The road to the challenge began about a year ago, when I was diagnosed with some health issues. I was very fortunate to discover thyroid cancer and be treated in the early stages. I think sometimes this wake-up call was a blessing. I am now a regular at the gym, received professional training and gained the confidence to join the body challenge.

Less than a year ago I weighed almost two hundred-fifty pounds, on a five foot nine inch frame. I felt terrible, I didn’t sleep well and pushing a lawn mower in the summer was the extent of my exercise plan. After most of my thyroid was removed, I was repeatedly told that I would gain at least twenty pounds and wouldn’t be able to take it off..ever! I knew I had to take control of my life and my weight before I lost further control.

After a few months of training with Linda, I got into a fitness routine. Linda told me about the challenge and we both thought it would be a great motivator to help me on my journey to better health and weight. I never would have believed how much I would learn about nutrition and what I would accomplish during the last few months. I had some plateaus along the way but life is always going to have challenges, and I learned how to handle and overcome them.

Prior to the challenge, junk food, cookies and chips to got me through stressful days. Now, I always keep fruit and yogurt around as a healthy snack. I am eating more often, and I don’t get the hunger that I did before. Work lunches continue to be an important part of the job, but now my choices are sensible. Even my after work exercise routine is an enjoyable part of unwinding from my day. I feel like I am missing out, when I don’t go to the gym! Now my hard routines are now easy day routines. I have more energy and my wife is very happy to have the husband she married back.

My wife and I have also changed our morning routine with a healthy breakfast every day. I now read food labels, look at more than just the calories, and am starting to understand nutrition much better.

I knew my lifestyle has changed permanently when I took a week’s vacation towards the end of the challenge. I ate sensible, healthy meals, but never felt like I was depriving myself. It was also the first time I made a point of visiting the hotel gym during a vacation. It felt great knowing I could maintain my progress, while away on vacation.

These changes to my life are permanent! I know that those empty calories will just make me feel bad, and put on pounds. It feels great to walk into the gym and have a reputation as “a regular”. The support from Linda and C.J. was incredible. Linda did a great job of motivating us and helping Mt. Pleasant become “the best” team. Although we only had three members participating, we always encouraged and supported each other while visiting the gym. I would never have been able to accomplish this journey without my guide, Linda. Thanks for this life changing experience!