I found Roger in one of my DietBet Weight Loss games. He’s a fellow marathon runner as well and very, very active. Somehow, I stumbled upon a video of his transformation and was like…”WHAAAT?” It’s like jaw dropping. Let’s cut to the chase, here’s the Before & After:
Change in life is hard. Even the smallest of changes, trust me, I know. So what does it take for someone to do a full 180? To go from obese to Boston Marathon runner? I wanted to know! And if I wanted to know, I must assume you do as well!
Check out the original video:
Did your jaw drop like mine did? Do you wonder how he really did it? If so, I’ve got good news because I took full advantage of his willingness to share his story and maxed out the brain picking with these 10 questions. They are all hyperlinked so you can jump around if that makes it easier. Enjoy!
Here’s what I wanted to know:
- What made the day you decided to go for that first run, the day that changed the rest of your life? How was it different than any other day in the past?
- Had you tried to lose weight in the past? If so, how was this attempt different?
- What was your largest hurdle to getting started? How did you overcome that?
- What has been the largest hurdle to staying consistent for so long? How are you continuing to overcome that?
- What has brought you the most joy/has been most rewarding since making this transformation?
- Who has had the largest impact on you throughout this journey?
- Of all the marathons you’ve run, which course is your favorite? Least favorite?
- If you had to do it all over again, go back to day 1, what (if anything) would you do differently?
- You’ve already achieved so much, but looking forward, what are your future health and happiness goals?
- If you had advice for anybody looking to achieve a similar result, what would you tell them to do? How would you encourage them to get started?
Well that’s a tall order of questions, so get ready, this is a long interview. But you’ll get a return on your time investment. These are words straight from the mind and mouth of someone who did something amazing. This is not “in theory” this is “in practice.” It’s real. It’s incredible. And it could happen to any one of us. I hope you enjoy his insight as much as I did.
What made the day you decided to go for that first run, the day that changed the rest of your life? How was it different than any other day in the past?
We were lucky enough to get this quick video along with this question — but his written answer is below as well.
I had developed a mindset that I was going to be training for the Boston Marathon. I had also come to the realization that I had to change my life and believed that this was my last chance.
My friend Rick, who volunteered to become my trainer, gave me an assignment of walking three miles every day for a week. Walking three miles might not seem like a very daunting task, but for me, someone who had never really exercised or walked a mile in the last 30 years, it might as well have been a marathon.
It took me over an hour to walk those three miles but I knew at that point that I could meet any goal. I knew that nothing was impossible. People ask me when I could run the Boston Marathon…it was on that day.
Had you tried to lose weight in the past? If so, how was this attempt different?
I had tried hundreds of diets, weight watchers 4 times, hypnosis, commercial diet plans and exercise equipment advertised on TV, pills, shakes, etc. After all of those failed, I went to a mandatory seminar about having gastric bypass surgery. I walked in telling myself that this was the ultimate solution, and walked out knowing I needed to do something else.
Instead of focusing on a specific weight loss goal, a number on a scale that was never met, I had a specific goal with a specific date on a calendar. In addition, I now had an obligation to my wife, to Rick, to my niece Julia who has Cystic Fibrosis, and many others who learned of my story.
What was your largest hurdle to getting started? How did you overcome that?
I think, like any weight loss attempt I had embarked upon in the past, getting started was actually the easiest part of the attempt. Like everyone else I assume, you tell yourself “This time it’s going to work” at every new weight loss attempt. Optimism will always prevail before any battle.
The largest hurdle was sticking to it, not faltering and eventually failing like every other attempt. Unlike most previous weight loss attempts, I forced myself to make my intentions public knowledge to everyone that would listen. In the end it was easier running 26.2 miles than to face a humiliating defeat…again.
What has been the largest hurdle to staying consistent for so long? How are you continuing to overcome that?
Putting the weight back on. Even though I lost a lot of weight and know what I need to eat in order to stay healthy, the desire to eat “bad foods” still lurks in the back of my mind. But unlike a restrictive diet I am realistic that I am going to go out and live life so I attempt to balance the bad foods every once in a while with that majority of good foods the other time.
In addition, I continually force myself to be in training for a marathon, either one with someone who has seen my video and reached out to me for help, to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis community or to run a race in a place I normally wouldn’t have visited.
Finally, due to the popularity of the video, I always tell myself that I don’t want anyone that has watched it to say “Well he put the weight back on so why even attempt it”. I almost feel like I have an obligation to others that you can change your life and continue on that new path for the rest of your life.
What has brought you the most joy/has been most rewarding since making this transformation?
The list is truly endless but a few things stick out.
After I ran my first marathon I had a party for everyone who supported me. I walked into a standing ovation of the most important people in my life and gave a small speech thanking everyone including my niece Julia. After the party, my sister in law came up to me and told me Julia said “I never realized how much uncle Roger loved me.” Still get chocked up about that one.
I ran the San Francisco Marathon. Twice. On the same day 30 minutes apart. I started at midnight in one direction and then we joined the regular marathoners to run the course in the other direction. It was extremely hot, I was overheating and just felt miserable after running almost 52 miles. With about 1/2 mile to go, I heard someone say “Are you Roger?”. Surprised I turned to see a runner beside me who answered his own question by continuing “I just want you to know that because of your video, I am running my first marathon. Thank you!”. At that point any pain that I was feeling left my body. We picked up the pace and crossed the finish line together.
There are many other instances that I won’t go into but each time someone thanks me, I honestly feel blessed to have been given this opportunity. To this day I still receive emails from people that have been touched by my video in one way or another and each one makes me smile and happy that I took my first step out the door that day.
Who has had the largest impact on you throughout this journey?
Again the list is endless. Julia will always be my inspiration to continue moving forward. She faces adversity every day but it’s rare to not see a smile on her face. My wife Mary who always accepted and loved me, regardless of my weight. Rick, who never gave up on me and unselfishly never took took a penny for everything he did. Those are just a few.
Of all the marathons you’ve run, which course is your favorite? Least favorite?
Each one is special for a number of different reasons. Obviously Boston holds a very special place in my heart because without it, I would never have changed my life and would not be writing these words. It is legendary and I am honored to be able to say that I have now run it 4 times.
London stands out for a number of reasons. First it’s London and as I was running it, I felt like I was running through history. Even though the vast majority of the local runners receive a “ballot” through the lottery, I was surprised to hear that approximately 75% of the runners run for a charity, even though they don’t have to. As one person said to me when I stupidly asked “Why?”, “When we tell people that we are running the marathon, the first question they ask is ‘For what charity?'” Their primary objective is to help others rather than themselves. Lesson learned. I have pretty much run all of the largest marathons in the world and without questions, the spectator support was incredible.
As far as least favorite, I usually tell people it’s the one I’m about to run right as I cross the starting line because I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. Once I cross the finish line, it then immediately becomes my favorite. About a day later it gets placed with all the others in various types of order for one reason or another.
If you had to do it all over again, go back to day 1, what (if anything) would you do differently?
Very simple. I would not have waited until I was 47 years old to start. Looking back, I missed so much because I was morbidly obese. There’s no question I did harm to my body physically, but more importantly, mentally. Outside I was viewed as a happy and gregarious person but inside I was pretty much the opposite. Tough to admit but true.
You’ve already achieved so much, but looking forward, what are your future health and happiness goals?
I continue to run marathons and usually have some planned out as far a couple of years. I also continue to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis and do what I can to make everyone who suffers from it, a better life. I have been writing a book for several years and someday I will get it finished. It is my passion in life to help others learn from my example and if it helps just one other person then my story has served it’s purpose.
If you had advice for anybody looking to achieve a similar result, what would you tell them to do? How would you encourage them to get started?
You need to move yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself harder than you thought you could go. When I was morbidly obese, I constantly joined numerous gyms and at each one, once I broke a sweat which was usually in about 10-20 minutes of very easy “working out,” I decided that was enough. I would go home and reward myself, ironically eating many more calories than I had just burned. After a few weeks of “working out” and not seeing results, I became disappointed.
Eventually I would give up, convincing myself that it wasn’t my fault, instead blaming it on my metabolism, the family “fat gene,” an imagined injury that really wasn’t an injury but the body trying to get used to being used differently and a plethora of other excuses I could come up with to defend my growing obesity.
Did I have lots of aches and pains as I increased the amount of exercise? Absolutely, but I worked through them and eventually they went away. Did I love to eat bad foods? Pretty much everyone does but make it an exception and not the rule. Think of food as fuel to work out more and maintain a healthy body that needs to take you to the end of your life. If you don’t take care of a car, it WILL die an early life. But unlike a car, you CAN’T buy a new life. You get one and that’s it!
Just as I did, set a goal other than weight loss, put it in front of you, commit yourself to that goal and for the first time in your life don’t accept excuses. Trust me, running a 5K or a marathon or accomplishing anything you set as a goal, will change your life!
Thank you Roger for sharing your story and congratulations on your amazing success!
Are you next?
Or do you already have a transformation story to share and inspire others?
I’d LOVE to hear it!
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