I can remember being about 9 years old, shopping with my mother in the department store. As if that wasn’t bad enough for a 4th grader trying to prove his coolness to the world. The real horror of the event came when, in front of everyone, she exlaims how I’m shopping in the wrong area and need to come over to the ‘husky’ size. Husky? The nice word for young chubby boys. The feeling hit me in the pit of my stomach. I would sit in my room at night with pencil and paper, I’d draw an optimal physique; one that I wished I had. I wasn’t athletic nor was I asthetic. I was portly. 

In highschool I was farm strong. I’d grown up on a farm and consistently worked out by throwing hay bales, carrying rocks, and woking in tobacco. This was just life on the farm. I had gone from husky to stocky. At least I had some muscle. So, by graduation I was 5’9″ and 166lbs. Things were starting to get better. My freshman year of college I fell in with a group of friends that were excited about working out. I thought I’d give that a whirl and fortunately I picked up a little more muscle but still, I was left with a one pack of flubber. 

By my later college career I’d picked up another 20lbs or so. My workout routine had no planning nor discipline. Sadly, I was still desiring to feel good about myself and become that picture I’d drawn as a child. Unfortunately that did not happen and I continued to gain. 

Fresh out of college and newly married, I’d entered the ministry full time. My lifestyle was suit and tie clad and pot luck dinners. Over the course of several years I became the worse I’d ever been. 5’9″ and 220lbs. XL shirts and squeezing into size 36’s. A long way away from my pencil scribbling of ‘fit’. 

Finally in 2012 I put an end once and for all with yo-yo dieting and excuses. I started with some HIIT routines, cut out sugar and liquid calories. It wasn’t the biggest step but it was a step in the right direction. It was enough for me to see some improvement and give me motivation to keep going. Soon I cleaned my diet a little more, going fairly ‘paleo’. I incorporated running and got good at it. Then came crossfit and next power lifting. My process was like the old saying, ‘eating an elephant’…one bite at a time. No rush,  just consistent. I lost a little over 60lbs and added muscle. 

Eventually I progressed to a low carb/high fat diet and was crosstraining daily. After going ketogenic I found something I’d been looking for since I was nine. A six pack. I was vascular, cut, and had the strength and endurance I’d never known in life. And older than I’d ever been. 

I’ve kept the weight off and have never been at risk of going back. No more yo-yo weight loss/gain. I’m 37 now and in the best shape of my life and still improving. 

My point is this. No one is where they want to be when they start, or else there’s no reason to start. But start you must. Starting is the first step to get you there. It’s not about how you start either. It won’t be perfect. You’ll progress and evolve. You’ll change and adapt as your goals become more attainable. I think what is important is how we finish. My goal now is not to be some fit beach body man hunk. It’s not to be the best or fasted or strongest. It’s simply to live functionally healthy the longest. I don’t care about six pack abs at 37…I want them 67!  I want longevity. I want to finish strong! 

Have you thought about your finish mark? What are you doing today that will grant you a better finish than your start? Don’t be discouraged about where you are now. I spent years, decades, not being where I wanted to be. The point is, a strong finish can make up for a weak start.