I know John Tacket through doing triathlon and running events. He’s always been relatively thin as far as I know, but I learned recently, thanks to comments he made about my efforts to unfat myself, that he too used to be rather large.
John is the kind of guy you really want to have in a workout group. He is kind, he smiles a lot, and he shows up regularly. If you do a local running event, he’ll be there to chat with. He is also a cycling advocate, and supports local advocacy efforts. I’m glad I met him.
It’s amazing, outing yourself as someone who was formerly 320lbs. You find out that there are a lot of people in your life who have gone through very similar transformations. I think there’s a lesson to be learned here about sharing what we, as humans, are going through and thereby making valuable connections with one another.
For instance, I am going through remorse at using the words “farts” and “crap” in front of my oldest niece yesterday. A clever and observant child, she repeated those words immediately to her mother, who, in turn, then had some stern words for me. Crap and farts, indeed.
But back to our friend John Tackett. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind going into greater detail about his transformation, and this is what he had to say:
On losing weight to begin with:
I actually went on the South Beach diet to support my wife – she wanted to lose a few pounds to fit in a dress. I had tried diets before and they never worked. I never imagined that it would be a life changing event for me.
On his discovery of himself as a runner:
I wanted to start exercising so I started by walking around the block. That lead to longer walks and then slow jogs and then into running. It was during my first half marathon that I had the ‘runners high” and realized how much I enjoyed running.
On diet and exercise:
While exercise is good; all the exercise in the world won’t work if you don’t control what, and how much, you eat.
On mental attitude:
“Do that which you think cannot be done.” I may feel some aches and pains along the way, but knowing that I have tried is more important than succeeding. I still cry when I finish a marathon knowing I have finished something that just 10 years ago was nothing more than a pipe dream. That mantra has been with me as I hiked and climbed my way through Yosemite, as I learned to scuba, and as I returned to college to finish my degree (30 years after I started.)
This is exactly the sort of thing that I wish I could say to my former self. Of couse, I would probably add some stronger words when talking to myself — e.g. “crap” and “farts” — but I wish I’d had the presence of mind to reach out to people. I might have gotten some really excellent advice.
Thanks to John for answering my questions, and I think I speak for him when I say that either of us would be glad to talk anytime if you’re going through something similar!