Saturday, July 5, 2008


It was filled with much anticipated drama. Who would lose the most? What lives would be changed? What would the final numbers look like? What would be the next step?
This year was so much different than last year. Many of the challengers were here to finally change their lives for the better. All of them told me that they had tried everything else. They tried the diets. They tried the gyms. They tried joining other places. But all that happened was that they ended up back in the same position they were in before they started. They would lose 50 pounds and then gain 60 pounds back. Up and down, Up and down.
Then something happened in their life, Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge. This was not like any other challenge. How many weight loss places tell you that FOOD IS GOOD? How many other places give you one-on-one personal training for no additional cost? How many other places give you nutritional classes and advice for no additional cost? How many other places give you psychological classes and advice for no additional cost? How many places give you challenges and group workouts and weigh-ins and prizes? How many other places would hold you accountable without digging into your pocket?
The 16 people I had this year were great. In the end 15 finished and finished strong. My top 5 people lost an average of 90 pounds and all 15 finished with an average of 70 pounds. This is just great. However, they have only just begun.
The fanfare is over. The accountability is still there but not as intense as it was when they were part of the challenge. In so many ways you want to relax and go back to the way life was prior to the challenge. Guys, YOU CAN’T! Your old life is how you got to the way you were prior. Don’t go back. It took you six months to get to where you are right now. IT WILL TAKE YOU LESS TO GAIN IT ALL BACK. Now comes the struggle.
I started in the martial arts in 1986 (tae kwon do) and in a very short period of time I had gotten myself to the level of red belt with two stripes. I knew that I had only one more stripe to get and I knew that I could get it easily. I remember taking that test and thinking that once again I blew everybody away. Some people were their just to see what I was going to do next. By this time (1988) I had tried out for the USA Karate team and made it. I was trying out for the Olympics (that summer) and looking forward to it. I had this in the bag. My physical ability was so far superior to anyone there they had to bring some third degree black belts just to spare against me.
After taking the test I felt great. I knew I had it made. That next Monday I received a call from my sobonim (teacher) and I just knew he was going to praise me for how I preformed. He did quit the opposite. He said to me, “Kevin, if I told you that you preformed badly and that your forms were terrible I would be lying to you. You are very strong and physically my best student. But you are lacking in one area that we need to develop and is the most important area in the martial arts, your mind. Mentally, you are still a white belt and we need to mature you before you can go on any further. For this reason, I am not going to allow you to pass thru to your next stripe.”
I was devastated. I was appalled. I was speechless. How dear him do this to me. What was he thinking? What did I do to him? I gave him my all so far and this is the thanks I get! Well at this time I had a decision I had to make. I could quit, go to another place, or go back and prove him wrong. My decision was to go back and prove to him that he was wrong and for the next three months I worked hard and concentrated a lot on the mental aspects of what I was trying to accomplish, my black belt. That summer I had the opportunity to try out for the Olympics in karate and did well. I went to the nationals and finished undefeated in the round-robin tournament never ending in the loser’s pool. What an experience. I just knew that I was going. Well I was not picked to go and I was once again I was devastated. When I asked the officials why I was not picked they told me that they wanted a more experienced fighter and they knew that I was not a black belt as of yet. BUT I WON THE DAMN TOURNEMENT AND I WAS NATIONALLY RANKED!After a few more months of let downs the light had finally went on. I really wasn’t ready. My mind had not caught up with my body and I needed to get it there. I began a regiment of mental preparedness and praying at least once a day and keeping my emotions in check (not experiencing highs and lows as much). I began to give back instead of take. I stopped looking for the lime light and help other people achieve and getting my joy at other people achieving their goals. One year later my teacher, once again, called me and told me that he had seen a remarkable improvement in my maturity and now I was just not ready to take the third stripe test but take my black belt test and that I should be preparing for it now. I took it and passed (1989). I have not been the same since. What I learned in that space of time was priceless and something that I will never forget.
To my weight loss graduates, all this time you have worked on the physical and for the longest time I have been trying to help you work on the mental too. Many of you just did not get it but I believe someday you may be getting it. You can lose 100 pounds but still think of yourself as that fat person or when life gets tough or you feel as though you are not being treated fairly, you may want to revert to going back to the way you were. This is the true challenge. This is your next challenge.
You need to know that the way you were you are no longer. You are a different person now. You are fit, and much stronger. Now let’s begin the process of understanding and growing mentally so that at the end of the day you would have achieved your final goal, a new life.