Shawn's Story

I need this challenge to work. I have completed I don’t know how many biggest loser contests, diets, and exercise programs only to find myself in the same unhealthy lifestyle. You see that is how I do it, I work hard for two to three weeks, and then once I see any results I stop. I have a unique story when it comes to health and fitness because it has been a part of my life for the past 20 plus years, yet I continue to find as many excuses as I can to why I do not exercise or eat better. 

The sad part is I am a physical education teacher at Patterson Mill Middle School in Harford County. Patterson Mill is also where I have coached football, and wrestling for the past serval years. For the past ten years, I preach to my students daily why living a healthy lifestyle is important, and then I go home and continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle. I want to make a change to be an example for the hundreds of students I have taught at the three different middle schools in Harford County, but most importantly be the leader of my family. I talk with my wife and two boys about the importance of a healthy lifestyle but then do the opposite. Actions speak louder than words I have been told. If that is the case then I am screaming something I don’t want them to see. I do not want them to struggle with weight like I have my whole life.

I have always been involved in athletics. Growing up in Virginia I was a two-sport athlete who was always working out, but there was always that weakness that was around, and it was food. I would become disciplined when needed but never was able to make it a lifestyle change. In 2001, my dad had a brain aneurysm which is why I ended up moving to Maryland. During the 6 months he spent at the University of Maryland hospital and rehab facilities, I fell apart. Drinking, smoking, and eating was my way of handling the pain of seeing my dad in ICU for that long. I gained over 80 pounds and became unhappy with the way I looked and felt. Then I met my wife, I was able to lose some of the weight that I had gained while attending the University of Maryland. I will never forget my time there and a professor coming up to me and telling me that I was such a great athlete but I needed to lose weight in order to become a better person, and teacher in the future. She pulled together resources and set up time for me to talk with a nutritionist at Maryland. I never attended a meeting thinking that I could get this under control myself. 

16 years I have used my dad getting sick as an excuse and it is time that I move on. I am praying that the whole life challenge is what I need to finally show me what I need to live a healthy lifestyle. My wife and I have signed up together. I need help! I am starting to believe that God has placed this challenge in my life for the sole purpose of starting fresh. I preach to my students the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but part of me is ashamed that I am a fake. I need this to be a better role model to not only the hundreds of students I teach but the two boys that look up to me. I need the energy, strength, and support to show them how much they mean to me. 

Not sure where this challenge will take me, but God has been telling me over the past week to share my story.