I recently received a wonderful thank-you letter from a client of mine who lost 150 pounds in just eight months! I thought I'd share his story with you because much of what he went through is such a common experience. The difference is that, unlike Michael, some people never truly gain the clarity to see how their choices bring them to a place they don't want to be. They are bound to repeat the negative pattern, since they don't recognize it. It's my hope that through reading Michael's story, you'll gain insight into how you can change your life as Mike has changed his!
Michael Brangle was an active child and young adult. He played sports, cycled and inline skated. He lived a life in stark contrast to the one I led as an obese teen. Michael was fit and popular, whereas I had never played a sport. You would think that he had been destined to be fit and healthy throughout his life, but he changed direction in 2006. He began spending more time taking courses and doing extra work to further his career. He had always been ambitious and felt he was living below his potential professionally. As I see in so many cases, his mental focus shifted slightly from taking care of himself to taking care of his business. For others, it might be shifting to taking care of their kids or their spouse, or older parents, or anything else that takes a lot of time and effort. That slight shift, while it can seem trivial at the start, can end up taking you far off your planned course. It's ironic, because in order to be an effective financial leader, you must be healthy and feel good, but he, like so many others, didn't realize that until he had already lost the good health he had.
The additional coursework began to overwhelm him. He found he was exercising less while eating more, ever more spontaneously and mindlessly. Have you been there? As he made it through his courses, he earned more credentials, progressed steadily in his career, gaining even more responsibilities -- and weight. His career progression meant he had to travel more. What little working out and sports playing he had still taken part in, he soon stopped. He lived out of a suitcase, eating fast food and hosting food-oriented sales meetings. He felt he was too busy to exercise, but he was definitely not too busy to eat. His portion sizes got as out of control as his food choices, and before long he discovered he weighed 348 pounds! He became short of breath simply shampooing his hair. Tasks that he hadn't even considered an effort became almost insurmountable.
To make a change in their lives, I find that people need to reach a breaking point, where to continue on the path they're traveling causes them more pain than their perception of the pain of change. For Michael Brangle, the breaking point came as he conducted meetings. Ironically, though the effort he put into his career brought about his obesity, his obesity began affecting his career. He found as he sweated through his presentations, he began thinking more about what his colleagues thought of him and less about the content he was delivering. He started to experience panic and anxiety at the thought of being in front of others, whereas earlier he had thrown himself to any opportunity he encountered! His weight began to own him rather than he owning it.
While many friends and family members had tried to encourage him to lose weight, invited him to exercise and discussed diets with him, he was not yet ready to commit to change. He just felt it was too much, that he was too far gone. Have you felt that way? That you're just too old, too fat, or too unhealthy to change? His father had told him about my program and my success with many clients who each lost over 100 pounds, but Michael felt since he lived in Indianapolis and my office is in St. Louis, it just would not work. What we train ourselves to look for, we find. His mind was so conditioned and trained to think about why nothing would work, it gave him data to support that notion everywhere he looked.
In fall of 2011, divine providence stepped into Michael's life. While eating a bag of Cheetos in bed, he happened to see an amazing before-and-after picture a friend had posted on Facebook. As it turned out, his friend had worked with me, and had lost a significant amount of weight. This friend had such a similar life to Michael's -- extensive travel, no exercise, living in hotels, hosting food-filled sales meetings with fast food in between -- Michael would never have thought this friend could have been disciplined enough to lose all that weight. He knew if his friend could do it, then he could do it.
Michael called me that day, and came to see me the very next day. I taught him that success in my program is like a three-legged stool -- the first leg is what you eat, the second is exercise, and the third leg, the most important leg, is what most diet and exercise plans ignore: the mindset. If any one of those legs is out of balance, then the stool comes crashing down. Together we worked to make Michael accountable, to craft a plan that works with his life, and to give him the mindset to make the right decisions with food and exercise. Michael replaced his unhealthy eating and exercise habits with positive, healthy, well-thought-out habits.
Not only has Michael lost 158 pounds in just under one year, he has realized much greater success. He says while he is smaller physically, he is a much bigger and more positive person emotionally and psychologically. This success has flowed through his personal and professional life. He's back to feeling confident, cycling, and doing the things he had enjoyed up to the point he lost his focus and made other things more important than his health. And one of the most rewarding aspects of his transformation has been the way his weight loss has impacted and inspired others. Just as his friend proved to Michael that it could be done, Michael has now inspired others to take control of their health.
Often, it's not until some traumatic, urgent, life-shaking health situation arises that we think about how we are (or aren't) caring for our body, spirit, and mind. It's my hope that you recognize that all you have is the present -- this moment right now -- to decide what the course of your life will be. Will you let it continue to run on its own, while you feel hopeless and a victim to the circumstances you "find" yourself in? Or will you begin to chart a course as Michael has, getting excited again about the gift of life God has given you, the abilities and talents that only you possess, and the mission you're meant to fulfill? Make today the day that will change your life and through that change, change the lives of others. Let Michael's story now inspire you to take control of your health and, ultimately, your destiny!
Michael Brangle, age 42
Starting weight: 348 pounds, October 2011
Suit size: 56
Pants size: 52
Current weight: 190 pounds, reached June 2012
Suit size: 44
Pants size: 34-36
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