Over the past year, my life took an unexpected turn that forced me to completely rethink the way I approached my diet. It wasn't just a matter of personal preference or health; it was a matter of survival. Living in constant pain due to a back injury and other work-related issues, including a partially torn labrum, knee sprains, and bulging disks in my thoracic spine, became my harsh reality.
Excruciating Pain : The Journey Into Darkness
Being co-owner of a freelance media company called The Blueline Bowhunters, I struggled to find the ambition and drive I once had to create the high quality content we were known to produce. Any movement or carrying items, including a camera, had me in agonizing pain. I took to the couch to find comfort where I began to watch my self and my dreams fade away. It affected every inch of my life and as a result, the journey into darkness was swift.
"I initially thought I was having a heart attack! The pain put me in the emergency room more than once. It felt as if a hot piece of rebar was being driven through the center of my pack and into my heart. I couldn't do the things that I thought made me a man. It killed me to curt the grass, carry logs to the fire, or paint a room of the house, hell it even hurt looking down at a frying pan on the stove. I'd find a somewhat comfortable position on the couch and stay there all day and melt away along with all of my dreams."
No Excuses, Only Choices
Like many first responders, my diet consisted of convenience foods from gas stations and fast-food joints. Subway sandwiches, hot wings, pizza, and a constant flow of junk food became my norm at work and at home. The combination of this diet, along with my injuries and lack of physical activity, led me down a destructive path.
It's easy to make excuses for not preparing meals, whether it's due to time constraints, lack of knowledge, or sheer laziness. I learned the hard way that these excuses can have severe consequences. Over the past year, I've transformed not just my body but my mind and nervous system. I'm speaking from experience and I'm emerging from a place of profound darkness.
I started by holding myself accountable. The first week of my transformation I started with 20 minute walks on a local trail and tracking my food intake on an app called "My Fitness Pal." I also cut out nearly ALL processed sugar for the first few months. This was hands down where I saw the biggest difference in my pain levels due to the inflammation that sugar causes. That in combination of stretching and working on mobility for about an hour everyday, I began to see some major changes.
Unneeded Negativity : Who Are Your Friends And What Social Media Content Do You Consume?
When I say that I went "ALL IN", I mean that 100%. I started to look at who my friends were and the personalities I surrounded myself with. I looked at who the negative individuals were in my live and I completely cut them out, PERIOD. When you're coming from a place so dark, you don't need to navigate around some of the things that put you there in the first place. I knew deep down that I needed to become an absolute animal mentally and that's exactly what I became. I knew that people would talk shit and I was ready for it. I welcomed it because I knew what it meant, that I was headed in the right direction.
I began to also look at the content I was consuming on my phone. Sure, we all fall into that social scrolling and it can be a deep rabbit hole of total senseless and pointless bullshit. I started to follow and tailor my social media accounts to show the profiles I gained motivation and inspiration from people like David Goggins, Cameron Hanes, Andy Frisella, Bedros Keuilian, Justin Stringer, Sean Whalen, Matt Graham, Dana White, and Rob Bailey to name a few. Their stories and videos filled my social feeds which was needed for a mind shift. When you lack the people in your personal life that can help make that shift, you must open your horizons on where you'll find the fuel and this is a good start.
Starting from the left to right:
The Journey To Health : Embracing Transformation
In a world saturated with processed foods and mystery ingredients, I embarked on a journey that went beyond the mere act of securing sustenance. Enter the realm of venison – a protein-packed bounty from untamed landscapes where the heart pounds as fiercely as the bowstring release.
Closely following the footsteps of the legendary bowhunter, Cameron Hanes, I discovered the profound impact of what eating healthy and physically pushing my limits has on my well-being. It's not just about getting in shape; it's about embracing transformation. Venison, with its rich nutritional profile, became a cornerstone in rebuilding muscle while not having to worry about the multitude of hormones, antibiotics and whatever else is injected into my store-bought protein of choice.
The Never Ending Journey: Once You Start There's No Going Back
Often times people will start a diet or go on a few runs but succumb to wanting comfort once again. They have to realize that the comfort they perceive is simply that. It's perceived because they're ultimately hurting themselves more by laying stagnant on the couch, scrolling meaningless social media posts, indulging in the Alfredo soaked pasta, pizza and fried chicken or drinking theirselves senseless on the weekends. Comforting and fulfilling now? Maybe to them. The way I see it, is that they'll still be on the couch watching me climb Mt. Whitney from their four inch phone screen come July.
If I had it my way, I'd want people to gain the slightest amount of motivation, find some discipline and wake up with a completely new mindset after reading this post. I hope they take the appropriate steps outlined in this post to give themselves a fighting chance to live a fulfilling, adventurous and healthy lifestyle. One they normally read about but mumble "I could never do that". That's ultimately where the problem lies... Whatever you believe is what you'll become. Hence the reason why I threw away the people that TOLD ME what I was because they were used to the old me and couldn't get over it. They hit the trashcan like a piece of lint and I'm not sorry.
Necessary Changes : Where I'm At Now And You Can Do It Too.
Over the last year, I made the necessary changes to get to where I am now. I now weigh 170 lbs. Nearly 45 lbs down from the 214 lbs I started at in February of 2023. I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm setting larger than life goals that I promise you I'll hit. It took everything I had to finally get to where I'm at now. Every inch of my mind, heart and soul was utilized. Once you find your reasons to make those changes for yourself, I have no doubt that you will be able to do it too. I still have pain and there's always going to be a struggle in some aspect of my life but I completely changed how I react to those things now.
I Hope This Makes It To The Right Readers : To Those That Need It
I wrote this with the hopes that it will find the people that NEED to read it. If you know someone struggling physically or mentally, often times they go hand in hand, but send this story to them. However, you may never know who is struggling so the more this post is shared, the better the overall outcome. I have multiple links throughout this post linked to the website associated with the photo or words. For example, the folks I drew inspiration from or the supplements I used. It's all free information that I hope has the possibility to change someone's life. Hell, you might be the one that needed this read the most. Just know that I believe in you and that I'm here to help. Now choose your hard and LFG!