I couldn’t be more delighted to be hosting a special guest today. I met Todd Locker during my one-week stay at BLR, when he was kicking off his first of four weeks there. (Lucky!) After I got back home, I connected with him on Facebook and have been awed ever since by the challenges he has taken on. His story continues to inspire me…
Having put in 20 years in a fast-paced, deadline-laden and often stressful career, I woke up one day, looked in the mirror, and couldn’t recognize the person looking back at me.
60 to 80 hour work weeks had taken their toll. The reward for all that hard work was 100 lbs. of fat, high blood pressure and no hobbies outside of work.
I was death walking.
During those lost years I worked 6 or 7 days per week with virtually no vacations. I lost track of my hopes and dreams, had very little communication with family and friends, missed weddings, reunions. I never married or had children. I became a one dimensional workhorse.
For many years I enjoyed my profession but, by not taking care of me, I started to hate my job and myself. I started taking out my self-loathing on my subordinates. Fortunately it only took me a couple of weeks to realize this. I was embarrassed and ashamed of how I had begun treating the people I had a great deal of respect for.
Another thing haunted me. One of my favorite managers had died suddenly, in his office, of a heart attack. He was in his early 60s.
I did not want to die at work from a heart attack brought on by stress and not taking care of myself. This thought remained stuck in my head over three years after the tragedy.
I knew a heart attack could come at any time unless things changed. I knew the changes had to be quick and big, but also sustainable. I decided to take a sabbatical. One of the benefits of having worked so much is that I had saved a nice nest egg which allowed me to take the time to regroup.
The first day of my sabbatical I woke up terrified. Where do I start? How do I start? I had to work on every area of my life. It took me over 15 years to get myself into this state; I knew that losing the weight and reengaging my hopes and dreams wouldn’t happen overnight.
I started taking walks and eating better. The walks were short: 2 to 3 miles, three or four times a week. I slowly began incorporating new things into my diet. I cut out almost all fast food. Slowly I began losing weight.
I don’t have any pictures at my heaviest. This photo in my then-current driver’s license was taken 6 months into my journey when I weighed 267 lbs. At my heaviest I was close to 290 lbs.
As the weight came off, I started walking further distances with more frequency. I also took up bike riding, and even rode from Seattle to LA! I continued to lose weight and focus on better nutrition.
From time to time I would meet up with colleagues still working at the company I had left. I saw that familiar dazed, burned out, look in their eyes. It was the same look the mirror had reflected back at me. I decided I would never go back to work there.
After close to four years of making better choices, I was down to 220 lbs. Typically I would lose 15 to 20 lbs. then stay within 5 lbs. of that weight for 4 to 6 months. Then I would make another push to drop some more weight.
I was in it for the long haul, so as long as I was making progress, regardless how little or how slowly, I knew I was okay. I never beat myself up for slipping on my diet or missing a workout but I also never lost sight of my weight loss and health goals. I just kept moving forward.
One of my goals before going back to work was to get below 200 lbs. and at 220 lbs. I needed one final push. I also wanted to see if the nutritional knowledge I gained over the years was actually good. So I started searching fitness resorts online. One that kept coming up was the Biggest Loser Resort (BLR) in Malibu. The price was not, and the reviews were great, so I made reservations for a four-week stay.
During my stay I met incredible people, many of whom will be lifelong friends. Many, like Nancy, have really helped keep things in perspective and offered motivation when I found myself going through a rough patch.
Everybody visiting BLR is at a different place in their weight loss and health journey. This goes for the trainers, support staff, hiking guides etc. Many have lost well over 100 lbs. and some are just beginning their journeys or starting over.
The best thing about it is that there is no judgment, just lots of support and encouragement. The program is geared to make sure you will get a good workout regardless of your fitness level.
This picture was taken at the end of my third week.
And here is a copy of my Guest Fitness Assessment for proof of my stats!
Since my stay at BLR, I have kept most of the weight off, and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle.
I have gone on numerous hikes with many BLR alumni, and even took ran in the Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon as well as the Portland Half Marathon.
My biggest physical accomplishment to date was a 4 day/3 night summit of Mt. Rainier along the Kautz glacier route. TJ, the BLR Hiking Program Director, joined me for this incredible challenge.
Here we are at the summit proudly displaying the BLR banner!
This past January a few BLR alums, TJ and I all made the trip to Africa to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro at the 19,340′ Uhuru Peak.
I hoisted this “12th Man” banner in support of the Seattle Seahawks at the summit just hours before they won the Superbowl!
This is just the beginning; I’m looking forward to many more adventures.
To close, I wanted to share something I heard the other day which really resonated with me:
Build a life. Don’t live one, build one. Find your opportunities.
BLR helped me do that. I’m so grateful to BLR and all of my fellow alums for their support and encouragement along the way!
Thank you Todd for sharing your amazing story with us! You continue to be a huge inspiration to me as I follow your adventures through Facebook!