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  1. I'll begin by introducing myself: I am 23 years old, six feet tall and weigh nearly 300 pounds. I currently live in Massachusetts with my parents, and go to a Community College nearby, majoring in Communications. At the moment, I write to you all from upstate New York, where I am working my annual summer job. My story, however, begins nearly a decade ago. When I was thirteen, my father, perhaps the biggest support in my life, gave me a picture frame with this quote in it : "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt I'm sure many of you have heard this quote, and have your own interpretations, perspectives and personal meanings associated with it. Here is my account of what I've associated with it for many years: I received this from my father one Christmas day in my teenage years, not a few months after failing to summit Mount Jefferson in New Hampshire. My Boy Scout troop took a three day weekend in order to set up camp on a Friday, hike it on Saturday, and leave on Sunday. Of the ten or so boys and four adults, I was the only one who didn't make it to the very top. My father, bless him, was one of the adults, urging me on as I trudged up that mountainside, hating myself for going on the trip and hating everyone else as they seemed to shoot up the trail. By the time I neared the summit, there were no trees to block the strong winds that nearly forced me off my feet. There were only the stones and pebbles underfoot that constantly shifted and slid downhill, making it that much harder to reach the top. With my heavy thoughts and heavy feet, I dug in and refused to continue, not even a hundred yards from the top. My father spent all of half an hour, shouting over the roaring winds, trying to convince me to make that last concerted effort to hit the peak. I'm sorry to say that I refused, and my father was forced to make that last leg alone because of my stubbornness. I gave myself all sorts of excuses why I couldn't make it: I was too tired, my feet hurt, the winds were too strong, etc. etc. etc. In any case, my father returned a few minutes later, and the entire group began our trek back to camp. When my father presented this to me, he included in the frame pictures of that trip, and I immediately associated myself with the critic, not the man in the arena as my father hoped. I was the one who attacked my own self-confidence in my abilities, and began a near decade long cycle of self-deprecation, giving up on my goals, and telling myself I was worthless for giving up on myself. I began finding more reasons to give up on completing important things, from schoolwork to other Boy Scout hikes, all the way to my own Eagle Scout project and college courses. All because I was stuck in a whirlpool of self-loathing and doubt that began back during that hike up a mountainside. For the longest time, this quote wasn't an affirmation of my struggles: it was a constant reminder that no matter how hard I tried, I was my own worst enemy and I would give up on myself before my efforts were rewarded. And despite my parents best efforts at trying to get me back on course, I would constantly sabotage myself because I knew I didn't deserve to succeed. That hike, back when I was just thirteen, shaped my life for nearly ten years. It has only been recently, after failing out of college and taking a year off, that I've begun to take an active role in turning my life around. I began taking classes again at a community college, two for the fall semester and once I passed them with flying colors, four in the spring. This past year, I took four courses both semesters, kept all of them in the A's and B's, and was promised an internship next fall at a local newspaper. Along with that, I've managed to cut off my depression medication and stay stable, and have started to realize something very important. While I may be my own worst enemy, I can also be my very best friend. All it takes is a little change to begin doing something right for yourself, and the first thing I did right was to take a year off of school. I realized during that time that I am worthy of my own attentions, and that the only way things are going to get better is if I stop getting in my own way. Obviously, that revelation hasn't just been a shining beacon that suddenly took all the hardships out of my life. During last fall, I got a job and subsequently lost it due to an idiosyncrasy of mine where I tell people only the good things and leave out the bad until it piles up enough that it's unavoidable. I also had to withdraw from one of my courses, although that was more because of the teacher than my own shortcomings. In any case, before I left home for the fifth summer in a row to head to upstate New York for my summer job, my father challenged me to do something about my health. Currently, I am six feet tall and nearly three hundred pounds, and I have been ever since I was about fifteen. I've tried, with very little results, to change my weight. Each time I've begun an exercise plan, within a week or two my motivation dropped off and the self-loathing cycle kicked in once again. This time, however, I have a secret weapon that will, hopefully, change the status quo. A friend of mine recently introduced me to this site and also dared me to complete a 6 week challenge with him. Although I haven't told him yet, I'm accepting his challenge, and setting a few goals for myself as well. Goals: 1.) Get below 250 pounds by the time I leave my summer job. 2.) Get below 200 pounds by Christmas. 3.) Modify my diet to include more vegetables and fruits, and fewer carbohydrates. 4.) Continue to build my self-esteem through completing challenges and not giving up halfway through. I'd like these goals to be my set-in-stone, no compromise objectives, although I'm sure I'll be setting smaller goals for myself along the way in order to attain these lofty aspirations. In the end, I'd like to make myself into the Man in the Arena, and stop being the critic holding myself back. I know I'll need all the help I can get, and so, I would like to ask for all of your support, encouragement, advice and knowledge in helping me leap from the stands into the stadium. For now, thanks for reading that looong introduction, and I look forwards to meeting and conversing with many of you as I begin this grand new undertaking.
  2. Greetings! As is clear, I am new here. I found out about Nerd Fitness through a link to Staci/Spezzy's story (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/07/21/meet-staci-your-new-powerlifting-super-hero/). For me, it completely hit home. I'm 23 and from Denmark. I'm studying Medialogy at the University of Aalborg in Copenhagen, and I'm currently finishing up my first year, with exams coming up in June. After that I have 2 months of summer vacation, which I have decided to dedicate to improve my health. I want to see how far I can get before my 24th birthday in December. I don't know what I weigh, as I don't own a scale. All I know is, I can't fit into the majority of summer clothes I packed away six months ago, and my stomach is now bulging out over my pants lining. My sides bulge over my favourite pair of jeans. My thighs and butt don't fit in any of my shorts. In short, over the last couple of months I've realized that if I don't change things, I will end up overweight like both of my parents. My mom in particular is having some issues with her blood pressure, from having a stressful job and being overweight. I don't want to be like this. I'm no super-model potential, but I'm a pretty girl. I clean up nicely, and I *know* that I could feel so much more confident about myself. I could look *that much more amazing*. And not only that, I could *feel* that much more amazing. I'm tired of being tired, I'm tired of a flight of stairs winding me, and I'm tired of giving up before even trying. I don't think I've ever done a proper push-up. Well, now I want to. And I want to do more than one. I guess I'm saying, I've had enough and I'm here to learn. I want to learn to change for the better, and I want to become stronger, both on the inside and on the outside. I'll be reading a lot more here on Nerd Fitness in the coming days! My first focus will be to improve upon my eating habits, and to find out how I can motivate myself to exercise more. Don't wish me luck, just let me know that I've found the right place to learn! - Liv
  3. My name is Travis. I'm an old Gothic kid of 20 years old. I'm married and in a rut. In order to deal with this, I've chosen to kick the bad habits and try to get in shape. I have Crohn's Disease and I'm trying everything I can to beat it WITHOUT meds! I weigh 140 pounds, 5'5" and mostly fat. I'm taking a guess that my body fat is between 22%-25%. I want to get down to 8%-12%. I have started, and certainly enjoy, the paleo diet. I am currently working out with the beginner's bodyweight routine. It's kicking my butt, but I push to do better every time I do it! I eventually want to do more pullups and even at least one muscleup. That would be awesome. I am a nerd of the MMORPG sort. I have played everything from Diablo to WoW. I used to obsess over games, but ever since I married, I have slowly broke from the addiction. I do still play them once in a while, but not often. I am unemployed and in need of work. I'm trying to expand my network as much as possible in order to find work. I've also got a dream of one day owning a Tavern of the sort. You know, for all the elves, orcs, dwarves, humans, gnomes and all the sort to get together for a drink, food, and if the traveler needs a bed, it is provided for them, at a fee of course! Just like the olden days. That is my BIGGEST goal, and I am determined to get there one day! Well, I am new here, and I would love to meet more people, so please do send your replies and let's have a chat! (:
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