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March 15, 2023

Dom Matteo - Death of a friend, birth of a son and a rebirth (losing 125lbs)

At 300 pounds and 36% body fat, Dominic was morbidly obese. He held a decent job, he was happily married, he enjoyed some solid, long-standing friendships, and he liked his hometown, Cleveland. Yet something wasn’t right in his life – and on a deep level, he knew it. He just wasn’t sure what the problem was, or how to fix it. Until fate intervened.

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Weight loss and fitness aren’t optional to Dominic Matteo.  For him they are literally matters of life and death.

We have to go back to 2009 to understand why.  Dominic was in rough shape.  In fact, he was morbidly obese.

He held a decent job, he was happily married, he enjoyed some solid, long-standing friendships, and he liked his hometown, Cleveland.

Yet something wasn’t right in his life – and on a deep level, he knew it. He just wasn’t sure what the problem was, or how to fix it. Or maybe he lacked the confidence to try.

Things could have continued like that indefinitely. Dominic might have existed with this low-level dissatisfaction for years.

After all, many people do – assuming that it’s the best they can expect, or doubting that they have whatever it takes to achieve fulfillment.

But fate had something different in store for Dominic.

And it arrived in the form of two significant and eerily timed events.

First, one of his closest friends suffered a pulmonary embolism and passed away.

Naturally, the news stunned him. It’s never easy to lose the people we care for, but when they’re young and their death is sudden, it’s that much harder to reconcile ourselves to the fact that they are gone.

Meanwhile, on the very day that his friend died, Dominic also learned that his wife, Kelly, was pregnant with their first son.

In a few short months, he would become a father.

This is the kind of juxtaposition that would compel any of us to reconsider our lives and our choices. Dominic was no exception.

He had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and “exercise induced asthma.” And he knew that if he kept on going the way he was going, his physical condition would only get worse.

If he wanted to be there for his son in a meaningful way, he had to act – now.

As a kid, growing up in Arizona and New Mexico, he’d loved to chase lizards and ride his bike, and he’d happily explored the desert for entire days.

Yet something was different now.

He felt pulled in a new way to persist and to go deeper in his reading and his learning. And the deeper he went, the more he wanted to learn and do.

Meanwhile, the weight was coming off.  In the first year, he lost 100 pounds. But at that point, he was small and weak. He then decided to put on some muscle and try to lean out even further.

That makes the process sound simple and straightforward. But it wasn’t.

In fact, Dominic started and stopped quite a few times during his journey – feeling unsure that he could continue, or simply not 

Eventually, Dominic lost 110 pounds, reducing his body fat to the single digits. No longer morbidly obese, instead he was unusually fit.

And weight loss wasn’t the only benefit.

As he started to become more comfortable with the process and more confident that he could maintain and even improve on his new levels of fitness, he found himself experimenting, looking at his own outcomes. In effect he was coaching himself.

“For example, I found that certain foods inflamed the arthritis in my neck quite a bit,” he explains. “Cutting those foods out and adding more anti-inflammatory foods pretty much eliminated the arthritis issues.”

Always curious, and always a careful and methodical thinker, Dominic was now bringing these strengths to a new area of his life.

As result he was feeling healthier, not only in body, but also in mind and spirit. He was coming into his own..

Still working full-time as a systems analyst for a major insurance company – and by now, a proud father – he also became a part-time coach and trainer, working with others to help them attain the amazing results he’d achieved for himself.

Within the next few years, Dominic earned certifications from just about every sports and nutrition association out there.

International Rugby Board, Hardstyle kettlebells, Russian kettlebells, StrongFirst Girya, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, PN’s Certification program, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – and more.

In fact, once he’d begun, it was as if he couldn’t get enough learning in this field.

And he supplemented his learning with continued practice, coaching members of his rugby team, designing and delivering workshops, offering group classes and programs.

“A lot of people don’t give themselves enough credit,” Dominic explains. “They want to change. But they don’t believe in themselves. So they shut themselves down before they even try.”

His job, as a coach, is to offer the kind of encouragement they need to get them over that hump of resistance. “So they can see how strong they really are,” he adds. “It’s an amazing process.”

And as someone who has lost a substantial amount of weight and taken himself from morbid obesity to fitness, he’s uniquely positioned to understand his clients’ triumphs and their challenges.

“There are things you go through that lots of people might not even think about,” he explains.

Your identity shifts. Your relationships change. And when you lose a great deal of weight, you can even become almost unrecognizable to others and to yourself.

People treat you differently – for better and for worse. You wonder how and where you fit in.

At moments like that, a coach can be invaluable – supporting you in your positive choices, helping you navigate the social minefields, and encouraging you to be your best self. Moving you forward.











*All right, welcome to the show. Um how would your life be different if you lost 125lbs? 

I imagine it would be pretty significantly different. And so we're gonna chat with Dom coach Dom Dominick today and learn a little bit more about his story. So welcome to show Dom.

Thank you. Yeah, thank you for having me.

I always like to just get into where are you at present, what are you doing? And a little bit of your, your present backstory and then we're gonna figure out how you got here.

So what what am I doing currently? Um Yeah, I right now I have a a health coaching business that I run, I have a handful of clients that I keep uh part time and then full time I am teaching a master health coaching course uh for precision nutrition helping people prep and get ready to take the national board certification for health and wellness. 

Yeah, yeah, like that and I should mention like that's kind of how we how we became acquainted was through through precision nutrition and uh you helped me through this process as well, which I which I greatly appreciate but I also admired your, your stories, I wanted to explore a little bit more. Um what else is going on? Um Yeah, so just, you know, I'm I'm I'm 45 I'm trying to keep keep active and keep busy. I have kids. Uh I have two Children, my my son is 12, my daughter's eight. Uh they both do their ninja warrior thing. Uh They participate in ninja warrior, they both qualified for worlds in a couple of different leagues, and my daughter just started wrestling, so I hope I coach girls wrestling girls youth wrestling, um which is really fun actually. Um it's really cool seeing these little girls russell, they're tenacious, some of them, um it's more entertaining actually than watching some of the boys. Um So I spend my time doing that uh you know, I entertain myself doing jiu jitsu and lifting weights and uh I have a rock gym that I built for my kids and myself in the basement, so I mean as well, uh yeah, so keep busy uh physically, you know, I try to stay very physically active, not because I have to, but it's stuff that I truly enjoy, um especially these days. Yeah. Oh yeah, a little bit, yeah, so this past year was my, my 20th season, it was, it's so I officially hung up the boots minus some fun things I'll do um with a team of guys we call, it's called the dad squad, we're all older guys with kids, um so we'll go enter some tournaments and people don't like us because we don't practice and we win it just, you know, experiencing veteran savvy. 

It's exactly what it is, why it's the dad squad. That's that's fantastic. Um Yeah, I think, you know, coaching, I actually don't think it would have. 

I grew up in small towns, like, I don't think we've had a girls wrestling team growing up, we had a very small wrestling team to begin with. So it's a new girls wrestling is the largest growing sport in the world right now. Um Guys, lots of states in the United States has become a sanctioned sports, so money for scholarships and college for wrestling and you know, it's a varsity sport um in a lot of high school levels for for girls as well, so it's pretty cool. Yeah, I mean, and I think it's it's fantastic for them to to also just to discover their physical strength and what they can do. And uh have you, have you coached uh like boys as well or only ever been? 

No, no, not not formally. Um This was kind of like I was sitting up there for practice watching them and it's like I can, you know, I can help here. I can't, I don't, I have a hard time sitting still doing nothing. So I'm there, I don't want to be on my phone for two hours so I decided to start coaching and they need it. I mean there's 30 girls on the team. So um it's they need the help sometimes. Yeah. Yeah. Do you have a, you mentioned you to B. J. J. Do you have a wrestling background or is it just, there's a lot of B. J. J. That translates over into wrestling? Yeah. So I wrestled in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grade. 

Um, I was not physically fit then. Um, and the weight classes that I happened to land in were weight classes were like, just the the killers were right. So I would get smashed every week for four years in a row. Right? I was a skinny fat kid at the time. 

Um, Just not, you know, I was a late bloomer, I would say, you know, it wasn't, so I showed up, I worked hard, but I got absolutely crushed for all those years. Um, So it's a little different now. So a lot of that just kind of body awareness and some of the movement and stuff there is there and it's applicable for, for jujitsu, especially like for doing uh you know, instead of tournament this past weekend, like um in the NOg category, um you know, takedowns are easy for me, right? Because that's something I've been train all those years. Uh So it was totally different. But that actually that, which came as I was sitting there watching my kids do wrestling and and stuff. 

I'm like, yeah, I missed this. Like come back to that, like how can I do this? And I was like, oh jiu Jitsu. Okay, yeah, yeah. So how old were you when you took up Jiu Jitsu? 

It's only been a few months. It's like I said, it's my, it's my retirement sports, that's I retired from rugby. I tell people that they look at me like what? And it's like, yeah, rugby is, jiu jitsu is a lot easier on my body than rugby is. Um because I'm not running full speed into another, you know, man who's, you know, twice my body weight, running full speed, right? Like none of those collisions are there, there's no random leg flying around that I've got to worry about hitting my knee from the side or anything like that, so it's a little bit more control. Yeah, yeah, that's fantastic, you know? Um so I'm curious, kind of a little bit about the backstory. Um where did you, where did you said you were skinny fat kid kind of growing up and you wrestled, where did you grow up? 

Well, I was born in Cleveland and before, I don't know, I was probably a couple of months old. Um, My father moved us to, we moved to to Tucson Arizona. So I lived in Tucson Arizona. Yeah, I went from, you know, the snow belt to the desert? Um, I grew up right in Tucson for, I was in Tucson for 11 years. Um And then we lived in Las cruces New Mexico for two years And then we moved back home to Cleveland, but uh childhood out there was in the 80s. Pretty fun. Okay, well I was like man, new Mexico um with like no internet and um like and hardly any people like I don't know what the population and I'm sort of expressing my ignorance, I mean I've been to Arizona but I haven't been to New Mexico. Like man, it seems like there's just not a lot of people there and there's not a lot like grows and lives there, but maybe I'm mistaken. 

Yeah, where we were was it was a decent sized little city, I mean it's um kind of grown up a little bit, it's not a massive city um but that was, you know, it's it's pretty close to el paso, so it's almost like a border town, it's about 35 minutes from el paso texas. Um And so that was an interesting experience being New Mexico where um it actually, I look at it now and it's just like a lot of things in my life. I look and I'm very grateful and happy that they happen, they taught me a lot, so in that space um it was a predominantly hispanic school, so I got to see what it felt like being a minority in the school essentially right? Um So that was, especially when most of the kids speak spanish and the only thing I understood was when they were swearing at me, uh, did you, did you end up picking up some spanish as a, as a byproduct necessity? Yeah. Yeah. And Tucson was fun as a kid. 

Like, like I said, we were in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and, you know, being in the eighties, I was a latchkey kid since I was in like fourth grade, uh, because I was raised by my dad, my dad was a single parent, uh, for many of the years that we were out there, you know, he'd been remarried and then divorced and so I spent a lot of time on my own. You know, just kind of like riding my bike through the desert or just out wandering around in the desert, catching lizards and tarantulas and stuff. It was like I said for a little boy, it was, it was pretty, it was a pretty cool time and a place to be growing up. Yeah. That's, that's fascinating. Just this idea of like, yeah, riding my bike around the desert. 

I'm like, man, I would have fried because I'm like, it was hot. Yeah, it was hot. Tucson is, man, it was super hot, but it's, I say this all the time and people, you know, I say it's a dry heat. 

People like, no hot hot. Like, no, it really is a big difference, right? You don't know that you're sweating because it evaporates so fast and, and if you go in the shade, it's 30 to 40 degrees cooler because, because there's no humidity, right? 

It's just straight son. So if you get in the shade you're cool. Yeah. Yeah, that, that is a big difference. 

I mean my, my in laws lived in Queensland which is northeastern Australia, which is the tropical part. And I live in Canada as you know. And uh, you know, fly from like Canadian winter too. 

Tropical Queensland literally like over 24 hour span is like a shock to the system and it gets insane. It would get insanely hot up there like in Celsius. Like you're in the mid forties sometimes, which is 100 you know, 100 and 10 kind of thing. But the humidity is like 100% like it feels like you just walk into this wall of steam and you're like, how do I breathe this air? It feels like this hot moisture burning my lungs. So yeah, so I think a dry heat is, it's like a sauna, like free sauna, right? 

The desert is not like that. Like the desert is not like it's not human, there's no humidity there at all. So it was interesting. Um But yeah, I mean that's, so you said it was raised by my dad. Um So I spent a lot of time alone and I think that, you know, part of that is part of what started kind of uh, for lack of better terms the deterioration of my physical health if you will, you know? Um He worked a lot. 

He worked late and he was doing the best he could um as a single dad. And it would be like, you know, we'd eat fast food 9, 10 o'clock at night sometimes. Um but I would be by myself most of the time, like there'd be days like, um, like a grilled cheese sandwich and I make like three or four of them, right? Like that. There was no one there to tell me no. And I had uh, interestingly enough, I developed those cooking skills back then when I was young, but maybe not in the right, not in the best, not learning the best things then. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, not at the time. So this is an interesting thing. 

I'm technically an only child. Um but for for a long time. So my dad had remarried and I was the youngest of three. Um you know, my stepbrother and stepsister older, um I was just calling my brother and sister. Um so, you know, we had that dynamic going and then they got divorced and then, you know, it's kind of back on my own for a while and um in high school my father got remarried and so I'm still now the oldest of three. So I'm an only child. I've been the youngest of three and the oldest of three, right? There's lots of lots of like big dichotomies in my life, right? 

I lived in the desert and I lived in the Snow belt. Yeah, no kidding. Um, do you, do you maintain relations with your step siblings to some degree? I do. So you know, my, my, my younger two brothers, like we talk all the time. 

Um, and then the older two, I talked with my older sister a little bit more frequently than, uh, brother. Yeah, that's kind of cool. And, and so, so you started with grilled cheese sandwiches and, and fast food and that was, that was gonna happen cheese, scrambled eggs and bacon grilled cheese sandwiches. Those were, oh, and uh, can't forget. Yeah. Not hearing a lot of vegetables in there. Not that done. Yeah. But you got into, you got into wrestling eventually. Did you play any other sports? Yeah. So I didn't actually play sports until eighth grade. 

That was when we moved back home to Cleveland. Um, It was like, okay, I'll try this out. Um, because for all those younger years, you know, my dad would like take me to like the peewee football and I was too big. I'm like, I'm not losing £10. Like that was my attitude. And as a kid, like I'm not going on a diet to play football. No. Right? Because I was bigger than the weight limit. Yeah. For, for certain ages. Yeah. The weight limit caps here. This age, the weight limit caps here. Yeah. Um, so I never played sports until eighth grade organized sports. 

You know we played a lot of like backyard football and that kind of stuff. And eighth grade I wrestled um I also played football and I did track um And I just track was I was not good either. Um You know I threw shot and discus and again like I said it was not not a muscular kid like like I am grew into um So that wasn't super great. Uh Football was good though. Football. I found kind of my home, I did well there. 

I played football through high school, I played my freshman year of college. Yeah. Um And I you know I wrestled for those couple of years in high school as well and I didn't do any other sports in high school. Um But even then in football I played defensive line and offensive line right? And I'm not gonna call um I was just. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you think about the d. Line and the online in in in football and these guys are all probably a majority of them are over £300. Well I mean yeah offensive linemen are gonna be heavier. 

Defensive defensive linemen are getting heavier and heavier now too. But you know I'd say like 260s probably like a uh light minimum these days. Fair enough. Yeah. I mean I always thought it would be very interesting to see if you can get a bunch of sumo wrestlers and and put them on like a defensive line and, or, and or offensive line and see how they do because they, you know, they more or less, you know, charge and smashing each other with no padding and things like that. So I thought that might be kind of a fun experiment. 

I don't know if I'd go that well, yeah, sumo wrestler on the offensive line would do very, very well because they know how to like, right there there there sport by nature is keeping them from getting pushed out of out of the circle. So that's an interesting experiment. Yeah. See if you can get some some sumo sumo wrestlers playing playing american football, that would be, yeah, I'd like, I'd like to see that, pay to see that at least a few times. Why not? So then Yeah. Yeah. And then do you, did you head off to college? Um you played, you played football for? 

Yeah, I played football year in college. Um You know, I was like, it was ok, like I wasn't, I was wasn't like, it was still a little overweight going into college playing that first year, but by the end of my first year of college, like I had bloomed up pretty big, especially then once I stopped because I was like, just drinking and staying up late and eating fast food a lot. Um Right, so not really taking care of myself then either, that's when things started kind of really going downhill. Um Yeah, if you will. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, and and for you was like the food and the alcohol just like uh comfort sort of thing. 

You know, pattern from like childhood or just just what you did or Yeah, that's a great question. Um There's a lot of deep stuff in there I think, you know, there's probably, I I definitely spent a lot of time, you know, I was always kind of like, I would describe myself to people as like if you've ever seen the movie Tommy boy, like that's how I was center of the party. Like I was always fun and you know like doing wild things and like, you know, loud and probably a little bit brash. Um Like just, you know, and a lot of that came from like, hey, this is, this is kind of like the sad clown, right? Like I felt sad and depressed and upset about a lot of things. It was like, so I'm gonna try to make myself happy in a lot of ways. It was like, well if I keep other people entertained, then they're not gonna notice who I am and they're not going to pick on me. Uh I could tell you when I was in uh when I was in New Mexico, I got picked on quite a bit, you know, I was chubby, nerdy white kid. Like my dad would like if I broke my glasses my dad would just literally put tape on them, right? Like the typical stereotypical right? Like tape on the side here over there. You know, like I didn't have the, I didn't have the fancy shoes that everyone else had, you know, it was just uh so that a lot of that was, that was uh, you know, started accumulating at that point, especially at that age, right? 

That's like, that's a tough age. Yeah. Yeah. I remember playing the jolly fat guy for for a number of years and in my case it was just like a compensation, I think mechanism, you know, um if I'm gonna be big, I might as well have like a big personality and whatnot and I can kind of use it to encourage others to engage in in, in the behaviors I'm engaging in. Exactly. Exactly. Like I would be the guy like I had, I had a beer bomb that we called the widowmaker. 

I was so proud of this. But back then too because you can put six, you can put a six pack in it and like, so like one of the things I was proud of and I would like, I would win bets and stuff like I would, I could bong six beers faster than most people could do one. It's like, it's like there was a six pack, but that was part of it, right? Like you said, like that big personality, Like, you know, like, hey, let's let's go, let's go to this party or whatever and it was kind of like, like that, so um I mean I did like some ridiculous things like I would order a large pizza um and asked them not to cut it, right, so I could roll it up like a taquito and just just, you know what I mean? That was exactly what I was picturing you do if they weren't cutting it. Yeah. Is roll it up like that. 

That that that's crazy. Um Did you ever eat um I guess not competitively, like professional, but did you ever like engage in any kind of eating competitions? No, no, no, never. 

Never went that far. If that was probably a little bit more popular thing back then, I'm sure it would have, right? Because there's always been like that little bit of a competitive edge. That was kind of like the thing with the beer bomb, like I'm gonna, like, I'm gonna do this better than you. Oh, I mean, and you kind of wonder if you sort of get a reputation in your circle and I mean, you saw my reaction when I heard you're doing this, you can just imagine people witnessing this in like real time, like their minds just like, you know, like what am I what am I watching right now? Right? Right, So there was a lot of debauchery. 

A lot of um just lack of self care, I think just like lack of care about a lot of things at that time for me, my grades were great. Um Very, very different. Like I didn't, I tell people I didn't start to grow up until I turned 25, like that's when it started. Yeah, I think that's actually a really profound thing to say. 

I mean, I know, you know, it's said that the male brain doesn't reach full emotional maturation till around 28 years of age. The Frontal lobe doesn't close until 25. Yeah, so like, what chance do we have? But at a certain point in time, like, or maybe maybe you sort of part of the plan that you kind of wrestled with this internally, like this sort of behavior, like there's this awareness, like, I don't know how to stop this train, like I don't, I don't, I don't like what I'm doing, but I don't, I don't, I don't know what else to do. Was there any sort of, that, that sort of going on during this time? 

Yeah, some of that started, some of that was in college, like there was definitely times where I dieted in college, you know, it was weird because when I was in high school when I wrestled, there were times that I didn't really diet, I just starve myself because I was trying to make a little weight class because I couldn't beat the guy that was in my weight class. Um which is, it's kind of, it's terrible, but it's kind of standard behavior in that space for a lot of people, you just don't know any better. But that wasn't like, that wasn't a solution to that pain that started probably in college a couple of times in college. I remember, like, first reading about like, the Atkins diet, right? And it was like, yes, like, here I am, right. Yeah. Like here I am like this, this like, former offensive lineman who's, you know, pushing, you know, at the end college, I probably, I think the heaviest I got in college is probably like, to 70 to 60 to £7270. 

Um, You know, it's like, oh, I can eat, I can eat bacon and sausage and lose weight. So, right. Exactly. I never remember sit there at the, at the dinner table one day and I had like, a pile of bacon and my roommate just laughed. And I said, what are you doing? 

I'm like, there's this diet that you can do. And it's like, don't eat carbohydrates, you're just eating this stuff and it's supposed to work like magic. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Like, I'm like, the appeal of keto is like bacon and cheese, You know, like, that's it. 

You know, I guess Atkins was just a variation on, on keto, essentially. Um, because I think I remember hearing something like, someone was concerned about the carbohydrates and the carrots they were eating. I was just like, what? 

This doesn't compute gonna put me out of ketosis. Yeah, but I mean, yeah, for someone, you know, because I wrestled with emotional eating for quite a number of years as well. And so I'm like, of course I would, I would totally understand the appeal of that. Like, I can eat all the bacon I want and don't have to worry about vegetables because they have carbs in them, like, yeah, sign me up. Yeah. So that didn't really work out. I stuck with that for maybe like a week, you know, because it was like, oh, I can't drink beer, I'm gonna go do something else. Fair enough. Yeah. So, yeah, so all along your, you know, at a certain point, you've made a couple of efforts, maybe I haven't gone that well, you know, because you realize, okay, this isn't something I can stick with. 

Um, what was sort of like rock bottom for you, Or maybe there's more than one, I don't know. Yeah, there's definitely a few low, low periods. Um, I'd say the first, I don't know, like the first main one, honestly was probably, um, when I had graduated, so I graduated from college and uh, my college girlfriend, uh, and I broke up and I was like, that's like war on me quite a bit. 

Um, so I think at that point that like, the pain of like, okay, you know, um, here I am now, like bigger than I've ever been, I need to I need to do something about this because I'm I'm sad and I can't just keep doing this. Um So at that point, I like, you know, I was I was always looking I was always interested in like, health and fitness and nutrition stuff, like getting like the bodybuilding mags, like muscle media 2000. Like I probably own every every single right addition um for the first couple of years, I love that stuff. Um didn't live that lifestyle. Um but then that was when like, like Bill phillips in the body for life thing first, like came out and I did that and I leaned out pretty pretty good. 

I mean, I think I got down to maybe £190 or something like that. Um and I maintained that for, I don't know, maybe six months maybe a year. Um So that that was kind of like, like my first successful stint yeah, into trying to make that approach. Um I did quality for life as well, that was like the first thing I tried, I didn't go to. Yeah, exactly. It was, you know, it was affected for a lot of people at the time. 

Bill phillips was a pioneer in that space um in the sense that he gave you a comprehensive plan made things like weightlifting normal for a lot of people. I had always been in the gym anyway because of football. Um lucky that I had coaches and people, you know, I've been lifting weights in some way, shape or form since I was 14 like regularly um In college, not so much that was more was doing 12 ounce curls um you know, uh so so I did the body for life thing and then I put the weight back on, you know, I got a new job changed like a couple of jobs, 9 11 happened, I got a job at a Fortune 100 company located here in Cleveland and it really started to thrive there in my career and grow um and at the same, you know, around then as when I started playing playing rugby, I found a men's club team. I start I was still in half decent shape when I first started playing that over the next couple of years, especially with like the rugby socials and then just, you know, I was putting out a lot at work um Putting a lot of time and hours into work and stuff, like just I blew up and that's when I that's when I went over £300 um for the first time. Um Yeah, and I was there for for a couple for several years. 

Yeah, and and you were, I know a little bit about your background and I'm trying to think you were involved in like software data analytics, something on those lines or what was it was, yeah, it was a business systems analyst. Uh so I helped develop my main role in that that job was uh doing requirements gathering and writing and essentially, you know, helping put together a plan for like kind of software we're building. Um and so along the way, were there any relationships that you were you were involved in or are you single at this time? Yeah, so around that time, you know, I was dating a couple of different people uh including my current wife who I have known for forever, I met her, so her story is so funny. I met her um at a wedding and her cousin or her sister, her sister married my cousin and we met at their wedding. So people like when we got married, it was like my brother in law was like, am I your brother in law or your cousin? I'm confused. That's what he put on his car. That's awesome. That's fantastic. Yeah. So yeah, I was, you know, kind of dating around like we like I had um on the way to go to a a patio bar on, on a sunday, we would do this every sunday when my buddy would travel for work and we'd come back, we'd always go out. Um we were driving by where, where my wife lived and I hadn't talked to her in a couple of years and I just text her and said, hey, we're going to stay and you want to come and stop by and we started hanging out again from there. Um And so she's been she's been with me since uh you know, through all of this stuff, right? Um So she saw me get real big um And that was, you know, as I was bigger when we got married, but I got real big after. 

Yeah, that's when I I think I said when I pushed up over £300. Yeah. How did she how did she respond to that? 

Thinking back, it was tough. I mean she where are you? She never said anything. Um She was never you know, she's always just never really said anything about it, never thought about it. Um You know, we we certainly had our share of fights and arguments, most of that was probably me just not feeling good, You know? 

There was definitely a period of time where I didn't want to be intimate with her because I felt disgusted in myself, like um that was uh definitely a difficult time for her to write, like it's like there's something wrong with me, and it's like, no, it's me, like, I'm embarrassed. Um So that's um and mind you, I'm like playing rugby and I'm still being active doing all of this trying to at least, but, you know, I paid zero attention to my food, zero attention to my sleep, zero attention to my recovery, right? Zero attention to like my mental acuity and my thoughts and where things were, Yeah, And then like, kind of a step forward was like, all right, when you one year, I was like, alright, I'm gonna try and get in little better shape for rugby because at that time, like I was so big, like I can only play half and that was it. That's all I can manage. 

My back would hurt, I'd be out of wind, whatever it was. Yeah, that's um and I was doing um my friend had had like, I had seen an infomercial, right one night, the irony and this is the beauty and why how they did this. Um one night after we're out, like, it was probably like 23 in the morning, you know, I'm sitting on my couch in the basement drunk um and uh eating, eating hardy's, you know, so I'm eating like some bacon, bacon double cheeseburger, like probably two or three of them and a large fry and a milkshake, right? 

I'm shoving my face with food because I'm drunk and I'm not eating slowly um watching tv and I'm watching this infomercial for like this workout program, like, like at home workout program. And so I'm watching people talk about fitness in the back of my mind, I'm like, I would love for this to be me and I'd love to do this again. Like I liked when I did the body for life and how can I make this change and as I'm eating this food. Um and so I just was at rugby practice one day, I was talking with one of my buddies and he's like, yeah, I've got those at home. Um and so he let me borrow those and I started using them and I liked it, I was like, hey, okay, I feel like I'm getting a little bit fitter, I'm getting a little bit shape and more in shape. It sucked. When I first started it, it was probably the worst experience ever. You know, I felt like here I am, I'm supposed to be this strong guy and I'm like, I can't, like, I can't even do like five pushups, I'm getting crushed, right, but I stuck with it. Um and things changed a little bit, but not a whole lot. Um so probably about a good four or five months or so. Um and then the big kicker for me happened um we found out that um the same day, we found out we're having our son was the same day that one of my best friends died. He had a pulmonary embolism, right? So like I get a call in the morning and it's like my friend who lives and works, like he moved out to Colorado Springs worked for the same company still that I did. Um and so did one of my other friends, she was out there and she called me, it was like, I'll never forget, it was like 7 30 in the morning, she's bawling hysterically, I'm like what is going on? 

You know, she's just like he's gone, he's gone, I'm talking about and I found out um and then so we had an appointment right with the doctor later my wife and I didn't tell her I didn't want to ruin her day because she was super excited, you know, we went like pregnant, having a son, like awesome. Um But that was kind of the moment for me going okay if I'm gonna be a parent and I've always been a person, especially like I said when I was younger, I was kind of, it was pretty brash. Um and I was like yeah you know like kids act up because their parents fault, like the parents are the ones that do it right, so or like whatever it is, it was always the parents fault, like that was the way I thought I didn't have kids obviously and all that other stuff, but there is some truth to that and so for me at that time it was like okay well I better put my money where my mouth is like if I'm gonna be responsible for this kid and I have to be a father, I don't I don't want something to take me away prematurely. Um I don't want my kid to have to live an unhealthy lifestyle because he sees the example for me doing that. Um And so at that point that's when it was like okay then I started going well I should probably pay attention to the food and pay attention to these other things. Um And through a friend of mine I was introduced to a guy that happened to be on these infomercials who his story is very similar to. 

Mine were the same similar build like the same back almost everything and he lives like an hour and a half away from me. Um And so he was on the infomercials, he used to travel around with like Tony Horton and um like go on Q. V. C. And do all that stuff. Um So yeah so I got in touch with me, I got in touch with him and it was kind of like tell me your story how things work for you and it was like you know he told me what he was doing and and and how he did it and it was like at that moment I was kinda like okay I'm gonna dial in all my stuff, I don't care what happens, I'm gonna do the best I can for a year that was my goal because it took him a year to lose like £100 and I become right the poster boy for this particular product. So for me it was like okay he can do it, I can do it, it's gonna I'm gonna commit this for at least a year and so I did and so I was doing those at home workouts, six days a week, you know paying to the best of my ability, you know, using the nutrition guide, their learning about food. 

I kind of went went, took some more courses about nutrition when I was in college, I was premed until I did uh an internship where I wanted to be an eye doctor and I was like, yeah, this is like glorified sales, I'm not doing this and I shifted sociology and business. Yeah, my junior year remind you that didn't hardest thing, but it was fine. Um So I had always had an interest in that stuff, so I took some more classes about nutrition and you know, it was really kind of paying attention to that, dialing it in. You know, I used to have like a little note cards inside of our pantry, like listing like these are the portions and then like, you know every morning right out like, okay, this is what I'm eating to match the portions that I need. So I kind of plug and play did that for that for, You know, total ended up being like 18 months. So I ended up going from, I stopped looking at the scale at £300. Um I definitely gained more weight after that, but 300 is the official number that I had. So from from the highest officially recorded at 300 to the lowest, I'd officially recorded in that, that stint. I got down to £175. Um 5 6. Okay, not very tall. 

You can imagine a man that's 56, 300 lb. That was pretty round. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Which works. Which at some points in rugby were great. Like if we were within the five m line, they would just give me the ball, like bounce off me, I'm scoring, scoring every time because I'm low and heavy, like people had a hard time. Um So that was the fun part. Um but yeah, so being 556, 300 lb, you know that I didn't realize how much I was just suffering all the time because it had become normal, right? 

I didn't know what feeling good felt like. So the normal, the normal part was feeling like garbage. I just thought that's how you felt, right? I didn't realize it wasn't normal to like want to fall asleep after you eat eat something, it wasn't normal to, you know, have your stomach feel so bloated that you have to unbuckle your pants after every meal. Like I just thought that's what people did and along the way, kind of going through this, this program um and your wife is watching this transformation happen and I guess your son was born by this time, is that right? 

Yeah, so my, my, yeah, so my son was born um part way through the process that was already pretty, was probably about 100 maybe 100 £90 100 and £85 I think I lost another £10 after he was born. Like that's where I actually did like a, I I did like a very strict diet for like a month to be like, let's see how lean I can actually get right. Uh so that was, he was born, she was there, you know, I was doing my thing um and things started to change from there, right? 

That's where a lot of things started to shift, just my mindset, my my mentality about life and what I thought was important. Um you know, I started I became conscious if you will, because I wasn't conscious about things in the past and not just with my own physical health and talking in general, other people, how I treated other people, right? How I made them feel the things that I did, the things that I thought about, all of that stuff, that's remarkable, and and um I mean obviously, I think your wife was probably quite ecstatic to watch these different changes happen. Um Yes, and no, it was, that's a weird, so this is a weird time for people, right? So we just had a baby, you know, she was doing all her stuff, she was happy for me that I was, you know, I felt good and was doing stuff, but at the same time now you introduce this new dynamic where, right, and part of that whole process of me losing this weight is I had to sit down with her one night and I said, look this is what I want to do, this is why this is important to me, I need your help, we can't keep eating out every night. And that was part that was like the conversation I had with, we need to start like planning meals and cooking stuff at home and that was like massive resistance at first for her because that was a big change and she had to change to, it wasn't just me um you know, but I did most of the cooking anyway, so once we did that, it was like if I could get her buy in on the things that I was going to cook, she was okay with that, but I had if I didn't have that conversation, that would have never, it never would have worked out. Yeah, it wouldn't have, Yeah. Um so she was kind of on board at that point and then like I said, once things change now, the new dynamic is people are noticing me and asking like what am I doing and I'm getting attention from other people that I maybe wouldn't have before. And so that created a lot of friction that we had to work. Makes sense. Yeah. And that that was you sort of preempted the question that I had around this because when, you know in a relationship like this, that's a long term committed relationship, these significant changes happen um very often there there is a shift in the relationship dynamic and I sort of went through some of this with my my wife as well just learning how to how to navigate this. And you know, you said something I think really prescient was like, you know, you needed her buying and her support. 

I remember saying to my wife like I need to help me in this because you know, for me, I was basically a binge eating food addict. It was it was, yeah. And so was I can't I can't do this by myself and if you know, we need we need to change what we do, but you're right, any time we introduce friction into a relationship because of a change when we've we've kind of fallen to the this is comfortable, this is normal and so on. Like you have to you have to kind of work through that and I appreciate you being willing, willing to share that. 

It's really, really important. This, you know, this idea that it's not all roses like going through this process, there's there's like a new normal that we kind of have to have to adjust, adjust to and it's not just us, it's the other people in our lives too, right? There was a whole period of time where I used to start, like I would get annoyed a little bit where like if I would go to a family gathering or function or something and you know, people just say random things like, oh, you're healthy, you can't eat this, or like yeah, right? Or like, I can't believe you're eating that you're so, you know, like, oh, you should stay away, you don't, you don't eat that stuff anyway, like, you know, you work out all the time, that's why, and it's like, it was all like that stuff doesn't bother me now, people don't say stuff like that anyway anymore, but initially that's how it was, right, You have to realize that your dynamic with all the people in your life is going to change and it's not easy, some people are gonna be way more supportive than others. Yeah, and and I know for me there was a lot of conflict avoidance um and so I would just kind of let food pushers steamroll me a little bit as well, not wanting to introduce friction in the relationship, so I'd be like, okay, well whatever, I'll just start compromising my values this time because it's easier, and I think whenever somebody goes through transformation, there's others who are looking on and observing and watching this process happen, like whether they want to not end up kind of reflecting themselves and going like, what am I doing here? 

Is someone improving themselves and I'm not Yeah, and that's that's another tough one too right, um that's where you get the people that come out and say nasty things or you get people that are, you know, trying to sabotage you because you're right. It's like, it's like that that whole like the I don't know if it's real or not, but they talk about the crab mentality, right? If one tries to crawl out of the bucket, the other ones are gonna pull it back in. Yeah, I know in South Africa, they used to talk about the PhD mentality, I lived down there for a period of time and it's to pull him down and pull her down mentality. 

Someone's trying to rise above the, you know, whatever where we're at and it's like, well we don't see that it's possible for us and so we're gonna drag you back into this because we can't visualize it is possible for us. And so you've been able to maintain a significant portion this weight loss, you know, once you once you want this transformation, was there any any like significant weight regain after that or was it like, okay, I'm I'm able to keep this off, I've kept it off ever since. I was sure I had weight fluctuations, I would go up a little bit, but not much. Um Yeah, you know, at learning how to shift out of that weight loss mentality and mindset to maintenance and like let me focus on my physical abilities and activities that was, took a little bit of adjustment. So I think the most I've kicked up to on a regular basis. 

Well, well let me let me back that up Over the last 10 years intentionally around rugby season, I would carry probably an extra 25 to £30 just cause the position that I played in rugby um I was still good at, it was just small, so I needed to, you know, being 100 and £75 of playing the front row is not, it doesn't, you don't last there, so I would, at least I would bounce up to like £200 maybe to 10. Um But that was always intentional. Um And then after the season I would come back down, but overall, so like right now, now that I'm not playing rugby anymore, I mean I'm walking around Most days about £177. Um so I've kept it off entirely that long. Um Yeah, did that weight regain for, for like rugby and sort of weight loss? Did that ever like trigger anything for you? Like anything off as you're seeing the number of the scale go up or you were, you were comfortable with that taking place, I was comfortable to some extent. Like I'm doing this on purpose, like I knew what I was doing. Um It wasn't like I was out of control um and I was okay with that, but I'll tell you at the end of the season, it was like, I don't like being this heavy and I was like, all right, I got to really kind of dial this back in um and it was always a matter of the food right like and and um what I was eating not the exercise, I've always moved. And I think that's that's one thing I would certainly highlight. 

People think that you need exercise to lose the fat. It's like it helps, but it's not the biggest rock. It's not it's great for health and your body shape. But if you just want to lose fat, you got to dial in your food first and then your sleep second. Yeah, Yeah. Sleep sleep is huge. 

I mean, I got a I got a kid a toddler and he wakes up 34 times a night and I'm just like, man, there's got a good time coming in my future where I actually get to sleep a full night. But I think for over two years now, like I haven't had a full night's sleep. And like, it does, it does make things more difficult cause it makes emotional regulation more difficult. It makes, you know, um along the way, um PN her precision nutrition came into the picture. How did that just briefly? How did that factor into it? 

Yeah, that's a great, great question. So back in 2011. So I had, you know, I had lost all that weight. Um I got to my lightest, that was around 2011. Um you know, I was working, I was I was doing well in my job, I was constantly being promoted and and um I was doing really well and and it was stuff work that I liked eventually at some point though the work started getting to where they were asking me to do things that I didn't necessarily find my strong suit in um and do less of the things that I was good at, so it's like wait you want me to do less of what got me here and more of the things I don't like, so there was that kind of opened the door for me to like let me see what else is out there, but in that change process like I said people started asking me like what are you doing and how are you doing this? So it's part of the reason why I went back to school um and and took some of those nutrition courses and stuff and some of them I took a whole boatload of certifications and I actually started my little own little coaching business on the side. So I um I had uh you know I was training people as a certified trainer um you know I had I would say um performance enhancement specialist, I was working with some football athletes and and high school and stuff, you know a bunch of kettlebell certification, so I was doing a lot of things there um and I was doing the health coaching piece to. Um So I saw PN was hiring, I was kind of looking for some information, I was scouring the internet for stuff just constantly learning at that time and you know I learned about precision nutrition and john Berardi and I was reading the information, I saw things somewhere that they were hiring was like oh you know I saw that they had you know the job listed and it was like oh I can get I can get health insurance and a full time salary coaching doing this stuff like this is great. Um I did not apply for that that that first one um and they ended up hiring brian say peer which it was a super smart move because brian is amazing and incredibly intelligent you know he's an R. D. Um And then um as this process went on you know I just as as that door opened at work where I was like hey maybe I'm gonna look at like some other options. Um I saw I was just like I'm done, I want at least I saw an opportunity, there was no job posting or anything but I had kept in touch with um you know I sent an email like hey I'm looking for you know I'm looking to be hired by your company. 

I I put together a cover sheet and resume. My manager where I worked at the time actually helped me because she knew how much I liked this work and she was awesome. Um So she helped me refine my my my resume. 

I sent it in off cycle. They weren't hiring anybody. I stayed in touch with the gatekeeper, you know um I said before like before and after pictures sent in my story and all the other stuff and then probably a year later out of the blue I get a phone call um I get a phone call like hey you know this is precision nutrition. Um We're looking to um we're looking to hire another coach and you're at the top of our list we'd like to interview. So I went through the interview process and then they're like yeah like your number one choice, can you start next week? 

I went and gave my week notice and never looked back. I would have retired from that place I was before. It was a great place to work really. 

Just really was um So nothing I as a matter of fact I would go back there if I had to like if I had no other choice um I would happily go back there. Yeah I'm not. Um But yeah so that was like lightning struck there and I got in and I was kind of joke like I'm thankful but in a joking way I'd say like on paper you should have hired 100 other people before me, right? Because there are people people that wanted the job like still now we get people's like looking for the job like ph D. S. And R. D. S. And people that have been nurses, we've had former physicians try to apply like on paper all these people blow me out of the water, right? Um but P. N. Has always, especially back then done a really good job of finding people that really fit with their mission. Um and I happen to be one of them. Yeah. I think that there's something that can't be replicated lived experience that really can't be replicated in a textbook that gives a level of understanding when you encounter and work with people that maybe, you know, people can still be empathetic and caring and compassionate, but to have that lived experience just it brings another level of connection and I think ultimately going through the transformation process for the majority of people, if they're if they're looking to lose weight and to change their health, there needs to be some kind of human human connection because it's never just about head knowledge here. 

There's so much going on inside that that you need to sort of facilitate people going through this process, to witness, to validate, to honor them as they go through this. Um Was was there anyone in particular that helped that that was a big help or inspiration to you as you were going through this. Yeah, so like I said, my my friend Tommy like he was really a big catalyst and the whole thing for me, you know, seeing that he had done this and what the success that he had and it was kind of gave me hope, like, hey, like, this guy is like my twin, I can do this right, like, even if, like, you listen to his story, like it's it's uncannily similar um and so that he was a big a big piece of that um and and I think a lot of and like externally he was a big piece more of the, the rest of it was just like me, you know, that whole thing that happened with my my friend and and my son and um me just wanting to not feel like I was worthless anymore because that's how I felt a long time. Yeah, that's that's that's really, really powerful and you know, as we, as we kind of just wind up here and you know, I've really enjoyed hearing your story, it's nice to get to know a little bit more of uh dom outside outside of PN because most of my interactions with you have been through the, through a, facilitated by PN, which I'm grateful for, but I appreciate you being just open and and sharing your story um how did you get through the difficult times because I mean sometimes we look at this transformation, think like this was, you know, once you're on this path, it was just kind of like, but I'm sure there's been some ups and downs in there and what you're right, we don't we don't really that's a great point. It's a great question. 

We don't really do it justice because we kind of cruise through. It was like, okay, I did this and this and you're right there, there was a lot, man, there was a lot of falling down. Especially like I said that first six months when I first started doing it was super hard. Like there are times where it was like, I don't know if I could do this, do I want to do this? Um I've got composition notebooks, that's where I used to write down all the stuff from my, my workouts and I would write my plan, my food and stuff. I got stacks of those things and like I look back there and I see the notes and it was like didn't work out today, Hungover, doubled up the next day, right? Like um had a party, had a party, you know, ate the best I could, wasn't the best choice is like I'll get back at it next time. Um There are a lot of lots of notes in there like that. Um Again, I think it comes back to the thing that got me through it. 

I didn't care about the weight. I stepped on the scale once every three months. That's it back then. Um What I was more concerned about and knowing what I know now like how lucky I am that my mind landed in this place is pretty good. But like I told my, like I said earlier, I told myself I'm going to do the best I can following this plan for a year. 

I don't care about the outcome. I want to do this for a year and see where, where it lands. I know it will work, it worked for my buddy, it'll work for me and that was it. That's what got me through a lot of it was just show up and do the best I can today. 

I love that there's a previous guest interviewed on this show and she went through a very, very serious illness that had her paralyzed and in a hospital bed having a ventilator and having to relearn to breathe. And there was taped on like the ceiling of the hospital room, you can try again tomorrow. And it was just, you know, and, and she's this crazy, cool, inspirational story. But it was just this idea, you can, you can, you can try again tomorrow. And I think this is this is why I want to share people's stories is because like, just like you said there, this is the last thing I wanted to just touch on before we close out with some words of wisdom, but just that you saw yourself in Tommy's story and that opened your mind to the, like the idea this is possible for me because I've seen someone in a very similar situation do this. So that proves to me that I can, and that's why I want to share stories is because yeah, yeah. So as we, as we wind up here, I always ask my guests, you know, anyone listening to this, You know, if they were just to take, if you could have them, just take, you know, one kind of nugget of wisdom away from us and it's hard to often condense it down to one thing, but it's really one nugget of wisdom you'd like people to take away. 

What would that be, wow, right. That is hard for me. You know me because you know, this is hard because I'll give you five, We'll open it up to three. 

Um, I, I think that the number one thing, The # one thing is play the heart and play the long game, play the long game. Even when I coach people now, I will not coach people for less than six months, I do six months or a year, You have to play the long game if you want to make this kind of change for, for many different reasons, right? Um, so I think that's the number one important thing, like thinking that you're going to make a massive change in three months or 30 days or 60 days and then that you're going to ride that out for the rest of your life is a fool's goal. It's not true. You need to play the long game and in that you need to know that there will be a lot of falling down. There is a lot of falling down you know um Be okay with that. No that that's part of it. 

Don't compare yourself and your journey to anybody else's. Um In terms of outcomes, play the long game, that's what I would say. Like just I can't I can't emphasize that enough. Say I'm gonna do the best I can at whatever you choose to do For six months, 12 months and that's it. That's that's it. If there was a if there was a mathematical formula it would be like doing the right things, times frequency over time. Yeah. There we go. Yeah. Play the long game. 

That's that's really what it takes, that's really what it takes. Like I said from multiple different levels, I don't wanna go too far deep. But like we know right from the the trans theoretical model of change for any change to move beyond the maintenance phase, you have to be doing that thing for six months or more. So just from from the research alone about change, if you're not doing this thing for six months or more, you're likely to really backslide and I think that's I think that's the biggest downfall that people have when you see like oh you know, people don't diet and exercise aren't really effective in the long term. No, it is effective in the long term, but people don't run them for the long term. 

That is the difference in my my opinion. Yeah. Um it just reminds me of a clip that I saw recently, you know, six months sounds like a long time. 

Unless someone says to you, you have six months to live context matters so much. If you wanna if you wanna have many, many years of life ahead of you, You got to think beyond 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. So um yeah, play the long game. 

I know that there's gonna be bumps in the road, you're gonna fall down, just keep going. And I think the the the last piece there is um right, there's so much, I just cut yourself some slack. Yeah, like being hard on yourself doesn't help people think it does. I mean, you can be honest with yourself, but beating yourself up, that's a different story, you know? So if you maybe don't follow your plan for a day, don't beat yourself up. Like you said, there's tomorrow, you can do it again tomorrow, try again tomorrow, do the best you can the next day. That's it. Yeah, I I speak about just compassionate awareness so we can't hide from the reality of our situation doesn't help. But yeah, from a former self loathing individual who hated himself, you can't you can't beat your way into healthy body, healthy mind, healthy life, never gonna have to know you have to make it, you have to just do the little things that fit in the context of your life, not someone else is not some ideal plan, What works for you for a longer period of time, until these things become Skills that you acquire and they become habitual, right? Like I said now, like, people that made me now, if I tell them I was £300, they're like, what? Like no way, because I look very different, you know, I look athletic now. Um but that's because that's that's what I do, I made that part of who I am and what I do have a gym in my basement, like, right, I I I like the gym I always have like, I've like, you know, if I'm not doing some kind of resistance training 3 to 4 times a week, I'm I'm not yeah, I'm not happy. And so that was something that changed as well. 

I really fell in love with doing things like that. Yeah, maybe that's a piece of advice number three, if you don't, if you don't love it, it's gonna be hard to stick with it. And so maybe through the process, just figure out what is it that really that really you enjoy. But I think part of that process, that that process too though is understanding that if you write size it at first if you don't like it and you make it so it's manageable for you now, that grows. Like I said, I didn't like the exercise before. 

I didn't like it at all. I hated it. I love it. Like this is the thing now, it was like, I can do this, I can do a pull up, I can climb things like holy cow, I can jump, I'm fast, I'm actually not super slow anymore, I'm not fast, but like, like these are all things like when you start discovering them, it's like I felt like a little kid again. So those things will come, but you can't bite off more than you can chew it first. 

That's that's part of it. Yeah, well it's it's been, it's been a pleasure just getting to explore more of your story, appreciate your sharing, being vulnerable and sharing these stories. This, this will hopefully touch and inspire somebody else to make a much needed change in their life as well. So, thanks for being on today. 

Thank you for having me. I hope it does. And you know, for anybody that does listen to this. Um I hope you find some nuggets here that are useful to you and just believe in yourself and um don't trust the process, engage in the process. 

Thank you so much for tuning into between the before and after. If you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps this podcast to reach and inspire more people. I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after, the powerful experiences that shape who we become and I love human potential. I love the possibilities that lie within us. So whatever you may be up against, I hope these stories inspire you because if you're still here, your story is not done yet. So keep moving forward.