.

I'm currently at 300lbs. It's not as heavy as I was before (thankfully), but I know it's too heavy for me.  I can sit comfortably at 250, maybe 225. But 250 definitely would work for me.

And I'll get there.

-A.T.


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