“Well, you’re both fat,”  he said as we sat in his exam room.  It had been the most trying of our years together and would later become a defining moment in both of our lives.  In the month previous my wife had undergone a surgery to save her liver and ultimately her life.  Complications from gallbladder surgery had landed her in the operating room of one of the top liver specialists in the country.  She had undergone multiple surgeries and a long recovery over the last month.

“Is there anything else we can do to make sure she doesn’t need a transplant?”

“Well, you’re both fat.”

It was difficult to hear, but this doctor, as we had come to find out, was known for his candor.  It was true, we had both become “fat and happy” in the past few years.  We had lost some weight previously, but had gained it all back plus more.  We had developed a habit of social eating and lack of exercise.  It was going to kill us.  We had to change.

When we arrived home from our trip we had had a lot of time to formulate a game-plan on the car ride home.

First step, assess the situation.  Yup, I had to confront that monster on the bathroom floor, the scale.  WOW! I knew I had gained some weight but holy crap!  I stepped on and it spun around and stopped at 350 lbs.  Not because that was my weight, but because that was the max of the scale.  Well, we won’t be doing that for a while until I can get an accurate reading.

Next step, nutrition.  Eating with purpose and cleaning up our eating became the new priority.  I am a tech geek so I went on the hunt for any apps or computer programs I could use to help.

Finally, exercise.  This one I wasn’t so thrilled about.  I hadn’t played any sports in high school nor in college.  I wasn’t athletic in the least.  I knew that I could lose weight without the exercise, but I wanted to accelerate the process.

Winter had set in and we were no longer willing to walk outside.  We had noticed a 24 hour gym just down the street from our house.  So, we joined. I knew the exercise was working as the scale had started to actually read an accurate weight, 345 pounds.  But, the walking was getting old and I didn’t recognize the other equipment in the gym so I beelined to the stationary bike.  A trusty piece of equipment that I was sure would be safe.  After all, I had ridden a bike as a kid.  It was easy back then.  This will be a piece of cake!

After biking for a few days I was ready to start walking again.  With my new trusty technology on my wrist I set out for the treadmill.  (Actually, I was forced.  There was only one bike and it was being used.) I started walking and looked down at my heart rate.  Well, that’s odd, why isn’t my heartrate going up?  So, I started walking faster.  Then the unthinkable happened.  Yup, I was running.  Not fast mind you, but there was definitely a hair of a second where both feet were off the ground/belt.  And I never looked back.

Soon, the weather changed and I decided to take my running outside.  Of course I would need to make sure there was record of this so I began using a mapping app for my wrist technology.  There’s just something about running outside that is so much better than the treadmill.

Fast forward 18 months, I am sitting at a baseball game in Springfield amazed that they had installed larger seats from my last visit.  Actually, I had gotten smaller.  I had lost 105 pounds at this point and was feeling great.  My wife was doing better than ever, feeling great, and completely healthy.  Her doctor had originally told her she would have to be checked every year, but her progress had led him to extend her time between checkups.  My running had been put in high gear with the help and support of a coach.  My phone starts buzzing and it is a blast from the past.  A text message from an acquaintance of old that I had become friends with on the mapping app.  He was messaging to see if I was interested in racing in an event called Outback in the Ozarks.  I had never heard of this event, but my interest was peaked.  This is all I could talk about on the way home from the ballgame and to my surprise my wife said, “let’s both do it.”

So, here we are.  Two months from what we know will be an adventure we will never forget. I have lost 135 pounds.  I typically run 20-25 miles a week and bike 30-40 miles a week.  I lift weights and eat healthy.  I have found that there is no magic bullet or secret pill that can change your life.  You have to want to do it.  Needing to do it is not enough.  We are thrilled to be on a team with some great people and a leader that wants to make this a great experience for everybody involved.  We can’t wait to conquer the Outback!

You can continue to follow Travis’s journey at: Twitter: @bearded_scholar and  Insta: @the_bearded_scholar