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    Posted January 18, 2014 by
    Valley Center, Kansas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    Professional Mentalist Loses Weight With No Trickery

    I have had a weight problem for most of my adult life. Even while serving in the military and in fairly good shape, I was often on the "fat boy program" since the military deemed me overweight for my height and age (at 6'1" I was only allowed to weigh 200 lbs max). Sometime in early 2000, I strained my back pulling on something working outside and things seemed to start going downhill healthwise. I put aside performing mentalism and magic for some time. In 2005 I permanently injured my back tearing a disc working a construction job. I was so immobile and in so much pain for months I thought I'd never do anything physical again, and I was told that surgery probably wouldn't fix much and that I'd have to deal with the pain the rest of my life. I was also having heart palpitations and blood sugar problems and felt like my health was not only spiraling out of control, but out of MY control. I didn't know what to do.

    When my oldest daughter graduated high school in 2010, and had decided entirely on her own to join the Marine Corps and go to college, something about that moment in my life caused me to snap. I had been seeing a chiropractor who is also a certified sports therapist/physician and she told me that, in spite of my physical problems, I was in good enough health to exercise and suggested readily that I do. I looked at my family: I had lost the job I had in the aircraft industry just prior to my oldest daughter graduating, my health sucked, we were financially devastated, I was depressed, and my oldest was taking off on a life of her own in the military, and my youngest was going to graduate high school the following year. My life wasn't supposed to be going this way.

    As a mentalist and magician, I know all-to-well the power of the mind and how it affects everything about our lives, right down to our physical status. I realized then that I was, at that time, the sum total of all of the decisions I had ever made in my life. That it wasn't bad circumstances that had me where I was, but my reaction to those circumstances. I decided life was going by way too quickly and that I was going to do TWO major things; return to my first love in life (performing professionally) and that I was going to begin a life-long regimen of health and fitness.

    I jumped full-swing back into my entertainment business and also joined a local gym and changed my diet cold turkey. I am of the mind that this is the only way to do some things; a person has to get absolutely sick and tired of the way they are or they will not change things. I was sick of not being able to tie my shoes without almost passing out from the head rush. I was tired of being on stage and feeling uncomfortable in my clothes in front of my entire audience. I was sick of mowing my yard and feeling like I was going to die. I was tired of pulling my pants or shorts up every five minutes because my huge belly kept pushing them down. I was tired of my feet swelling in my shoes and hurting from carrying around the excess weight. I was tired of eating meals in such a way that the only thing that stopped me was when I physically just couldn't eat anymore. I was tired of looking for size 46-48 jeans and slacks, and XXL shirts. I also knew that my wife was growing tired of how heavy we both were, though she didn't show it nearly as much as I did. A better day of health and prosperity was not going to come unless we made it come. And that we absolutely did.

    Though my weight loss doesn't seem so drastic as others, the transformation for me has been tremendous. At my worst I weighed about 260 lbs and in just over a year's time I was down to 210 lbs. I began simple and manageable workout regimens. I didn't need expensive trainers and diets; I started reading Men's Health magazine and eating more raw vegetables, less red meat (though I still love a good steak or burger), a lot more fish and poultry (turkey mainly--don't like chicken much), and all in manageable portions. I ditched ALL sugary drinks like soda pop, energy drinks, sweet tea, etc. I also took on swimming to kind of break things up a bit and give me a great cardiovascular workout. I educated myself on nutrition, and started trying things I've never tried before. The amazing thing is that I enjoy food way more now that I'm more selective about it than I ever did as someone who just ate anything and everything, especially if it was cheap. I started listening to my body. I started drinking more red wine and plenty of water and healthy liquids. I now have way more sustained energy and better sleep than I have in over 25 years.

    I also started pushing myself to attain goals. When I started swimming, I couldn't even swim more than a couple of laps without dying; now I swim one mile workouts in about 30-45 minutes, with a goal of being able to swim a mile straight through in just under 30 minutes.

    I now wear size 36 jeans and weigh in at around 210, give or take a few pounds on any given week. Some of the weight that I have kept on is well toned muscle that has replaced fat cells. I have a fairly and manageable exercise routine that fits with my performing and marketing schedule, and when I had a recent visit to a doctor was told that I was in excellent health and that I was doing everything "right." I can't tell you how happy I was to hear that. My back occasionally aches, but the exercising and diet has kept it from the flare ups that usually had me down for days at a time. It has been about four years now and I don't ever plan on going back. Fast-track diets and weight loss systems are a joke, in my opinion. It takes a made up mind and determination to change things in our lives. If a person isn't happy the way they are, then they need to change it no matter what the cost. I treat my health as if I'm showing up to a job and clocking in--time to work the "overtime" needed to stay in good health. What I've done involves no trickery nor secret; a well-portioned and balanced diet and regular exercise (and it doesn't have to be extreme) is an investment that I have not regretted in the last few years and know I never will.

    I now work entirely for myself as a corporate entertainer and still keep to my regular exercise and diet regimen. It isn't a hard-fast set of rules where I feel guilty if I break them, but rather a guide to keep me on a decent path. I still enjoy good food, or a cookie or piece of cake or craft beers now and then. However none of it owns me. I've become addicted to good health and feeling great and it's an addiction that needs no counseling to overcome.

    I can't recommend the lifestyle enough. Find something you love and are passionate about and make that give you something to live for; then adjust your life to make it not only possible, but where you can enjoy it and live it to the fullest. For me, there is just no other way to live.

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