308: My Answer to Julie’s Question

By Bryan Campbell

I came up with a response to Julie’s question, but it requires a bit of introspection on my part. You see, I used to weigh 308 pounds.

I remember the day I got on the scale and saw that number. I have never been “skinny.” Ever since elementary school I was picked on as the “fat” kid. In high school, I was not obese, but I was certainly heavier than most of my friends. Much like Julie, I tried to make up for my physical problems with humor. I often made fun of myself.

But the climb from the high school 190 pounds (it sounds so glorious today, I can’t believe the lack of perspective I had!), to 308 pounds was a slow and steady one. I didn’t reach my full adult height of 6’3” until I was almost 21 years old. And from that point on, I gained a few pounds every year until that epiphany moment, 308.

My life changed when I was lucky enough to be working on a project with Bob Harper, trainer from The Biggest Loser. I asked him for advice and he told me, “If you really want my help, then I’m going to tell you what to do and what not to do as long as I am with you. If you won’t listen to me, then we’re done. If you ask me again to help you, I will.”

Bob wanted me to know what I was getting into before he agreed to help. That’s why he gave me that one last chance to back away. If I asked again, he knew I was committed to changing my life.

And so I did. I never worked out with Bob, but I ate with him. He showed me in three or four meals the principles I would need to eat healthy for the rest of my life. He told me that I need to get in a minimum of 30 minutes of movement every day. After five days with Bob, I had lost 11 pounds!

Bob also shared with me a piece of advice that has kept his nutrition training in my head. He told me that it’s never too late to start, and that if you really want to make a change, start now. He told me that when people say that they are going to start on Monday morning, or that they are going to make a New Year’s Resolution, they are already making excuses.

I started eating better and going to the gym for 30 minutes during my lunch hour. After a while, my entire family was eating healthier. Now, my wife and I get up in the morning and spend an hour in the gym before work. It’s been a great bonding experience for us, and has helped to motivate me on days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

Today I am 231 pounds. Not perfect, but at least it’s moving in the right direction. I am now running 3 days a week, and ran my first half-marathon on Thanksgiving Day, 2009. My current goal is to finish the National 15k Championship in under an hour and 30 minutes. You can monitor my training and see if I do it on my blog (http://bryansrunningjournal.wordpress.com). I’d love to hear about your progress too.

But if this is indeed the last time I have the chance to speak through words to you, I guess my answer to Julie’s question is fairly simple.

Start now.

Think about the next meal you are going to eat? What’s one thing you can do to make it healthier? How will you work 30 minutes of movement into your day?

Then, use the resources you have available to you. This magazine is a good start. You can find good nutritional and physical activity information in these pages. Talk to your friends. Let them know what you are about to start. I promise you, they would love to provide positive support for your efforts.

But most importantly, start now!

You will have moments of weakness. I can’t resist pizza (neither can Julie, see the online exclusive) and there are times when I break down and have three or four pieces. But once it’s over, I understand the amount of work it will take to make up for that pizza, and I commit to start my program again.

I hope that you are inspired by Julie, and that I have helped provide you some of the tools needed to make a change for the rest of your life. Now it’s up to you.