Obese and Depressed Was Not My Purpose

Before and after weight loss and depressionHave you ever found yourself waking up each morning with a feeling of depression and defeat? Have you experienced times where you felt your health habits were out of your control, that you were a slave to your appetite? I found myself in that position, at some level, for more than two decades.

On the left side of this picture you see a guy who was spiraling into depression and dealing with increasing health issues with each passing week. On the right side you see a guy who took control of his health and now takes on each day (well, most days – ha) with optimism and positive expectation instead of dread.

Being overweight has plenty of physical challenges but it also has many mental and emotional challenges. For me, the mental side of things was significant. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I started to lose weight, exercise and get healthier. I thought the way I was feeling was just the way it was.

Studies have shown that obese people are about 25% more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared with those who are not obese. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys reported that 43% of adults with depression were obese, and adults with depression were more likely to be obese than adults without depression.

Because of the depression and lack of motivation it wasn’t easy to go to the gym. It wasn’t easy passing by Taco Bell and the convenience store on the way to and from the office to pick up my favorite comfort food. But, the more I said ‘NO’ to staying in bed and eating the wrong things and started saying ‘YES’ to the gym and better food choices the more the depression lifted and the more motivation I had.

Five Things That Got the Ball Rolling

  1. Community – I joined a health challenge that was organized by one of our local hospitals. This 12 week challenge required weekly weigh ins and connected participants through social media. Because of the community, encouragement and accountability it was much easier to start my health journey.
  2. Goals – In the beginning I didn’t set realistic goals and because of that I was easily and regularly discouraged. But, when I changed my mindset from a “quick-overnight-weight-loss” view to a “entire-long-term-lifetime” view it allowed me to start setting more realistic and achievable goals.
  3. Education –  I found blogs, books, podcasts and YouTube channels that taught me about exercise and diet. With everything I was learning I tried to keep an open mind and discover the approach that worked for me.
  4. Food – Understanding the impact that specific types of foods had on my health, specifically my emotional health. I realized that there were foods impacting my emotions as much as physical body.
  5. Supplements – I experienced there were supplements that helped me mentally and physically. Over the course of time I tried several different supplements and discovered the best ones that helped me achieve my goals.

Three Ways Exercise Helps Your Depression

The Mayo Clinic reports the following ways that exercise helps.

  1. Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  2. Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  3. Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects

Make The Right Decision TODAY!

Overcoming poor health begins with making the decision to change today and then making that decision again the next day and the next day and the next. I love what Tim Bauer, or as he’s known by his fans, Tinier Tim says when talking about his incredible weight loss. Tim says, “I didn’t lose 225 pounds, I lost 1 pound 225 times.”

As you make the decision to exercise each day you’ll feel better emotionally. When you make the decision to eat right, even it’s just a little bit each day, you’ll feel better emotionally. Don’t believe the lie that exercise and diet don’t affect how you feel mentally.

You Determine the Results

You have what it takes to exercise tomorrow. You can choose to eat healthy and not let the cravings control you. Make the decision today that you will start, you will take steps forward. And then make the decision that even if you stumble and fall off the wagon you will get back up and start moving forward again.

If you have questions or just need someone to encourage you, I’m here for you!

Where My Food Journey Began

Before I tell you what has worked for me let me give you my perspective when it comes to any approach to diet. What I’ve learned is that it’s easy to become dogmatic, start judging others on multiple levels based on their way of eating and in some cases alienating and sacrificing relationships because of the way you eat or don’t eat. So, I’m sharing what has worked for me and thousands of others and what my body responds to in a very positive way.

Dazed By Diets

On an off throughout my life I have done what all good overweight American’s do – I dieted. I tried dozens; low calorie, low fat, small meals 6-8 times a day, the Lemonade diet, the cabbage soup diet and the list goes on – you know what I’m talking about. With all of the dieting I had done I felt like I had a pretty good handle on how I needed to be eating. But when I got serious about my health in 2013 I started to explore, read and study even more because I  I realized that when I ate certain types of food like grains and sugar I felt tired, sluggish and had “brain fog”.

Paleo Got Me Going

Because there were a number of foods that impacted me in a negative way I wanted to find out if there were others that I hadn’t tried that may help me. One Google search led to a blog that led to a podcast that led to a book that led to YouTube that led to…you get the picture. Where I landed initially was with a Paleo diet and I stayed there for about a year and half. If you aren’t familiar with Paleo there are hundreds of sites but a few of my favorites are; Mark’s Daily Apple, Robb Wolf, Primal Potential, and Abel James.

Keto Keeps Me Going

After a year and half of experiencing some good success with Paleo I came across the Ketogenic Diet or as a lot of people refer to it, the Keto Diet. As a quick side note; I hate to use the word diet in relation to Paleo or Keto because both are really a lifestyle. I say lifestyle because it’s a way of eating that you are committing to for the long term, not just a few months or a year to lose some weight. You are committing to these approaches because they are best for your long-term health.

I’m not going to go deep into the ketogenic diet/lifestyle in this post (plenty will come) but here’s the quick definition to give you an idea. A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutritional plan. When you are following this plan you are training your metabolism to run off of fatty acids or another term that is often used is ketones. In this state your body becomes fat adapted and is running off of fatty acids/ketones instead of carbohydrates being your main fuel source. If you’d like to dive a little deeper right now, a couple of my favorite sites for ketogenic learning are Dr. Jockers and Keto Talk. And one of my favorite videos that help explain what keto means is right here.


2016 Transformation Update

2016 Fall Update Pic

Left Picture (2012) Right Picture (2016)

Wow, I just noticed that the last time I provided an update on my 2016 health transformation was more than a few months ago. The past eleven months have been solid and I’m headed into the final weeks of the year with more determination than I began the year with. My fourth and final health and fitness challenge of the year (My Transphormation Starts Today) ends on December 31st and I’m pumped.


When I started this year I was still facing some pretty significant health issues even though during the previous two years I had made some great strides. A few of the highlights from this year include:

  • In 2011 I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, NOW IT’S GONE
  • Cholesterol levels are NOW NORMAL
  • Blood sugar is NOW PERFECT
  • Lost SIX inches around my waist
  • I’ve continued to trade pounds of fat for pounds of MUSCLE.


Over the course of the year I’ve had my share of sports injuries; from lower back pain to joints, muscles and tendons. There were also a couple of run ins with the flu early on. But, each time I felt good enough to get back into the gym and back on track I did it right away.

Then the middle of the year hit. After the first three challenges were completed I took my foot off the gas a little. I never quit hitting the gym but my intensity lessened. I never fell off the wagon with my diet but I became more relaxed and not as diligent with what I was putting in my mouth.

3 Things That Helped RE-FIRE Me Up

As the summer ended I hit the reset button and got back into the routine I began the year with. There were three things I focused on that helped push me and poured fuel on the fire to focus on finishing the year strong.

  1. Refocused on my why – understanding why I began my health journey almost three years ago.
  2. Filled my mind with podcasts and information that educated and motivated me.
  3. Looked for people to connect with that would be a positive influence on my transformation.

Don’t let a few (or many) struggles keep you down. Take one, two or all three of things that helped me and give them a try. You and your health are worth it!


Enter The New Year With No Regrets

39 Days Until 2017Regret is something that I have become intimately acquainted with over the years. One of my earliest memories of regret, loss and sadness happened during the celebration of my sixth birthday.

My parents welcomed my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the evening of January 20th, 1975 and my heart filled with excitement. Everyone walking through the front door carried a present in their arms for ME! The presents were placed on the kitchen table next to my Evil Knieval decorated cake and my excitement grew.

evel-knievel-stunt-cycleWhen Your Shirt Catches On Fire

The time came for the singing of happy birthday and the opening of the presents. The lights were turned low and voices sang in my honor. With one big blow I made the flames on the candles disappear. As I would open a present one of my relatives would take it and stack them on the kitchen counter.  Somehow, no one noticed the huge candle burning, which was on the same counter as the presents were being piled.

About halfway through through the unwrapping ritual I opened up a navy blue and yellow shirt. If you are from Michigan (like I am) those colors can only mean one thing and that’s the University of Michigan – Go Blue! That shirt was promptly placed on the growing pile of presents (next to the lit candle) and I moved on to the next gift. As I began unwrapping it the room quickly started to smell like something was burning. Everyone looked to the counter and there was my U of M shirt going up in flames as the candle set it ablaze. My dad grabbed the shirt as it continued to grow into a ball of fire. He threw it out the back door and into a snow bank where it was quickly extinguished.

Crispy Shirts And Breakdowns

As I saw my dad throw my shirt out the door there was sadness and loss that overcame me. I ran to my bedroom, leaving everyone in the dining room, and threw myself onto my bed, crying my eyes out. One of my parents, I don’t remember which, came and comforted me. My breakdown probably only lasted ten minutes but 40 years later, as I write this, the emotion of that moment is still very real.

Was there anything I could have done about my shirt burning to a crisp? No, I wasn’t the one that even put it near the candle. But I still felt regret and loss. I did have the thought, even at that age; ‘what if I had held onto my shirt – it wouldn’t have went up in flames’.

Regret Can Last a Lifetime

My experience with regret and loss at the age of six, in the grand scheme of life was small. But regret is something that I have struggled and wrestled with throughout my life. Things like my parents divorcing when I was twelve to not making the sixth grade basketball team opened the door for regret. As an adult the regret of not speaking up for myself or family in different situations has happened more than once. Decisions I made caused undue stress on my kids that brought on regret. Even throughout my professional career, there have been plenty of situations where I didn’t make the right decision and it led to me carrying more regret than I should.

Three Tools to Deal With Regret

I have by no means totally conquered the beast of regret BUT there are some practices that allow me to properly assess the regret and put it in it’s proper place.

Here are three things I try to practice when regret raises it’s head.

  1. My tendency is to take too much blame, whether or not it is appropriate or not. Because of this I always need to step back from the situation and understand the part I play in what has caused the regret.
  2. I try to look at my situation from a different perspective. What can I learn? How can I help others learn from the situation I experienced? Trying to have a long term vision instead of focusing on the immediate outcome.
  3. If I have done all I can to change a situation, and still don’t see a change, I have to come to a place of peace. I have to get to the place of letting things go. Again, for me and my personality this is one of the most difficult things to do. But, regardless of what does or doesn’t come naturally it’s something I have to strive for.

Put Regret In It’s Place

So, as you approach 2017 don’t hold onto the regrets of 2016. Take responsibility for the things that you need to but don’t take more blame than you should. Put your failures in perspective and learn from them. And come to peace with the things you can’t change.

Enter 2017 with a clean slate and free from regret.

One Last Thing

Earlier this year, I came across this great article on Psychology Today that goes even deeper into the topic of regret. Take a read for even more on the topic of regret right here.



40 Days To Prepare For A Great 2017

40 Days To Prepare For A Great 2017

40 Days!

You are 40 days away from 2017.

How will you end this year?

Will you spend time thinking and preparing to position yourself for a great new year? Even if you didn’t achieve the goals or aspirations you had at the beginning of this year don’t let that hold you back from looking forward with faith and hope.


At the beginning of this year I chose three words that would frame my year; you can read that post here. One of my three words was regret. As I mentioned in that post, regret is a powerful two edged sword. You can let regret overcome you and cause you to be depressed or you can let it fuel you to become better. This year I chose to embrace the word as a positive. Throughout this year I asked myself the question, “If I don’t _(fill in the blank)_ what will I regret?” If I don’t continue to improve my health, what will I regret? If I don’t continue to grow in my professional skills, what will I regret?

In This Together

Over the next 40 days let’s link arms, take specific and intentional actions to end 2016 as strong as we can. And just as important, let’s use these next forty days to get ready for an amazing 2017.

During the next 40 days will you do whatever it takes to leave this year behind with all of it successes and failures? Will you resist getting caught up in regrets from things you didn’t accomplish? Will you take time to remember the good things that happened in 2016?

Through the end of the year I’ll be posting strategies and ideas that will help put us in the best position we can to make 2017 great.

Are you with me?

Let’s roll!




How Bad Do You Want Something New?

If You Want Something New

There are times in life when you have to make decisions, sometimes hard and at other times easy, to let things go. For your sake and the sake of others you have to say goodbye to a variety of things; people, relationships, a job, food or a hundred other things. You absolutely deserve to enjoy life and experience it to it’s fullest and the fact is, to do that, there are things you will have to say no too. You will have to put off things that might bring some quick satisfaction. You will have to do things that others don’t want too.

As Peter Drucker says, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

This past week we said goodbye and so long to a van that had been a part of our family for seventeen years. That van had done everything from haul trailer loads of manure to transporting my wife to the hospital to give birth to our fifth baby. It carried our family 700 miles to the wedding of my oldest son. That old van not only had a lot of great memories associated with it but there were a number of bad memories that I’d rather not talk about. Our Old Van

As I thought about dropping off our van at the salvage yard it caused me to think about other things in my life that I have dropped off or need to drop off at the salvage yard of life. There are mindsets, perspectives and beliefs that I have had to let go of and stop doing so that I could go after new things.

A couple of years ago I decided to stop living a very unhealthy life so that I could start living better and a more physically healthy life. I stopped sleeping in so I could exercise early in the morning. I stopped eating garbage all of the time so I could feel better. I stopped focusing on being a fat guy so I could become a more fit guy.

What’s something new you would like to do? To answer that you need to answer the other question of; what do you need to stop doing?

5 Ways The Election Should Change Your Life

5 Ways The Election Should Change Your LifeThe 2016 election has brought out every emotion known to man. From anger and disgust to joy and surprise. It has unseated seemingly unknown bias’s some didn’t know or think they had. This election has caused some to question a lot of things about what they believe, where they live and what they want the future of our country to look like. For some the emotions they have experienced over the last year will continue and yet for others hopelessness, anxiety and fear will fill their thoughts.

As I have thought about the election I’ve come to the conclusion that your life, my life, will be changed. Some of those changes will happen immediately, some will take time. Some changes will be difficult while others will be easier and more enjoyable.

Here are five ways this election should change your life. Each of these require you to take action in spite of whoever leads our country, your city or your state.


You are responsible for where you find your place in life. From your career to relationships and health, all of those things are within your control. Don’t blame someone else, the government, circumstances or “bad luck”. Take responsibility for your successes and failures. If things in your life aren’t what you want, take responsibility and make the necessary changes.


Understand that change begins with you. If you want to see things change in your community and country begin to show and model what that change looks like. Actions speak louder than words.


You play a key role in building bridges and reaching out to others to find common ground. Unity can’t be legislated or demanded by any law or government. Unity is born out of a desire to live in understanding with others. Even when there is disagreement and differing points of view there can be respect, honor and unity.

Work Hard

Hard work isn’t dependent on anyone else except you. It doesn’t matter who occupies a public office, you have the opportunity to rise up and carve out your place through hard work. Patience, persistence and perspiration are three things that will get you further than solely relying on your skills.

Golden Rule

The golden rule has always been the best way and will always be the best way – treat others how you want to be treated. If there is any one thing that you should have walked away with from this election it should be this. If you want to stand out and have a positive impact on those around you, treat them how you want to be treated.

What Do You Choose?

There are plenty of people, and maybe you are one, that believe the results of this election will totally upend your life for good or bad. At the end of the day you have the ability and the right to choose how you respond to the results. Your future is in your hands.

Take responsibility and let change begin in and with you. Be intentional about building relationships with those who share different beliefs and opinions. Work hard and when you feel like you have worked hard, work harder. And lastly treat others with respect, honor and how you want to be treated.

3 Things You Need More Than Skill To Succeed

3 Things You Need More Than Skill To SucceedThis post is part of the Last 100 Days of 2016 Series. As of today there are 60 days left in 2016, what will you do with them?

You may have the degree, knowledge and skills but if you are missing these three critical traits all of that won’t be enough. It’s one thing to know and understand the things you’ve been taught but life gets real, real quick, when the rubber meets the road. There are three things you must possess and practice IN ADDITION to your knowledge and skills.

Napoleon Hill said, “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”


There’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s not a magic pill or silver bullet that launches you into your dream life. There isn’t a shortcut or formula that allows you to fast forward into success. The bottom line and what no one likes to hear is that life will always require you to be patient and that’s not a bad thing.

When satisfaction is delayed the appreciation you feel and gratification you have means a lot more. When you have to wait for something it forces you to come up with creative alternatives. Change your perspective on patience and let patience change your perspective.


The ability to stick with something has become a rare commodity. Where are those still say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going?” Do you let yourself off to easy when something becomes too challenging? Do you back down when things don’t go your way? Have you thrown up your hands and “surrendered” when you can’t do something?

It’s a hard fact but life requires you to become persistent. Whether you like it or not you have to develop persistence in life. Persistence begins in your mind and makes the decision, over and over again that you will not quit, that you will not give up.


Hustle and grind may be overused and considered cliche’ but they are still great words to describe what you have to do day in and day out to succeed in anything. Life requires hard work. To become successful in anything; job, relationships, finances or health it’s going to take sacrifice, hard work and perspiration.

When it comes to perspiration and productivity Jim Rohn says, “You won’t be happy if you don’t produce. The game of life is not rest. Yes, we must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity.”

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying ignoring your loved ones and trading your health for longer hours on the job is what you need to be doing seven days a week. No doubt, there are seasons throughout life that require long hours. There are times in our life that will require more sacrifice than others. But, those seasons are just that, a season and seasons change.

Make The Decision

Make the decision right now, maybe even say it out loud, that you will embrace patience, become persistent and sweat to achieve what you set out too. You have it in you, don’t hold back, push through resistance to see what happens when these three things become part of who you are and how you approach life.



Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

One of the top reasons I started getting serious about my health a couple of years ago was because I was becoming less and less effective at my job. My position is very demanding and requires a lot of mental and physical stamina. I’m involved in the online marketing world which requires you to continually learn and adapt to new things and if you aren’t totally engaged you fall behind. My employer hired me and was paying me to deliver, but because of my extremely poor diet and lack of exercise I was unable to keep my end of the deal.

I felt terrible and honestly had a lot of guilt because my choices impacted my employer in a negative way. My choices made me overweight with zero energy to perform my job.

Brain Fog

The effect that my diet and lack of exercise had on my brain was noticeable, not only to me but others including my bosses. For too many years I brushed off the impact that the food I was eating was having on my brain. For the majority of my professional career my days began with the ritual of stopping at a convenience store or fast food joint. I remember when I would begin my days with a slice of breakfast pizza and a Diet Coke. The initial taste and rush that food would bring was great. Seriously, the taste and feeling it would give me was amazing. But, within two hours I would crash hard, I was no good to myself or anyone else.

In a recent Harvard research study the following was reported

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.

When your digestive system is filled with the wrong foods it impacts everything. For me, my brain was in a literal fog by the time I would get to work. It was extremely hard for me to concentrate on the tasks at hand. I would sit in meetings and at times be in a stupor, not engaging or contributing because my brain was in such a fog.

Wrong Fuel In The Tank!

When you start to pay attention to the fuel (the food) you put in the tank (your body) you start to realize just how much it impacts every part of your life. I began removing sugars (carbohydrates) and processed foods and within days started to notice a difference. When I started to eat a “clean diet” I started to reap the benefits of more energy and clear thinking within a few weeks.

Three Reasons Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

  1. They pay you to do a job and deliver results; poor health = poor results.
  2. They provide you with health benefits – the less you have to use your health insurance the better for everyone.
  3. They are connected with your current and future success – the healthier you are, the better you perform and the better their bottom line is and the more you are rewarded.

There are more than three reason, and I’ll talk more about those in the future, but for now those three will do.

So, what are you going to do? Are you going to become healthier so that your career and employer are better?

Your employer deserves your best and you deserve the results of doing your best.

So…do it!

Success Is Found When You Are Being YOU!

being who you are is your competitive advantage

Who Are YOU?

Earlier this week I was listening to Andy Frisella’s latest podcast and he made this quote, “Being who you are is your competitive advantage”. It’s funny, actually sad, that when you were young your number one goal was to fit in, to make friends by doing the “cool” things, to do whatever it took to blend in and be accepted into whatever crowd you had your sights on.

Identity Crisis

Instead of growing up secure in your own identity and confident with your own personality you grew up and, in many cases, are still trying to figure out “WHO” you are. Let me encourage you today – throw off the mindset of trying to be who “THEY” think you should be and be who YOU are. In the end YOU will be noticed, accepted and find your place of success and fulfillment because you are being you and that IS YOUR competitive advantage.

Take A Chance On Yourself

When you make the decision to cooperate with your strengths and personality you will find success. When you stop trying to fit into someone else’s perception of you, you will find success. When you stop trying to cram a square peg (YOU) into a round hole (NOT YOUR STRENGTH) and focus on what you do well you’ll stop living in anxiety and fear and start living in your own success.