Loss

She may be gone, but she will forever be in our hearts.

Loss is never an easy thing. In fact it very well may be the most difficult thing to come to grips with. 6 years ago today I lost my Mom to pancreatic cancer. She was the absolute strongest person I have ever known because during her 2 year fight she never once complained or expressed a “woe is me” attitude.

When she passed away I was, of course, heartbroken beyond words. I just lost my Mom and wasn’t ready for her to leave this world. More so than myself I was worried about my little brothers. I had gotten to spend 20 years with her, but they were only 12 and 10 years old. Losing a parent at such a young age is terrible. Nothing can prepare you for it and the longing in your heart to share your daily accomplishments or a hug never goes away.

Adam and Tim, my brothers, though have grown into incredible young men. Adam just began college and in my mind I know our Mom was sitting right there with him on his first day. Such a big step and I cannot believe he has gotten so old. Tim is a sophmore in high school, but he has a talent with words that far exceeds his years as you will soon see…stay tuned. They have been able to grow because of the strong support structure we have in our family.

When you lose someone it is extremely important to have a storng support structure. Our Dad has been our rock for a very long time and he kept it together for us even though I know he hurts inside too. My aunt Mary Lou has been a second Mom to us by lending an ear, helping me try and lose weight, and just being there for us whenever we need. Our Granny was always right there when we needed her for a chat, a night out to eat, or just to sit with and watch a ballgame. Miss Leigh, whom my Dad married in 2010, has taken it upon herself to treat us just like she treats her own children and loves us just the same.There have been many people that have supported us since our Mom passed and I cannot thank them enough for all the have done.

Kimala Freeman Respess
June 16, 1963 – August 31, 2006
She may be gone, but she will never be forgotten.

I miss you. I love you. Your son, Alex

My Hero, My Mom

During her battle with cancer, but never without a smile

Today, August 31, 2011, marks the 5 year anniversary that my Mom, Kim Respess, left this Earth. After a 2 year battle with cancer she lost the fight 5 years ago today, but even though she is not here anymore she is still in the hearts of all of us that knew and loved her. Let me tell you a little bit about my hero…

She was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 16, 1963 to Ralph and Glena Freeman. She is the youngest of three girls (Donna and Abbey her older sisters), but that is just the general stuff. My Mom never once met a stranger. She could talk to any and everybody and it blew my mind. We would be in line at Wal-Mart and she would be striking up a conversation with whoever happened to be around. She loved dogs and throughout my 25 years we have had a number of them Shana, Chesney, Chewy (he looked just like Chewbacca from Star Wars), Chancey, Chester, Yoda, Scooby Doo, Cookie Monster, Angel, Cinnamon, Isabella, and Jackson. She loved to read and play video games (she dominated Ocarina of Time!). My little brothers and her would spend loads of time playing Gauntlet Legends on the Nintendo 64. She loved to cross stitch (I still have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one she did for me). Her favorite movies were Breakfast Club and Beetlejuice. She loved to watch TV, but most of all she loved us. She would do anything in her power to make us happy.

I can remember one time for Easter she gave me a coupon book. It had different things in it she came up with like go to the batting cages with Dad one day or get out of doing the dishes one night. I remember using one to go with her to see Indian in the Cupboard at a theater that no longer exists. Around Christmas in 1994 when The Santa Claus came out my Dad, Mom, and I went to see it at the theater (also not there anymore) by Gwinnett Place Mall. We would sit at the kitchen table and play Yahtzee! and peanut. It really is strange the memories you hang on to.

When she got sick it was a shock to us all and pancreatic cancer usually takes whoever it has a hold of very quickly, but my Mom was strong! She fought it for two long years. Over those two years I never once heard her complain about the pain even though I know it had to be ungodly. She never once asked, “Why me?” She just fought and stayed strong. If we were all half as strong as her, then we could move mountains. When she was in the hospital and had all the tubes coming out of her she was comforting me because I couldn’t bear to see my Mom like that. It hurt so much to know that she was in pain and that I was going to lose her. She was the best! I know that she is in a better place and free of pain, but every single day I miss her.

My Dad wrote a blog about her fight http://kimsbattle.blogspot.com/ go read it. It shows just what the battle with cancer looks like up close.

I miss you. I love you.
Your Son,
Alex

Step by Step

Let me ask you all a question…did you take a step towards your goal of living a healthy life? They didn’t show it on my episode, but last year my first challenge was to run stadiums at Turner Field. I had to carry a bucket with 40 lbs of Coke up and down the field and terrace levels from the right field foul pole, behind home plate, and all the way to the left field foul pole. I honestly thought it was impossible. A third of the way around I thought I would never make it. Chris told me to not look at the whole challenge. Look only at the step in front of you and take it step by step. That is how you have to take all challenges in life…weight loss, school work, or any other thing that must be conquered.

If you want to start your weight loss journey then take the first step and CHOOSE to change. Then create a small attainable goal so that you don’t always look at the big end of the road goal. That can be a scary thing. I would sometimes look at the fact that I had 216 lbs to lose and I would be overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. Not a good feeling, I’ll be the first to tell you. I made sure to focus on the smaller, more manageable, easier on the brain goal. I know I didn’t hit the first couple of goals, but I put a solid dent in each of them and ultimately got to where I want to be.

So, if you have a goal to accomplish, be it a weight loss goal, a job goal, a school goal, or just a life goal then take it step by step. With each step you’ll make progress and your goal will be within reach before you know it.

A-Train

Q & A #4

Well, this weeks question I took from my unlimited friend’s page and it comes from Becky Metcalf. It reads as follows…

I don’t exercise, but I am ready. I’ve always wanted to run. How did you build up your tolerance? I run 50 feet and I’m out of breath. And does it ever get to a point where you can just run and run and you don’t get tired?

You build up a tolerance by repetition. Chris told me last year that if I wanted to do something then I have to do it and continue to do it to over and over until I got the hang of it. I know for me I do intervals. I am still building up my stamina to full strength post skin surgery. When I go to the park I am doing three “gangster” laps. I will run for 2 tenths of a mile and then walk the same amount off and on for a couple of laps. Sometimes I’ll do a tenth off and on. I will run a total of about 2 miles a day and then walk about 3. Each week I am adding a lap (1.1 miles) to the total and with each passing week I am becoming stronger and more running-tolerant.

So, run the 50 feet and then walk the next 50 to recover for an hour. Next week run 100 feet and walk the next 100 for an hour. So on and so forth. Give that a shot and I think that would definitely help. I haven’t reached the point where I run (for exercise) and don’t get tired, but when I reach that point I will up the ante because that means my body has acclimated to what it’s doing and needs a new challenge.

Hope this helps Becky,

A-Train

Weekend

Another Monday is here! That probably isn’t too exciting to most especially all the kids who had to go back to school today i.e. my little brothers, but you can’t hide from Monday’s so let’s all make the best of it!

I would like to take this opportunity to share with everyone the weekend I had. Saturday morning Courtney and I went to the Hard Rock in downtown Atlanta for the Biggest Loser Season 13 casting call. There were a bunch of people there! I would say it had to be upwards of a thousand peeps. We got to meet and talk to many of them and they couldn’t have been more sweet! Joel, Brian, Bert, Ciara, and Robin are just a few of the really cool peeps we got to talk to you. We actually had a few very special visitors come down to meet us who weren’t even trying out for the show. A very special shout out goes to Mary Hamilton, Dot Reilley, Kathy Lee, and her daughter Sarah for coming to say hey.

BL13 Casting Call with the ADORABLE Sarah

One thing everyone who tried out for it should know and remember is that it isn’t about a show. I know that is easy for me to say since I was on one, but not everyone who tries out can be picked so they MUST begin their journey at home. Don’t wait around for a show to pick you. CHOOSE to make the change for yourself and make it today! Your life is far too important to just let it slip away when the want to change is clearly there. Don’t wait until tomorrow…start TODAY!

Sunday morning I was invited to share my story at Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA. It was such a great experience! I plan on posting the video when I get it, but in the meantime I can tell you what happened. Crossroads is clearly a 21st century church. They are very technological and I love it! My man Chris Thomas put together a video intro for me to come out to and then I got to chat with the pastor. They started a new series called “I Quit” and I went to share how I quit making excuses about losing weight and how I finally followed through and became a healthy me. It was such a cool experience and I thank them for having me. After each service I got to meet a bunch of the people in the congregation and they could not have been more kind! That is the way to start a Sunday! Courtney and I had lunch with our new friend Chris and Lauren Thomas afterwards and they are really great people. I just want to thank Chris, Lauren, Brian Preston, Travis Williams, Justin Owens, Pastor Greg and all the peeps at Crossroads for having me!

Fun Times at Crossroads

A-Train

Q & A #3

Happy Wednesday peeps! I got an email the other day that really got me thinking. I began contemplating what I went through and what I have seen my brothers and other family members go through. When I was doing my pardio (cardio at the park) with my dear friend Alison we chatted about it. So, without further ado here is this weeks question courtesy of Olivia…

Do you recommend, teenagers that are over weight to lose weight? So they don’t have to worry about further health issues when they are older.

In an ideal world while we grow up our parents would feed us healthy food and we would get plenty of exercise, but this world is not exactly ideal. So, instead of healthy food and exercise we have fast food and video games. I think that it truly depends on the teenager in question. I’ll give you two examples:

  • Myself: My Mom and Dad did everything they could thing of to try to get me to lose weight when I was in my teenage years. My Mom took me to Weight Watchers with her and she tried to help me do that. That didn’t take. My Dad offered me $5 a pound I lost. That should have gotten me to lose, but no dice. On and on they tried to no avail. When I finally decided I wanted to change is when I changed.
  • My cousin Charlie: When he was younger he was overweight. He was always active playing soccer, but his diet wasn’t the best and he stayed overweight. When he was in his early teens he made a choice to lose weight. He went to a nutritionist who helped him with his diet and he continued to stay active and he lost his weight and to this day some 10 years later he has kept it off.

As you can see my cousin and I took very different paths. No matter the incentives I was offered I was not ready to lose weight even though I truly did not want to be overweight. Charlie wanted to lose weight and did what it took. The one thing I can say is that you can’t really force someone to lose weight. Odds are that if someone is forced to lose weight their mindset isn’t changed and they are more likely to go back to what they knew before and gain the weight back. If they choose to change then odds are they will change their mindset and the change will stick.

When my friend Alison and I were doing our pardio we started chatting about this and what could be done. The most overwhelming thing we came up with was that parents can start stocking their pantries and refrigerators with healthier foods. For the first few teenage years these teenagers are more than likely eating two of their three main meals with their family. Instead of fast food why not cook at home. If parents are working, then how about you take some time to teach these kids how to cook? Cooking can be enjoyable and parents can teach their kids how to do it so that they don’t feel like they have to go for the bad food when their parents aren’t around.

These are my thoughts. What are yours? Throw a comment down below and let your voice be heard!

A-Train

Adversity

I learned there are troubles
Of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead
And some come from behind.

 But I’ve bought a big bat.
I’m all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going
To have troubles with me!

-I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

Dr. Seuss really had a way with words, didn’t he? In this life we are all going to have troubles. It is a forgone conclusion. Some will have money troubles, some will have marital troubles, but for most of you reading this it is weight troubles that have to be dealt with. Dealing with weight troubles is not an easy task by any means, but it is something that you can do. You need the WANT to do it and the WILL to see it through. The WANT needs to come from within you for you because you can’t WANT to change yourself for someone else. That kind of thinking will take you off course very quickly. WANTing to change for yourself will more than likely keep you focused on the task at hand. I know from personal experience that it can get difficult day in and day out, but the WILL that you find within yourself can help you make it over those speed bumps in your journey.

So, I say to you…whether you are just starting out or maintaining your healthy lifestyle go grab your big bat and show your troubles what kind of a trouble you can be.

A-Train

Q & A #2

For this weeks Q&A I have decided to go with one pretty substantial question. Yes, I know I said I would do a number of them each week, but I feel that this particular question warrants a good deal of thought. So, without further ado here is this week’s question courtesy of Amanda:

I’ve dealt with a fear of failure as I’ve worked on my weight loss.  It has held me back in the past because I would lose weight only to gain it all back double. This time I’ve really just decided failure is not an option, but that fear still rears it’s head every now and then. Did you deal with fear of failure, and if so, how did you overcome that?

During my journey I knew that I would have millions of people see my results. That could have been enough to have me cowering in the corner with fear. I didn’t so much see it as a fear of failure though, but more as an incentive to succeed. I knew that if I failed I would have to answer to millions. However, there was one person in those millions that I had to look in the eye everyday and that was myself. I couldn’t let myself down again. I had taken on this challenge and I was determined to succeed.

The fear of failure is very real and while I might not have that particular fear there are many who do. I think it’s alright to have that fear as long as you don’t let it hold you back. You need to fight against it. You may lose a battle with it every now and again. That is understandable, but you CAN and MUST win the war.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

Amanda, when that fear decides to rear its ugly head again. CHOP. IT. OFF! You may have a bad day where you run for the comfort food, but just remember that you have control. Choose to not make it two bad days, or three bad days. Look at the bad day. See what you did wrong. Learn from your mistake and correct it the next day. You can’t rewrite history, but you darn sure can write a happy ending. As long as the pen is in your hand the story is yours.

What will the end of your story be?

A-Train

Haters Welcome

“People only try to bring you down because you’re up so high they can’t see you.” – Rev. Run

No matter what you do in life you are going to have your detractors or, as I like to call them, haters. Why, you ask? Well, as far as I can tell that is just the way some people are. They say misery loves company and those miserable souls out there seem to not like it when someone is happy and trying to spread some positivity in the world. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Example 1:

Say you’re overweight and you go to the gym. You are clearly going there to better yourself and to become a healthier you, but the people in the gym stare and comment amongst themselves. That, for years, kept me away from the gym, but I finally realized one day that it doesn’t matter what they think or say because I am there to right my ship.

Example 2:

We’ve seen it in the movies a number of times…the dumb bully knocks the books out of a smart kids hands. It happens, but it shouldn’t. That kid has those books because he is trying to make something of himself. Just because you don’t want to study and don’t want to better yourself doesn’t mean that you have been given the right to make those that do suffer.

Example 3:

This is just a blog. I don’t claim to be a fitness expert or anything. I am simply a man who, through hard work and determination, lost 216 pounds in 1 year. All I want to do is to provide motivation and inspiration for those out there who need to lose weight like I did. I aim to share the knowledge I gained from Chris Powell and if I help one person then that knowledge was not passed on in vain. That’s all I am trying to do. I am no expert. I am just a man who went through the weight loss journey successfully and now it’s my turn to help others do the same.

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson

Recently I have acquired a new hater or two of my very own. This person, who is choosing to remain anonymous, is calling me a fraud. Their accusations are three-fold. They say that I starved myself all year, dehydrated myself all year, and that I am only dating Courtney because she is now skinny and famous. These accusations could not be farther from the truth. Let me take them one by one:

A) Starvation: During the year I ate five meals a day, one every three hours. Sometimes I even had to force myself to eat because I wasn’t hungry. I say that is far from starvation. I ate healthier this past year then I have in my entire life and I have the results to prove it.

B) Dehydration: I did not dehydrate myself. I drank two gallons of water a day. Even with as much working out as I was doing I would say that is more than enough water to stay hydrated.

C) Courtney: We have been great friends since the beginning of 2010 and now we are taking it to another level with dating. We both like one another very much and, to be perfectly honest, that is all that matters. Also, I know that I have had many questions regarding our relationship and that she has as well, but for the time being I think we will keep it just between the two of us. I am sure we will let the masses in on our private party in due time, but until that time…stay tuned.

I know I shouldn’t give these messages the time of day, but I read them and I think that it really is sad that someone feels it’s necessary to take time out of their life to TRY and bring someone down. I emphasize try because you’re not succeeding.

I’m flying too high for you to reach me.

A-Train

Delay

Well, I know I promised you an interview with the one and only Courtney Crozier today and we did the interview. However, I decided that putting up audio instead of a written interview would be more fun. I’m having a tad bit of trouble uploading it though. So, bear with me and I hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

A-Train