I had just gotten off the scale which read 295 lbs. and I had just turned 30. I thought back to my last visit to the doctor’s office. “I think you’ve developed diabetes,” he told me. I never went back.
I was overweight my whole life and never comfortable in my own skin. In high school, an Army Reserve recruiter stopped me in the hall and asked if I’d ever thought of serving my country. I had, but I was 5’11 and 225 lbs and I didn’t meet the height/weight requirements for the Army. But I passed the body-fat-percentage test and shipped off to Basic Training.
After training I was two inches taller and 45 lbs lighter, with a renewed sense of confidence. I enrolled in college. But I had quit the Reserves, joined a fraternity, dropped my criminal justice studies and got my girlfriend pregnant.
Things were very stressful and I resumed overeating. I would be ashamed after a big meal but I always felt comforted with food in my hand. I was addicted to food.
I married my freshman sweetheart and we added three children to our family. But I never kicked my addiction. I steadily grew bigger. Each year I just bought a bigger pant size.
My wife wanted to run the Fargo relay-marathon and she, too, needed to lose weight and get back in shape. She had put off training for months. I realized that I was the reason she was unhappy with herself. My overeating had spilled over to ones I loved.
She needed to run. And she needed help. I offered to run with her. That first time on the treadmill was horrible. I was barely jogging, but I hated it. I didn’t have any real intention of losing weight when I started; I told myself I was there for my wife.
I ran very slowly at first, but I got faster and eventually ran further. After a year of running I added push-ups and sit-ups to my routine. I began losing weight and started gaining definition – and confidence. I changed my eating habits. Instead of routinely eating greasy food, I ate it once in a while. Instead of three pieces of cake, I ate one.
The more I exercised and the healthier I ate the more comfortable I became with myself, and that made me a better husband and father. After my 33rd birthday I stepped off the scale. I had lost nearly 100 lbs, I was healthy and there was no diabetes.
I realized I could re-enlist and go to Officer Candidate School. Since I left the military and ballooned to nearly 300 lbs, it never occurred to me that I would have another chance to serve my country. I left for Officer Candidate School and came home as a Second Lieutenant in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
What started as a simple gesture to help my wife has led me to the happiest and healthiest I have ever been.
Written by: T.J. M.