My Name is Doug, I’m 33 years old. I decided to write this blog to document my journey to physical and mental wholeness. Here is my story about what has brought me to this point in my life.
At the age of 31 I finally decided to join the military, the only problem with this plan was that I was 250 lbs. at 5’8” which was way over the weight limit requirements; I needed to lose 70 lbs. I had been out of shape my entire life at this point and I needed to refocus so I could accomplish what I wanted in life. My first step was to start an exercising regimen. So I decided to sign up for a gym membership knowing that if I was spending the money this would motivate me more than anything to continue going. I ended up signing a 2 year contract because this would give me enough time to meet my goals in a healthy way. After the first few weeks I wasn’t showing that much progress and I was getting discouraged. I wasn’t expecting a miracle but I wanted to at least see a little drop in weight. One of the guys who was a regular at the gym saw me working out and came over to give me pointers and techniques to use at the gym. I told him that I was feeling discouraged about my lack of progress and he assured me that if I just gave it time I would start seeing results. He asked me about my diet, what I was both eating and drinking. I told him that I ate a lot of fried foods and that I mostly drank soda (I was drinking over 2 liters of Mountain Dew a day!). The first thing he told me was to cut out the soda. He told me that not only was the sugar intake bad for my weight loss but, that drinking that much soda would contribute to brittle bones later on in life. This was a struggle for me because I was totally addicted to drinking soda and I never thought I would be able to cut it out of my life, but since I knew I needed to make sacrifices I cut my soda drinking down to 1 20 oz. per week. Two weeks after I made this change and with continued workouts at the gym, I had lost 15 lbs. I was finally seeing results! After seeing the progress I made from cutting down my soda intake I decided to change my diet as well. I began eating much healthier, I stopped eating fried foods and greasy fast food and began eating more baked chicken, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. Within 3 months I was down to 215 lbs. and I went from bench pressing 115 lbs. to 185 lbs.! Unfortunately, when I was finally seeing some major progress I injured my wrist and was forced to limit what I could do at the gym, but I continued to eat right and drink a lot of water. It took my wrist 9 months to heal to the point where I could get back to weightlifting. During this 9 month period I plateaued at 215 lbs. and I was beginning to get discouraged again. Once my injury had healed and I was back to weightlifting, I met a woman that I had an intense connection with and we started dating seriously. At this time my focus was on maintaining my health and getting to know her, and my goal of joining the military had faded into the background. Our relationship was developing quickly and became serious enough that we were having talks about our future together. One day we were sitting in a park that was right next to an air force base. I told her that I had wanted to join the military before we met and that I was giving serious consideration to pursuing it again. She was totally on board with whatever I wanted to do and supported me completely. We moved in together about 4 months after we started dating and at this point I was getting my focus back. I was looking to the future and starting a family with her and I knew I wanted to provide a good life for us. I was down to 200 lbs. and I couldn’t seem to lose any more weight. I knew I had to do more to accomplish my goal so I decided to start running. I started out running a mile and a half 4-5 days a week. It was extremely difficult at first. I would run for a little bit and then have to walk to catch my breath then run a little bit more then walk, and so on and so forth. I decided to make the experience fun by challenging myself. I started using a stop watch to time myself and each day I would try to run more than walk to shorten the time it took me to run the mile and a half. The first time I used the stop watch I ran for 22 minutes. After 2 months I was able to run the mile and a half in 14 minutes and I had dropped down to 180 lbs. At this point I was physically and mentally where I needed to be and I decided to go talk to a recruiter with the Navy. They immediately started the process of getting me enlisted and told me I would need to take the ASVAB test. This was a challenge for me as I haven’t been in school for over 14 years and I really had to buckle down and study hard in a short 2 week period. I ended up scoring a 72 on the ASVAB which was a good score considering the short amount of time I had to study. After getting my score back it was time to go to MEPS for my physical assessment. This was the part that made me the most anxious, because this was a test that would determine if all the hard work I had done for the last 2 years would pay off. When I went in to see the liaison I found out that I had passed all of the physical tests but there was an issue with my hearing test. They wanted me to spend a few days wearing earplugs and staying away from loud noises to protect my hearing and reassess after that. I went back in and was tested again and my hearing had improved but not enough to pass and they were determining if they would sign a waiver to let me in anyways. During the time that I was awaiting the news about the waiver my girlfriend and I got married. Shortly after the wedding I received news from the recruiter that they were not going to give me a waiver and that this disqualified me from joining the Navy.
Even though I’m disappointed about not being able to get in after about 2 years of preparing myself for this, I proved to myself that I could set my mind to do something and that I had the strength to persevere and see it through. I lost the 80 lbs. I had set out to lose, I gained a loving and supporting wife and I’m sure that other doors will be opened to me in the future. Until then I hope that someone reads my story and it gives them the will to push forward and pursue their goals no matter what life throws their way.