Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Journey

What I am about to share with you is something that up until now I have only shared with one person.  I have widely shared my physical transformation in hopes that I may be able to inspire or encourage at least one person to push past the voice in their head that says 'you won't succeed' or 'you can't change'.  However, I have been guarded about the rest of my transformation, until recently.  It has weighed heavily on my heart the last couple of weeks. I know that there are others in the midst of similar struggles and trials as what I have gone through, thinking there is no point in trying and no hope for a better situation.  I need to tell those people that THERE IS!  So here is my story.

In 2006 I was working as a Project Manager in a civil engineering office, making a decent income of about $75k a year.  I worked hard and put in my share of overtime.  Business was great!  I bought my family's first house and worked hard to provide them with everything I could.  But then things at work had really slowed down and in the third round of layoffs at the office, I was let go. By this point, things were getting stressed at home, but I was determined to be able to provide for my family.  The savings account was emptied within the next couple months, as I looked for more work, every day, for 6 months.  At that point, my lowest moment was when I was turned down for a job at Wal-Mart, stocking shelves at night.  They said I was "over-qualified".  The mortgage was not getting paid and there wasn't even enough money for utilities and food.  This was really hard to handle, especially with two small children at home.  I couldn’t eat or sleep and the stress was really wearing me down.

I finally found work with a good friend doing construction. It was much different than anything I had done before, but I was VERY grateful to be working again!  I had been working construction and slowly getting things caught back up.  Several months later, the house payments were current and things were looking up, or so I thought. One day I came home from a long 16 hour day at work and my wife of 11 years told me she was having an affair and was taking my two boys and leaving and that she wanted a divorce.  For two months we still lived there while she was waiting to move in with "the other guy."  I was trying to work on things, while she continued to have her affair. Those two months drained me like nothing I could have ever imagined.  After that, she took my boys and moved out!  I walked away from the house because I couldn't afford it and didn't want to be around it or even see it anymore.  The bank started the foreclosure process within two weeks.  The house, car loan and credit card were all in my name, so I was suddenly the only one responsible for all the debt and bills.  But the money and bills were the farthest thing from my mind as I was trying to deal with losing my boys.

I somehow managed to still go to work every day, even though I had started drinking heavily as soon as I got to my apartment every evening. I started working out, and pushed as hard as I could in all the workouts, hoping that working out would get rid of the constant anger that I felt.  I also tried to drink away the feelings and thoughts about how much I missed my boys, but it only helped for a little while.  My ex had hired a lawyer and filed for divorce and full custody of the kids.  I had no money for a lawyer and didn't know what to do to fight for custody.  So I ended up only getting to spend every other weekend with them!  Only four days a month with my kids!  And I felt like I had done nothing wrong!  Why would something like this happen?  I felt like the world was stacked against me and  I quickly got to a point where I couldn't drink enough to numb myself from reality.  So, I turned to drugs and going to bars and clubs every night.  I looked for anything that would distract me and not let me be still, because as soon as I stopped, I could feel my heart just ripping and aching to be with my boys.  I was quickly spiraling out of control.  I thought I was at rock bottom then, but I still had a ways to fall.  And fall I did.  I closed everyone who cared about me out of my life, I stopped answering calls and found excuses as to why I could never meet up with my family. I started using every drug I could find to try and numb myself from reality.  And in an area like Myrtle Beach, the drugs were not hard to find.  At that point I didn't care about anything that I did or what happened to me.  I spent 4 days a month sober and tried to enjoy that short amount of time with my kids, but it was getting harder and harder to enjoy anything.

Well, living like that is expensive!  My careless mindset and self-destructive attitude led me further along my steep slope downhill.  One morning I got up (late), rushed down to the parking lot to where I thought I had parked just a few hours earlier, but my truck wasn't there.  I checked around the corner; it wasn't anywhere.  I quickly realized that it had been repossessed, along with all of my tools for work.  So there I was, hung over with no vehicle, no tools and as far as I could see, no hope.  I called my parents, who I had not talked to much at all through the last few months, and let them know what happened.  I then asked if I could borrow their car for a couple of days.  They ended up giving me the car to help out.  I found where they towed my truck and after spending an entire day waiting, I was finally able to get my tools, but I still didn’t see that I was at fault.  In my mind this was just another example of the world being against me!

I still had a victim's mentality.  Asking what I did to deserve this and wanting to know where my break in life was.  I few weeks later, I got an eviction notice on my door.  I had three days to get my stuff out, or have it moved out for me.  I ended up moving in with two buddies of mine in their trailer.  A couple of weeks after that, the car I was given exploded and the engine caught on fire.  I felt like life was trying to crush me into dust.  The construction company I was working for closed up and once again I had to find another job.  The new job that I found entailed crawling under dilapidated mobile homes and repairing plumbing, insulation and air leaks.  It was a hard, usually filthy and nearly thankless job.  Most of the work was out of town, so I was picked up early Monday morning and wouldn’t get back until late Friday night.

I felt like I was going nowhere, and that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get ahead, or even catch up.  I had it in my mind that the world was against me, and I couldn't change what was happening.  I had finally come to the realization that I needed to start fresh.  I knew that the only way I could do that was to be away from the life that I had created there. 

I found a job near Greenville, NC and moved as soon as I got the parts and fixed my car.  The work wasn't any better; it was actually the same exact work, but no travel.  I quit using drugs and drinking heavy when I moved and never looked back.  I knew that my future was based on what I wanted it to be.  I realized that I needed to take control of what I could and let the rest fall where it may.  Soon after moving, I ran into an old friend that I hadn't seen or talked to in years. That friend was Nicole.  She was a huge encouragement to me; she didn't offer me pity or sympathy.  She challenged me and pushed me to make the changes in my life that I needed to, in order to get where I wanted to be.  She helped me see that my thinking that the world was against me and that I was stuck as a victim of society and bad luck, was just a cop out. If I wanted to change, I mean really wanted change, then I would have to take the steps to make it happen.

In an effort to gain control of my finances, I started studying for my insurance license and reading some personal development books all while still working my hardest, crawling under houses.  My job was actually starting to show promise, as I was told by my boss that they were going to be creating a management position for me there, overseeing the weatherization department that I had been working in.  Things were finally looking up....so I thought.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. There was no promotion.  There was no raise.  My hours at work slowly started dropping and I was falling behind on my bills once again.  There was no way that I wanted to fall back into the life I had tried so hard to work my way out of.

The difference this time was my attitude and mindset.  I didn't look at it with the eyes of a victim, I looked at it with the eyes of determination and desire to do better and be better.  This is when I found out about the opportunity of becoming a Beachbody coach and the possibility of using my physical transformation to help others along the same path.  About that time, I got my insurance license and Nicole and I were starting to build that business together.  I felt like I was finally in control of my attitude and my outlook on life.  The truth is, I had been in control of that the entire time.  I was just making better choices now.  I finally saw that my joy and my happiness in life cannot be dependent on my circumstances.  My joy and peace had come from knowing that God has a plan, and that plan is always for His glory, not necessarily mine.

The difference in where I was in my life, just a short time ago, is amazing to me!  I am still dealing with struggles as far as not having my boys here all the time, but I am treasuring the time with them as much as possible.  The true happiness and excitement for life that I have now is something that I really thought I would never feel again.  Through all the trials, failures and seemingly hopeless situations, God has carried me through, and has blessed me beyond measure!  Nicole and I now have a beautiful family together with our four boys.  They are happy and love being part of this new family!  We are by no means “trial free”, but we are happy and loving life.  We are both passionate about helping others, and Beachbody has given us a solid platform to do just that!

The opportunity to help others who are struggling with their weight, wanting to live healthier, or just being more consistent with fitness, is such an awesome feeling!  I literally get chills sometimes when I get messages from people that I am helping. I love to hear about the victories that they are so excited to have finally accomplished!  That is why I am a Beachbody coach. Helping people lead healthier lives is my passion, not my 'job'.

Fat to Fit Transformation male
Just like in fitness, you can never 'arrive' and stop working at it.  It’s the same with everything in your life.  In the words of Rory Vaden "Success is never owned, it is only rented.  And the rent is due every day."  I try to remember that every morning and for every situation.

I have shared this story with you all, not for sympathy, but in hopes that you or someone you know, will see that there is hope.  There are people who care and are willing to help you.

Click here to make me your coach, and we can get you started on the path toward your goals!


  1. I am proud of you son. Your boys will face the battles of life someday and will remember your struggles and your victories. Walk a walk you will want them to walk someday, because they are following in your footsteps.
    Thanks for coaching me to my new physical reality. Forty pounds lighter, 122/76 BP, no meds and getting even stronger.
    Life is more than physical. It is also mental and spiritual. I am excited to see you grow in all areas.
    "I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:13,14 Love you! Press on!! PS Your mom is proud, too.

  2. Wow, Nate. What a journey. I could feel your pain, through every word you wrote. I am glad you have Faith/God, Nicole and your boy's. Life is NEVER easy, I have been down some dark roads myself but with God's loving hands He picks me up every time and brings me pack to the flock. He never stops caring for us, thus we should NEVER stop caring for ourselves. Thanks for sharing your journey with us,it shows how REAL you are, and I will be adding you and your family to our prayer list. I am excited to be starting my challenge with great Christian coaches. Can't wait to see what happens! God's Blessings for a Better Future.

  3. What a wonderful testimony! God is great and His love never fails. Without his unconditional love and forgiveness, we would be nothing. I, too, am proof of that. My marriage is proof of that. Thanks for your honesty, your openness and you willingness to share with others and encourage others through it all. God Bless you and Nicole!

  4. Hi There
    Read your story rather testimony, what an inspiration. I started my journey 19 months ago, I weighed 242lb, I was 38 and had just lost twins two months previous. I had to go into hospital for an appendectomy, and the anaesthetist, told me that because I weighed 117kilo, there was a chance I wouldn't come through the anaesthetic. She also went onto have a real go at me telling me I was lazy stupid, and mostly selfish for living this way; basically I was told if I contiuned the way that I was going I would be dead within 5-10 years; as the weight would keep piling on.

    The Doctor told me sort yourself out now! I started to walk tried to eat healthy, I progressed onto taebo did 5 Dvd's. I found insanity whilst on holiday on the shopping channel, phoned up and ordered it. I couldn't do it so I cried but I decided to keep going. I've now done 4 rounds of insanity. I train twice a week with a personal trainer (who is hard on me but is an awesome guy), lifting heavy weights. I'm down to 126lb. I can now run 8-10 miles no problem. I changed my diet radically and no longer look to eat junk. At the height of my obesity I was eating 26 bars of chocolate a day, along with cake, cookies and other rubbish.

    Exercise and The Lord helped me come to terms with losing my twins. I now do not want to eat rubbish and only eat one bar of chocolate a month. I am addicted to exercise.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story it is an inspiration. Is it ok to post it to myfacebook profile. I am trying to motivate others to make the change? Every blessing to you, your wife and family.


  5. Sorry the last comment is not my blog that come up, don't know why it published someone else's blog. http://www.facebook.com/gail.owens.75