Note: This is a draft of the essay I'm turning in at the conclusion of my 12-week Transformation Camp challenge.
As I write this, my body is sore — from my shoulders to my calves and my, well, undercarriage.
Fortunately, it's a good sore.
For almost two hours and 40 minutes Saturday, I splashed around a lake for 1,000 meters, pedaled for 16 miles on a bike and pounded the ground for four miles to the finish line.
A glorious finish line!
Doing TriUtah's spectacular Ogden Valley Triathlon was more significant than just being my first race in more than a year. This fun-and-fulfilling 20ish-mile journey around a scenic mountain valley was the icing on the cake (or the berries in the nutrition shake) of my summer transformation efforts.
In May, all aspects of my life seemed to be swirling down the drain.
At the time, a doctor suggested I take medication for depression. I split a pair of pants and had to use duct tape to cover up the crotch. I felt the pressure of having gained 70 pounds in 11 months while watching, seemingly helplessly, as my family, finances and faith struggled while I moped along in self-destruct mode.
Fast forward to this gorgeous September Saturday, and there I was stroking, sweating and surviving, even smiling, in a challenging multisport adventure — a fitting finale to my 12-week Transformation Camp challenge.
Finishing this race — heck, even entering it — was tangible evidence of progress made.
I didn't reach my lofty weight-loss goal of 50 pounds. I didn't even come close. I weighed 286 pounds when I left to attend camp in Golden, Colo. Twelve weeks later, my scale showed 259.
That 27-pound loss (42 since Memorial Day) was done in a healthy way. I ate six times a day, balancing lean proteins with good carbohydrates, tasty nutrition shakes (Right Light), and fruits and vegetables.
I felt satisfied, nourished and energized, not deprived or sluggish. I'll definitely continue eating like this.
On the exercise front, I made exciting gains that eventually paid off in helping me finish that triathlon (a short jaunt compared to the 140.6-mile Ironman I did in 2011 but a looooong haul compared to vegging on the couch).
Because I'd gained so much weight and felt awkward while sitting, let alone when moving, I started out slowly on the exercise front in June.
Surely and steadily, though, I made gains while doing at least five to six short workouts a week. Per "Body For Life" author Bill Phillips' advice, I did three 25-minute high intensity interval training cardio sessions (mostly a walk/jog/run combo) a week. My fastest speed increased from 4.5 mph to a seemingly Usain-Bolt-like 7.0 mph.
I'd never really pumped iron before, but consistency and perseverance helped me go from using 10- to 15-pound dumbbells to 25- to 35-pounders for most of my lifts.
And did I mention this morbidly obese man did a triathlon last week!?
Working on my mindset (changing from the inside out), participating in community support with fellow campers (and you!), and focusing on improving all aspects of my life have also been rewarding.
Setbacks and disappointment have been countered with renewed resolve, determination and adopted themes of "Keep moving forward" and "Progress, not perfection." I've plugged along while enduring through temptation-filled vacations, doubt-ridden and pity-filled moments and unexpected challenges, including the loss of our family's beloved dog, Jake The Pug.1 comment on this story
I've been helped by others and helped others.
But know what I like best?
In June, I was filled with enthusiasm, motivation and desire while attending the inspiring Transformation Camp.
Twelve weeks later, I continue to have hope.
If these changes are like a triathlon, I'm just getting out of the water and heading to the bike with momentum and mojo on my side. With 90-plus pounds left to lose, my race has just begun.
Good things have happened.
Great things are ahead.
Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy chronicles his weight loss/fitness/transformation efforts in this column.