In a field, Austin experienced a moment of freedom that overwhelmed him, that gave him an experience of True Life.
Like most of our workouts, this one in the field was a circuit. I was engaged that day, I was moving. I was pushing Justin (an intimidating contestant on the show,) the same way Justin pushed me, but when I got to the army crawl for the second time I was tired. I got halfway across the field before I began to “check out.” My eyes kind of glazed over, and I just went through the motions, I wasn’t really paying attention. Justin saw it in my eyes. He wouldn’t let it go. He made me look him in the eyes as he screamed, “Don’t you dare give up! Don’t you dare check out!”
I stood up. I hit the shield that Justin was holding and I finished out the circuit with fresh vigor. This was a moment of strength. I overcame my weariness to finish something great. That was the moment that changed my entire Biggest Loser game. That was the moment I checked into Life.
That moment in the field is when I realized it wasn’t about a workout, or a game. That moment was about my life. I had checked out as a kid. I had given up. Given in. Within a few years, I had allowed myself to gain over 80 pounds. As a twelve year old I started to gain fast, and it didn’t stop there. I allowed a stage of awkwardness to become my defining moment, and I let other peoples’ thoughts weigh me down – both figuratively and physically. I “checked out” as a twelve year old, but through my time on the ranch I was given the greatest gift a boy could be given. I was given the gift of growing; growing into the man I was born to be. I’m not saying I’m done, I am just saying that my life is better today than I ever dreamed it could be. This is all because I “Checked Into Life.”
Life, After Biggest Loser
As a Contestant on the show, my life didn’t end with the finale night. I mean, that night was an amazing one, and it’ll be one that I treasure for a long while, but my life went on. For the first time I had the ability to choose anything, anything, and I could do it. This was overwhelming and in my first eight months off from the show, I struggled. I had a foot injury that made working out difficult, and I had a car accident that derailed my workouts for months, but I have to be honest- those were my excuses to begin to slip into old habits. My heart wasn’t driven to food out of brokenness but I lost my grip on the healthy habits, which had helped me get my weight back to normal.
This hasn’t been easy. Life isn’t all roses without thorns! I have struggled. I have been frustrated- but the fight is worth it. My health, on a daily basis, is worth the struggle. I will continue moving forward in my journey, and what I ask is that you join me. Take the opportunity to check into your own lives.
30% of baptists and 22% of pentecostals are obese compared to about 1% of Jews and 0.7% of Hindus and Buddhists.
—2006 Purdue Study
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES…
My focus has become not only my own journey towards a steady life of health, but helping others embrace that life as well. I have a heart for people that struggle with obesity, as well as kids that struggle with weight. I have a heart for students facing bullying, because I experienced being bullied as well. I want to help others change their lives in powerful, strength-filled ways that are meaningful and long term. This is my passion.