Take Courage

”Take courage” is one of my favorite phrases from the Bible (Joshua 1:9, Mathew 14:27) and I believe it can change a person’s life.

It takes courage for us to function in our daily lives.  Some of us need more courage than others sometimes, and that’s okay.  Some of us are so courageous that we believe we can conquer the world single-handedly.  Others, such as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, ask somebody else to give them courage, not knowing that it comes from within.

What exactly does courage mean anyway?  According to the dictionary, it is ”the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc.,

Those are some rather powerful words, if you ask me!
As I think about COURAGE, many thoughts come to my mind: brave men and women defending our country and our police and fire protection who serve us daily in our homeland.  What about the moment a person takes the first step to reclaim their health and start a new lifestyle?

Have you ever really thought about what it takes to make a lifestyle change?  You will change the patterns of life that you’ve had possibly for years.  Changing the way you eat, the way you exercise, the amount of water you drink.  Learning how to deal with the obstacles in life in a whole new way will take courage.

When you make the decision to live a healthy life and are beginning your journey, you will face some obstacles along the road.  Let me address a few that I have faced.
Your family and friends may not be on the same page with your lifestyle change.  Be prepared to have courage when they attempt to derail your progress.  This is an act that is hopefully completely unintentional, but may very well happen at some point.  This situation could be nothing more than a planned family dinner at a restaurant.  Maybe they want to go to a restaurant that you know has nothing remotely healthy on the menu.  You will need courage.  By the way, you will also need understanding as your family works to find the balance of a new healthy lifestyle for themselves.

Or maybe it’s Thursday afternoon at 4pm in the office, and the staff decides they want to do happy hour after work.  Peer pressure is coming from several friends who want you to attend with them.  However, you have fitness scheduled tonight and you know where you need to be.  Your former self would have jumped at the opportunity to go have a drink and fried bar food with your friends.  However, since you are now working on a healthy lifestyle, you know you need to skip this event.  It will take courage for you to tell them you can’t make it this time.

Peer pressure to go have a drink after work or to go out to lunch with co-workers is tough to turn down.  I know, because I’ve been there.  Initially, my friends would give me a hard time about my journey.  I would get questioned about the food choices I was making and, yes, even about counting calories.  I had made the decision that my life was worth it to deal with a little jab now and then.  Because I had the courage to tell them ”no, thanks” over and over again, I earned their respect and eventually had several of them follow me on my journey.

Do you know what it takes to tell the world that this vessel that you have been given, your body, the only one you are ever going to have, has value?  It takes courage!

I feel so strongly about this topic, that I even got a tattoo on my wrist so I can read it as often as I want:
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What courageous steps are you going to take to embrace the life you were meant to have?

 

Please feel free to follow me at:
http://facebook.com/warrior4health
http://warrior4health.com
http://youtube.com/jeromemerlau

One Man’s Journey from Fit to Fat–and Back Again

One Man’s Journey from Fit to Fat–and Back Again

Allow me to start by saying this: I love sharing my story with the hope of inspiring others to take their lives back.  It is my hope that by continuing to share my story that I can help even ONE person see there is hope to change their life.

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Growing up, I was not an athlete.

I did wrestle for a number of years, but I was more of a band geek. (Proud to say that too!) I’ve traveled the world “making music with my friends,” as I marched in various marching bands and Drum Corps.   I was always fit, firm and muscular due to the demands that band and Drum Corps put on my body.

Then, in 1998, I changed careers and got a desk job.  Things started to change.
I quickly grew accustomed to sitting all day.  Sitting behind a desk got easier and easier. It also got easier to sit on my chair at home and do nothing.

I lost my mother in February 2005 and I started eating, much more than normal.  I never knew I was an emotional eater, but there I was, eating away the grief and loss.  As time moved forward, and my habits did not improve, I slowly grew to my top measured weight of 264 pounds.  I knew I wasn’t healthy. I couldn’t walk up a small flight of stairs without being winded, I had no energy and I made poor eating choices most of the time. I didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I avoided having my picture taken.  In fact it was the picture taken for my security badge at work that scared me into action.  My swollen face and eyes were not a pretty sight!

That just begs the question words, why, when, how, what?  I simply can’t come up with a better answer than I got tired of being fat.  Why at the ripe ole age of 40 did I decide to take my life back? Why, when I knew it was going to take so much discipline, so much work would I make a life changing decision?

I made this decision for me.

Now, let me give you three more reasons I changed my life.  My wife and two daughters.  My wife deserves a husband who is willing and able to help out around the house. I believe she deserves a husband that she can be proud of, who can come home from work and have the energy necessary to help with dinner, kids, activities, etc. My daughters deserve a Daddy who doesn’t sit in his chair asleep all the time. They deserve a daddy who has energy to play with them, get on the floor and wrestle, tickle, and not be a grump all the time. They need a role model.

So I made the decision on December 28, 2009 to take my life back!

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Me, before

I made radical changes in my life. I’m not sure what my calorie intake was before I started, but I know it was really high! I started logging everything I ate (I used the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker). I had a healthy breakfast and a good lunch that I kept varied between salad, soup or sandwiches most days.  I stopped eating out every day.  Thankfully I have a wife who is on board with the new lifestyle (she lost more than 70 pounds herself) and is cooking healthier dinners.  I am practicing portion control and try to put the fork down between each bite.

Keeping in mind that I made radical changes, I also started moving, A LOT.  I began walking each day. The coldest day I remember going for a walk outside was 27 degrees.  Yes, it was cold, but I had to do it! I would be out my door by 5 a.m. for my first walk of the day, and then do it again in the evening.  I parked farther from the door while out running errands.  I walked with a quicker pace to get my heart rate elevated as much as possible.

After two months I added elliptical workouts to my routine and grew to love that machine!    I joined my wife and began doing high-impact intensity workouts WOW!  I got addicted to that right away!  Running didn’t enter the equation until months later.  Running became my time for reflection, prayer, anger management, problem solving, etc.  I can’t imagine my life without it!

I added DVD workouts in the summer of 2010, stopping after one series due to a major sports hernia.  I had probably developed this hernia years before, but with my increased activity, it became something I needed to deal with.  Surgery and recovery slowed me to a near halt for about 14 weeks.  Then I got right back to it, moving and grooving, shaking and quaking!

Less than one year after I started, December 10, 2010, I hit the 100 pound lost mark.  There was no magic pill that solved my weight problems.  Time, hard work, and determination were the tools that got me here, and now that I’m here, I work just as hard to maintain, there is no finish line in my book.

Now that I am in the maintenance phase of my weight-loss journey, it’s all about simply making sure I remember my triggers for overeating and exercise–and the power I have to control it!  I still cross train 2-3 times a week and I run 4-5 days a week.  I drink Shakeology every single day as a tool to help with maintenance.  Shakeology provides my body with everything I need and it’s 100% natural.

I have completed multiple 10k’s, 15k’s, half marathons and two full marathons.  I consider myself an endurance athlete because I embrace the challenge.  I embrace the feeling of being able to push myself to a new level of fitness.  I also love the challenge of the mind games.  That is a part of this journey that many people forget about or don’t deal with.  I feel that the mind games or the emotional part of this journey is critical for ultimate success.  Learning to deal with WHY I let myself get do big, so depressed has been a lot of fun and I wouldn’t be nearly as successful if I didn’t face that head on!
I’d like to leave you with three success factors that worked for me:

  1. Know WHAT/HOW much you eat
  2. Shut up and sweat – you have to WORK it off
  3. Do it every single day – make it a lifestyle

 

Feel free to follow me at any of the following:
http://facebook.comwarrior4health
http://warrior4health.com
http://youtube.com/jeromemerlau
http://teambeachbody.com/warrior4health

 

My Next Major Challenge

HI Everybody,

Today is Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 and I am excited and nervous all at the same time.

Many of you know who follow me that I have ran two marathons to date, both have been the Dallas Marathon in 2011 and 2012.  I ran my FIRST marathon in the pouring down rain and 40 degree weather.  I was injured, but I finished it!  The say I started my journey in 2009, I made the statement that I would run that marathon in 2011 and I did it.  I set the goal, then made it happen.

I am putting it out there that I have set the bar for myself AGAIN!

December 2013, I will run the Dallas Marathon again.  Then in February of 2014 I will run my first Ultramarathon at the Cowtown in Fort Worth.  April 2014 I will run the full 26.2 miles in Oklahoma City for the memorial.

This may not seem like much for some runners, for me and my body, this is a major challenge that I WILL finish.

I have started a new page for my friends and family to follow on FB that will be dedicated to this journey.  Please run over and “LIKE” my page, share it with your friends.  I’m sure I will be throwing in some of my weight loss journey as inspiration along the way.

The page can be found at:
www.facebook.com/Warrior4Health

Thanks everybody – I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I will.

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