top of page

100 Days, 100 lbs...
and Beyond

My Long, Strange, Ongoing Trip to Better Health
(and What I Found Along the Way)

TL/DR: I got into trail-running several years ago. In ~100 days I lost 100 lbs. A means to an end became a life-changing passion. It helped my creative process. And perhaps it'll help yours.

 

So, who's ready for yet another feel-good inspirational weight-loss story?! 

I'll just dive right in, here. This is a stream of consciousness, so bear with me!

Throughout grade school, I was quite athletic. Between baseball, tennis and other extracurriculars, I was always nestled within a comfortable BMI range. 

However, once college rolled around, my active interests quickly gave way to... well, college things. Between the stresses of academia, the rude awakening of real life, the social pressures and my newfound love of an alcohol-fueled sedentary lifestyle... the natural culmination reared its head in the form of depression, anxiety, and sharp weight gain, among other things.

This was the start of a long period of obesity, and all the physical and mental health issues that came along with it. Years of weight gain culminated in a peak of 270 lbs. I'm 5'11", by the way.

There I am, on the far left; at this point, I was 270 lbs., my peak weight. It was this picture that finally kicked me into high gear, the moment I said to myself, "enough is enough."

IMG_0075.PNG

What was it like during all of this? If I could summarize it into one word, it would be... helplessness. I felt helpless as my weight mushroomed. My self-confidence and self-esteem were in the toilet. I watched for years as my friends, loved ones and colleagues got jobs, got married, had kids, bought houses. While I was genuinely happy for each of them, my mental and physical conditions continued to decline as I was stuck in a rut. Depression continued to engulf me like a weighted blanket.

However, upon seeing the above image posted on social media, something clicked inside me. I had a moment of unprecedented clarity: the time had come to reclaim command of myself. To this day, I'm not sure what exactly the source of that clarity was; perhaps a culmination of stress and frustration; perhaps a divine intervention; I couldn't tell you, but I decided to harness it, to let it drive me into the unknown.

Let me back up just a bit; I've always been a nature lover. Having grown up in Austin, there was always an abundance of woodlands and trails in my immediate vicinity. Trips with friends and family alike always involved hiking, skiing, running or all of the above. I had already started to rediscover my love of hiking, and had started to build momentum in making a routine out of it. 

Going back to the past-present, I had a summer full of weddings ahead of me, and I decided that I wanted to lose 20-40 lbs. in time for the pictures. 

Upon reaching this turning point, I set out on the trail once again. But this time, I started running. Exhausted doesn't begin to describe how I felt after that first mile or so. It was summer, and it was Texas; therefore, it was HOT. 102-107 degrees, every single day. Bright sunshine and high humidity, owing to Austin's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.  

IMG_0051.jpeg

This is the face, the embodiment, the live demo of just how shitty 104* with high humidity feels. But, it's also the face of determination, the embodiment of grit, and the implementation of a long-range goal.

Now, heat running isn't for everyone. Hydration is insanely important; it takes about 10 minutes in that kind of heat for heat-related illnesses to start rearing their ugly heads, unless you're drinking copious amounts of fluids. My solution for that was to pack my Camelback with 3 liters of water at the minimum. I shoved ice cubes into the remainder to keep it somewhat cool.  And the injuries, my god, the injuries -- 4 ankle sprains to boot; proper footwear is crucial. Believe me when I say that this weight loss journey was anything but a straight line. 

But the more I ran, the more the pounds fell off. And the more I ran, the better I started to feel. I felt more agile than I'd felt in years. Walks, climbs and lifts that had previously exhausted me were suddenly easy. Week by week the pounds continued to fall; even my coordination and energy levels had reached unexpected heights.

About a month in, my core had gotten stronger. The pounds were shedding. I was standing up straighter, smiling more confidently, and feeling more inspired than I had in years. 

IMG_0055.jpeg

After the first month was the start of an epic wedding season. Three weddings, three bachelor parties, six different cities. My original goal to lose 20 lbs. had already been met by the first one; the tux I'd rented months before felt loose on me! But by this point, I'd developed a serious love of the act of running, the disappearance into nature, the envelopment of joy in its purest form.

IMG_0048.JPG

By the last wedding of the summer (pictured here), I was down about 40 lbs. This was the goal, the final milestone; but something compelled me to keep going.

Like Forrest Gump, I just kept on runnin' (sic).

Rain or shine, hot or cold, before work or after, I hit the nature trails. Weeks had turned into months, and months turned into years. I'd finally bottomed out 100 lbs. lighter, but instead of stopping, I kept going. My long-range plan, which had had a beginning and end, gradually became an open-ended hobby. What started as a means to an end for weight loss manifested into a passion that had been under my nose my whole life.

So, what does all of this have to do with advertising?

Well, nothing, really. At least not from the surface. 

But when I reflect more deeply upon this journey, I realize that it has everything to do with advertising. Learning to deal with anguish, frustration and multiple setbacks; tweaking my form and style along the way; building self-confidence and resilience I'd never realized I possessed; firing up my brain and finding the best inspiration in the most obscure places -- all of these unintended side-effects of my trail-running passion acted as a catalyst to push my boundaries, nurture my creativity, pair mind, body and soul with the artistic beauty that surrounds all of us -- I've learned to train my mind in the same way I trained my body.

So, in my own way, I've come to realize that this ongoing trail-running adventure has everything to do with advertising.

IMG_0363.PNG
IMG_0703.PNG

I'll leave off with this: never, ever, let anyone tell you that you can't achieve the impossible. That you can't accomplish that to which you set your heart and mind. If I could get into the best physical shape of my life well past what many consider one's prime, you can achieve something equally prone to naysaying. But most of all, remember that your mind is your own, that your capabilities are yours to expand upon, that the sky isn't the limit, but the starting point. These past few years have shown me resilience, courage and determination that I'd never been able to tap into so effectively before. 

Whether you're pushing a crazy deadline and beating your head against the wall, whether you're questioning your abilities as a creative, whether you're deciding on your next life chapter or weighing career options, this story is for you. And I'm not here to push trail-running per sé (although it's pretty great, I've gotta say); what I'm really getting at is that passion and inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places; all you have to do is go for it. Find your peace, your happy place. Look for your own source of joy in its purest form. And from there, watch it transform you in more ways than you'd ever imagined. 

Alright, that's enough cheese for today. Please, check out my portfolio, and see this process play out through my work!

bottom of page