I constantly get asked the question, “What was that moment like when it all changed for you?” Most are asking about the moment I stood on the scale to win the Biggest Loser. On December 8th, 2009, 16 million live viewers wanted to see what I had done. Had I succeeded? Well, I looked worried when my competitor and good friend Rudy Pauls stepped up and the world found out that he had lost 234 Pounds. He set the new record for the most weight lost on the Biggest Loser, previously held by Eric Chopin for 5 seasons. As I stood on steps and watched Rudy’s success, I looked at the camera and looked worried…on purpose. I didn’t want to give it away that I knew Rudy’s record would be bittersweet to him. I was about to lose 239 pounds and not only break his record of 234 pounds, but Helen Phillip’s record of the most percentage of weight lost in history. All this is fine, breaking records and winning shows, but what about that moment? What was it like when it all changed for me?
Well, what most people don’t know is that the moment it all changed wasn’t standing on the scale that fateful evening. That moment was when I flipped a switch in my head and decided enough was enough. Early in 2008, more than a year before I made it to the Biggest Loser ranch, my daughter walked in and changed my life. She said, “Daddy, I want to be just like you!” Now, many fathers have heard that, and when I did my heart swelled with pride; that is until she spoke again. She then said, “I want a belly just like yours.”
I was devastated. My pride turned to guilt and I wanted to run and hide. I told her, “No you don’t.” and she replied, “Yes I do.” (This went on for a few minutes, as it usually will when arguing with any 7 year old, strong-willed girl!) I stood up, went in to the bathroom, and looked at myself in the mirror.
At that moment, I think I actually saw myself clearly for the first time. It was as though I went to sleep the day before that healthy 175 pound man that my wife met years ago and suddenly woke up a failure. How could I have let this happen? How could I have done this to myself? It happened slowly. I slowly gave up on my dreams…on my aspirations…on my goals; I slowly gave up on me. And after a while I got comfortable giving up.
Well, this is the moment I talk about when answering that question; the moment I decided I would change. You see, winning the show was a direct result of that decision. It was a decision, not an event. I could have easily blown off what had happened with my daughter, but I flipped a switch in my head and decided things would change. That is the way it happens. Every small decision you make is the result of a moment when you decide your own fate. The next two years would result in many small steps that, in the end, would equal me standing on the scale and becoming the Biggest Loser ever in the history of the show!
I was reading a story Jimmie Tramel wrote for the Tulsa World about a lineman for Oklahoma State University the other day. That lineman is Levy Adcock. He graded 100% in a game against Texas. My former high school teammate and head coach Mike Gundy thought it was a typo and for good reason. I was an offensive lineman for 13 years of my life, and to grade 100% is amazing! But the real amazing story was the moment it all changed for Adcock.
You see, Adcock wasn’t always a great lineman; in fact, he didn’t even start for a time. And what does Adcock say it was like when it all changed? He’ll tell you it wasn’t when he graded 100 percent against Texas. He’ll also tell you it wasn’t when he made it to the Oklahoma State Football team. He’ll tell you this: “I just woke up one day and said I’m tired of being second string. I want to start.” He said that during two-a-days, which is a little bit like a Biggest Loser workout with Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper, he simply chose to start playing harder and caring more. Yes, like me, in one tiny moment, Adcock decided enough was enough. He found his “why” and changed the course of his future.
So when you have a goal or dream in your heart, hold fast to it. But you should know something; until you make the decision to flip that switch in your head like Adcock did…like I did…you will lean on the same excuses that have kept you in the same place for so long.
But when you make the decision to change, to “Lose Your Quit,” you will change the direction of your life. It won’t happen overnight, but you will begin deciding to work toward your goal instead of playing “Angry Birds.” You will decide to get to the gym instead of watching “Wheel of Fortune.” And you will decide that the dream in your heart is worth more than all of those things that continually steal your dreams; whether it is TV, Angry Birds, or simply procrastination.
2012 is just around the corner. This year, make your resolution stick. Put down the remote, turn off your smart phone, and give 30 minutes per day to yourself. When you add it up, it can be enough to jump-start your dreams and change the physical course of your future for the better! Now, get moving!