Originally published on 2-18-13
I have grown up in a family that even though we’re well intentioned we’re not always the healthiest. We like many others have fallen into a pattern of celebrating with food and drink and as a bonus since my folks own liquor stores; there’s been plenty of drinking. Each of us had our battles with weight and some of us have been more successful than others but this weekend we handed out our first ever “Most Improved Player” award.
My 25 year old brother Carlos has always been overweight, but since he’s been overweight since I can remember, from my perspective it never felt like such an overwhelming problem. I always thought he’s young; he’ll have time to fix himself up. During high school and parts of college Carlos was active but like most of America he let his health fall by the wayside.
Well about a year ago something clicked in his head and he started to drink less, eat right and workout. Slowly we all saw his transformation first it was -10 pounds, then -20 pounds, then -50 pounds and even -80 pounds.
Last fall when he had dropped 84 pounds he and I went skydiving as a celebration of life and accomplishment. It was truly exhilarating. As an added anxiety bonus, the weight maximum for someone Carlos’ height was 231 and when the sky diving attendance asked him to step on the scale to check his weight we both started at the digital numbers in anticipation and then then verdict was 228! We’re in. Tiger Woods arm pump! We both breathed a sigh of relief and suited up for the sky dive. Then we got nervous about the dive! We were so busy worrying about his weight we had forgotten to worry about dropping from 10,000 feet in the air!
A few weeks later at negative 90 pounds my brothers and our friend and I participated in a Tough Mudder race. It’s a 12 mile obstacle course with 25 military style like obstacles. We trekked through miles of mud, survived 3 electrocution obstacles (yes actual electrocution), scaled 20 foot walls, jumped in pools of water from 30 feet high and swam through ice cold 32 degree water, we felt exhilarated! It was nuts. But, Carlos’ being in shape was crucial to the team. Two people were Life Flighted from the race that day.
Then yesterday at -105 pounds he ran the Livestrong Austin running event and completed his first half marathon! He signed up of his own volition and trained old school with an ipod and some running shoes. Yesterday Carlos finished 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 7 minutes and solidified the age old adage; you can do anything you put your mind to.
What a privilege to see him grow and learn and discover a new found sense of pride and confidence.
To anyone who is out there reading this waiting to take the first step, don’t wait another second. Go reclaim your life. Take it.