The story below exemplifies what IAM23 promotes. Jay Whitacre and I served in the same Battalion, and his story show’s the extent of suffering many of us experience. However, the decision to NOT suffer, or become the next statistic speaks volumes in terms of the inner strength we all have. Finding the way toward your own path is often the most difficult journey, however just as with Jay… if we learn to trust ourselves and take that first step the results are literally transforming!!
As an infantryman I was always looking for an opportunity to show how brave I was. I knew in my heart that I would have no problem putting my life on the line for others. What I did not expect, however, was how I would react to human suffering. In 2005 while I was deployed to Iraq I witnessed this firsthand. That event, coupled with the difficulty of transitioning to a civilian role…I spiraled out of control. Alcohol, food, and 10 years later, I allowed myself to reach 370 pounds. Even though I had given up on life and thought of suicide, I could never do that to my family. But I wasn’t alive either.
This past July, I could feel a life altering event making my decision for me, and decided if I wasn’t going to give in to suicide, I was going to put in the work. I started going to the gym (I mean I already had paid 4 years at this point, lol). I started doing meal prep, counting calories, and cut out all liquid calories. From July to December, 5 days a week I was in the gym doing strength training. I didn’t do any cardio because I’ve seen too many others blow out an ACL or something because of weakness and putting too much strain on their joints. I went from 370 to 343. Beginning of January I started doing cardio at the end of my workouts…I felt I had gained enough muscle. I’m happy to say that from January to July I’ve gone from 343 to 245 lbs. Yes, that is 98 lbs in 6 months, and 125 lbs in a year.
This post is not specifically to bring awareness to the 22 veteran lives that are lost every day to suicide. This post is for anyone dealing with PTSD, depression or mental illness. So often we get discouraged by others choices to commit suicide (I miss you Dom), I felt we need to hear some success stories. My before picture is embarrassing AF (so is my bathroom for that matter), but if it helps motivate even one person to get off their ass and change then I feel my embarrassment is worth it. If I can do it, you can do it (insert Shia LaBeouf gif).
If you have any questions about fitness or nutrition, shoot me a message. If you are having thoughts of suicide please reach out to me or someone else.
1-800-273-TALK (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
1-800-273-8255 (The Veterans Crisis Line)