Jan. 8, 2021

5 Bagels to Freedom

I had convinced myself that I was normal. It was OK because everyone else was doing it too, and the story I was telling myself became so convincing that I allowed it to become a reality for years.

What was that story? It was the “American Dream.” That being overweight was not my fault. YOLO. Enjoy living when you’re young. Dad bods are “in.” I work hard, and I deserve it. I have two kids; I don’t have time. You name it, and I spun it. I believed it, and I tried to convince others to believe it, too, because I was stuck in a fixed mindset approach towards my life and health. This is what I was, and that was going to have to be good enough.

I clearly remember walking by mirrors and being afraid to look. Often, I would get tired and short of breath walking upstairs. Everything hurt. I was always tired and had headaches every day, all day. My digestive system was a wreck making it hard to go anywhere for fear of having to sprint to a bathroom. I had zero self-confidence and could not run around or play with my kids. It wasn’t perfect, but it was who I was, and I convinced myself that it was fine. I knew It had to change, but when? How? What would be the trigger?

There is a low point for every story like mine, and mine came right before I turned 40 in 2016. It was not this “oh shit, and I’m 40″ moment. I wish it were, but it wasn’t. It was worse. It was about 270 pounds. Standing 6’4” tall, I wore it well. I didn’t actually, but that was one of my favorite stories to tell myself. My wife and kids took me back to my Alma Mata, Penn State, for my birthday. That weekend, like most when we would go away, revolved around food. Pizza, wings, ice cream, and more. It was awesome! But that still wasn’t it.

Gary, Ashton, Kaiden in 2016.
Gary, Ashton (green), Kaiden (mohawk) in 2016

It was Sunday morning and time to go home. We got up early and headed to our favorite bagel shop before starting our long ride home. I ordered two bagels with butter and ate them both. My son ordered two bagels with butter but only ate one, so I ate the other. The bagel shop made an error and gave us an extra bagel with butter, so I ate it. We finished up, grabbed our dozen fresh bagels, and hit the road. Fifteen minutes into the ride, before my body had time to tell me to stop, the fresh smell of bagels won again, so I ate another. I ate 5 bagels in about thirty minutes. FIVE!

That was the moment. My journey had begun. I did not know it then, but it had. My wife and I had 7 hours to talk about how things needed to change. I had no idea where the journey would lead me, who I would meet along the way, and how many parts of my life would be affected. That was the moment. I had started. My mindset started to change. Things were going to be different.

The process is not over, and It never will be. This website/blog is another step along the way, and I hope to share what I have learned with my kids and anyone else who is willing to listen. Topics will include health/wellness, habits, reading, meditation, mindset, masterminds, finance, and much more. Thank you for joining me. Enjoy the ride!

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