Get Fit with Cliff

Weight next to a workout mat | lifestyle | get fit | Photo by Sebastian Pociecha on Unsplash

Get Fit: A Call to Action

I remember the exact moment I realized my weight had gotten completely out of control. My (now) wife Melanie and I were going to carve pumpkins on a beautiful October weekend in Atlanta, GA. She had all the tools laid out on the floor of the house: two big gourds, a carving knife, ladle for scooping, and a hefty stack of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. As she invited me to sit down next to her to get started, I was suddenly overcome with embarrassment and anger. The worst part was, I didn’t exactly understand why.  All I knew was that the act of bending over, shifting my weight and squatting to the floor seemed too much to ask of me. The movement was uncomfortable, it made me self-conscious and all-too aware of how grossly out of shape I was.

To say I was out of shape is a gross understatement. In my mid-twenties, I was 365 pounds on a 6-foot frame, 100 pounds more than my heaviest days of playing high school football. I had always been a big guy, a characteristic that had served me well on the field, but this was ridiculous. The tremendous weight was one thing, but the myriad health issues that came with it was entirely another. My blood pressure and cholesterol were high, my testosterone and energy levels were low, and my self-confidence was nonexistent. I no longer fit into any of my old clothes, and everything I wore was newly purchased from the plus size section of TJ-Maxx.

Melanie’s reaction to my anger at being asked to do something as simple as sit on the floor was completely understandable, and absolutely heartbreaking. Here was the man she loved, unwilling (or unable) to accomplish a feat that most toddlers can do without a second thought. How would I play with our future children if the simple act of kneeling was beyond my capabilities? It was at this moment that I knew I had to do something, not just for Melanie, but for my own life.

Cliff at his heaviest weight | lifestyle | get fit | hearth health happiness
2012: Weighing in the mid-300s
Cliff after losing about 50 pounds and smiling | lifestyle | get fit | hearth health happiness
2017: Weighing closer to 300
Cliff in 2020 after a 100-lb weight loss | lifestyle | get fit | hearth health happiness
2019: Weighing in the mid-200s

The "get fit" journey is just beginning...

100 pounds later, I can tell you that the journey to get fit has not always been an easy one. I cannot draw a straight line from then up to now in order to chart my steps and actions. What I can say is that I immediately began to make small changes that (I hoped) would turn into big results. I started counting the calories of the food I ate, walking around my neighborhood whenever I could, and limiting the amount of alcohol and empty calories I consumed. Eventually, as I lost more weight and was able to gain some control over my body’s movement, I incorporated weights and kettlebells into my regimen, the latter of which has been a fitness gamechanger for me. But, more than anything, I tried to never let one slip up or bad meal keep me from getting right back on the horse.

“I no longer fit into any of my old clothes, and everything I wore was newly purchased from the plus size section of TJ-Maxx.”

I’m thankful for Melanie giving me this opportunity to talk about my weight loss journey, because over the past years I’ve spent so much time doing it that I never really gave much thought to how I did it. I still have another forty pounds of fat to lose, and in my mind, I still sometimes feel like that morbidly obese twenty-something with no self-esteem. But if my story can help anyone realize that their fitness goals are within reach, no matter how big they are, then I consider myself beyond lucky to share it. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: if I can do it, then anyone can. And, just to help you kick start your journey, check out one of my favorite healthier recipes: Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Tenders. 

Ready to get moving? Here’s my favorite app to track workouts:

Can’t wait to take this journey with YOU! 

pinterest pin for cliff gets fit with kettlebell sitting in grass | lifestyle | hearth health happiness

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