My Personal Weight Loss Journey

Weight Loss

“What do you know about weight loss?”

*I do dislike writing about myself, but I have been asked repeatedly, “Why are your starting up this kind of business.  You have not been overweight!”  Au contraire mon fraire!  Here is my brief story that’s led me down this path.

Childhood Obesity and Me

*I was an obese child of the late 70s and 80s.  I like to think of myself as a trendsetter as I was on the bleeding edge of the childhood obesity epidemic, which now sadly affects approximately 1 out of every 5 children in America.  I know what it is like to be called a hippo while swimming in a lake and also know what it is like to hope for a rainy day so you do not have to go outside and show just how out of shape you are.

So, why did I decide to lose weight?  Simply put: vanity and hormones.  I was getting old enough to date and realized my options would be limited if I did not start taking better care of myself.  However, what I did not realize was changing the physical was only half of the equation. I also needed to change my emotional aspects, such as the insecurity and self-loathing I felt. Unfortunately, that did not occur till much later in life when my personal health coach came into my life, my wife.

As I embarked on my physical transformation, I vividly remember walking into the local YMCA weight room.  At that moment, it felt like the whole room stopped and looked at me or, at least, I thought they did.  Not only did I feel like I did not belong there but I did not know the slightest thing about how to use the equipment or exercise. Thirty years later, I still remember how insecure I felt inside.  It took me several years before I went back to the gym.  Until then, I needed to come up with another plan. Christmas was around the corner so I asked for a pair of dumbbells and extension springs (the precursor to exercise bands, but far more painful). I had taken my first step.

Achieving Weight Loss, then Weight Gain

*As my diet improved and my exercise increased, I was transforming my physical body into what I wanted it to be. During my 20s, I managed to keep the weight off. However, as soon as 30 hit with new family responsibilities, my weight slowly started to return.  I no longer had the time to exercise to counteract the amount of food I was eating.  Looking back on that time period, I realize I was suffering from an eating disorder called binge eating.  I wouldn’t purge after a big meal, but I would definitely exercise till I could barely stand.  My wife would often ask me, “how are you going to keep this up as you get older?”  Fair question.  Truth was, I didn’t keep it up.  My weight returned topping out almost 100 lbs heavier than where I am today!

Turning Point in My Weight Loss Journey

*Starting in 2005 and through the help of my first health coach, I decided to look at my weight issues as not about eating less and exercising more but as a series of choices made throughout the day.  Those choices were deeply influenced by an array of emotions such as stress, friends at lunch and mindless boredom, to name a few.

As I became more mindful of my choices and their respective consequences, positive and negative, I started to have a more mindful experience with food. Through this process, I changed my relationship with food as one of indulgence to one of need.

Today, I am down 90 lbs from my high water mark and every day I still struggle with the choices, but at least now I own and understand my choices. The weight loss journey is not just about nutrition and exercise but also about why we make the choices we make in life.  By understanding our emotional awareness balanced with our nutritional and physical awareness, we advance down the path towards self-efficacy and empowerment.

The Premise behind LightenUp Fitness

*I have been 20 years in corporate and some would say I was relatively successful, so why am I starting this venture. There are two primary reasons:

  1. Eliminate the confusion that exists in the weight loss market, by clearly communicating and educating nutritional, physical and emotional concepts to those who have struggled with weight loss so they understand what is real vs. myth.
  2. Create a safe and supportive environment that is solely for people wanting to lose weight and change their lifestyle for the better.

Regarding point one, when I first started researching this business idea, I was amazed at how much information existed in this industry. After becoming a certified personal trainer and health coach, the path to weight loss existed, however it was not visible to the people who needed it.

With all of the marketing messages in the industry, it is difficult to determine what is reality and what is myth. At LightenUp Fitness, because we believe in education, we do not sell supplements or meal plans that may bias our content to you. We believe that through education and support, members can achieve and sustain the weight that they desire by making conscience and educated choices.

Regarding point two, personally speaking, I wanted to create an environment that would not intimidate others as my first visit to the fitness facility did to me many years ago. Also, I wanted to create an environment that supported people’s progress towards their weight goals through a 24×7 accessible fitness facility, a membership that includes group exercise, health coaching and education and a center where members could coordinate activities with one another inside or outside the facility.

I Believe in YOU!

*Weight loss is difficult, but being overweight is even more difficult. Apart from the obvious health risks associated with being overweight or obese, think about how difficult it is just to walk up a flight of stairs, play with your children or grandchildren, participate in sports or social activities in which you once thrived. This is hard and gets harder. Losing and sustaining weight gets easier with the proper support!

There is nothing special about me or the countless others that have demonstrated sustainable weight loss. Check out this website to learn more.  The primary element is a proper balance between physical, nutritional and emotional support. I know you can do this and can’t wait to meet you when we open up our first location.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to give me a call or comment to this blog.

In good health,



  1. Nancy Thompson on May 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Well said! Enjoyed this read..

  2. MAL on September 1, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I am 86 and obsessed with eating weight 2545 ft 6.why do I constantly eat and think about food

    • Mike on September 1, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Hello, Mal. Please give us a call at your convenience so we can discuss your concerns. We have helped members who have struggled to find control in the lives as it relates to food. We can help.

  3. Kate on July 5, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    The best way to lose weight is to accept that calories count. Many people believe that if they eat healthy and exercise, they will lose weight. Unfortunately, eating healthy foods is not enough. Creating a calorie deficit is an essential part of losing weight.

  4. Mike on July 6, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Thanks, Kate, for your feedback. You are absolutely right it is all about creating a calorie deficit. We can lessen the difficulty in that deficit by choosing the right foods that create a good macro-nutrient balance. Thanks for the comment!

  5. William Madison on July 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    There are no magic foods. Some foods may help you suppress your appetite a little. Some other foods may slightly increase your metabolic rate. Unfortunately, the effect is miniscule. The only way to really lose fat is to consume fewer calories than you burn. This way your body will tap into the fat stores to get the energy it needs.

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