Ignore the shortcut.

Out for a run. On trails. Typical these days. Gratefully, thankfully, will-not-take-it-for-granted typical. 🙂

Meet Josh and Wendie Gum!

We met three years ago. These two were the first people I met that had lost weight the exact same way I was approaching it. They had made sweeping changes.  They embraced and were loving their healthy lifestyle. It was like MAGIC to find these two! I felt profound relief, an overwhelming rush of gratitude. Dumb luck or fate? Who cares!? I had JUST stumbled into a new set of friends who GOT what I was trying to do! They had information, ideas, energy, passion and were 100% supportive.

As I got to know them I realized not only had they adopted the lifestyle I was chasing, BUT they also happened to be optimistic, compassionate, generous, fabulous human beings on top of it all…

I asked Josh if he would write about the journey he and Wendie have been on. Please read on to learn more about the dynamic duo I am blessed to call friends.

My way is not the shortcut, and the journey has been worth every bit the effort. – Josh Gum

It seems that from nearly every angle you’ll be told there are easier ways, you can take a pill, or follow a specific diet, and in a few short weeks you’ll have lost all that unwanted fat! Well that sounds simple.. why wouldn’t you jump right on board and get started?! I did. I did this many times, and failed to reach my ultimate goal every single time. Before I figured out what works for me, I failed at every shortcut that I could find.. and I regained my initial weight plus interest.

One of the most laughable shortcuts I ever took was a pill that supposedly bound to the fat in the food you eat, and helped to “pass it through” your body before it could be stored on your body. Some point after having taken the pill, at a moments notice I would need to be no less than 25 yards from the nearest bathroom. Sounds ridiculous? It was. I took a shortcut once that was a “cookie diet”.. that’s no joke. You buy this product with some prepackaged cookies, and you eat them for nearly every meal. These were not cheap cookies, either. I remember they left me satisfied for maybe a week or two.. but after the novelty wore off, they started to taste horrible and ultimately I added another tick on the failure scoreboard.

While a lot of people find success with Weight Watchers, it still turned out to be somewhat of a shortcut for me. I got very good at calculating points, and eating much less food than I should, because the type of food I wanted to eat would account for a bulk of my daily allowance. I sabotaged my day before it was even half over. Over time, one thing would lead to another and I found myself grazing through the candy bowls in the office, or picking up fast food on my way home after work.

Thorough my twenties I was quite successful at eliminating as much physical activity as I could on a daily basis. I’d guess that my weight didn’t climb as fast as it could have because of the weekend hikes that my wife, Wendie, and I would take at Silver Falls State Park. Despite our efforts, as the years went by, my pants crept up past size 42. Sometime near the end of 2009, the highest weight I remember seeing on the scale was 325lbs. At a routine appointment with my doctor, I remember him telling me, again, that I need to take my health and weight seriously. He was ready to diagnose me as hypertensive and to put me on blood pressure medicine. I was told, point blank, that this is not a diagnosis that he wants to put on my records and that it would follow me around forever. I had been living with chronic pain for several years, I had a back surgery to repair a bulging lumbar disc, and I was battling with depression related to it all. My twenties were kicking my ass, and for all the wrong reasons.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills

On my Thirtieth birthday, I stated to my wife that I was going to make a change and that my thirties were going to be the time that I finally became healthy. Three months passed, and a I finally took the hardest step.. the first one. Wendie joined in, and this time we were going to ignore every shortcut that had lead to failure in the past. This time we were going old-school; we were going to eat healthy foods and exercise on a daily basis. A super simple concept, and yet, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Over the past five years, I’ve maintained a weight loss of 110lbs, and Wendie has lost 80lbs! With our new lease on life, and our remodeled fitness we’ve been training for and completing many athletic goals that neither of us would have ever dreamt of otherwise.

For weight loss, shortcuts tend to set people up for failure and dependency on a particular regimen or product. Long term success in managing my weight was the result of educating myself on what a healthy diet is, and the hard work of consistently making the right choices.