My kids have a favorite set of books, they are sort of like a comic book version of scripture stories, and they are called “Who’s Your Hero?”   This morning I was looking at one and on the front cover it says, “NEPHI never complains,  ABINADI, shows courage, and AMMON loves to serve.”  I read those and thought about myself and how I would be described on the cover of one of these books.  TOD, complains too much,  TOD, laughs at potty humor when he shouldn’t, TOD, leaves his dirty laundry lying around the house, they probably won’t be writing a book about me any time soon.  It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, and I definitely don’t have the strongman physique of Ammon or Nephi.  But as I thought more about it I did come up with what I would hope they would use to describe me on the front cover of one of these books.

TOD is grateful

Back in November I was two weeks away from a trip to Jacksonville Florida.  I had recently joined the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning, and Education and was headed to their national convention in hopes of learning what I would need to get started on what I hope to be my career.  (Maybe more on this later in another post)  A few weeks before I was scheduled to go I got a really bad cold or virus.  I really didn’t want anything to get in the way of this trip so I went to the doctor.  (I never go to the doctor, not one of my favorite things.)  The good news was that whatever I had wasn’t a big deal and should go away soon.  The bad news is that my blood pressure was way too high and the doc wanted me to get some blood tests.  I went in several days later for a fasting blood test.  I’m a bit of a hypochondriac so it was a long 3 weeks waiting for the results to come back.  When they did come back I was told that my lipids were through the roof and I had a lot of inflammation in my blood stream and that I needed to lost some weight and exercise ASAP.  So it began…  (yeah, sounds dramatic, but not really.)

*Disclaimer*  Boring part about diet and weight loss

So I went back to the doctor to meet with him and a dietician.  I weighed in at 163 pounds and 31.3% body fat, not so good.  After some questions and measurements the dietician made a personalized diet and exercise plan and put me on high blood pressure meds.  The first two weeks were pure joy of zero carbs and 60% fat in my diet.  I was going on what was called a Keto run.  Meaning that I would eat lots of meat, cheese, butter, eggs, and low carb, no starch, veggies ONLY.  I never thought I would get sick of cheese but it is possible.  After about 2 to 3 days on a Keto run the body runs out of carbs and starts to convert fat to sugar to function and it feels kind of odd. (Understatement)  It was tough to make it through those 2 weeks (no cheating allowed, and I never did 🙂  )  But counting those 2 weeks and 1 week of low carb the week after I lost about 8 and 1/2 pounds.  Since then I’ve been doing a higher carb for breakfast, lower carb for lunch, and zero carb for dinner, sort of diet.  With snacks in between.  I’m happy to say that it’s since become a lot more of a lifestyle and less of a diet. I’ve lost a total of about 26 pounds, and dropped my body fat from 31.3% to 19% and I haven’t had a weigh in for about 2 months and I’m pretty sure it’s dropped some more.

I hope to not sound like I am bragging, but I must say I am pretty proud of myself.  The diet hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but what has really surprised me is the changes that have come about in my life.  I have never been one to exercise much, I don’t enjoy sports and prior to March of this year I have never ran farther than one mile.

So what does all this have to do with being grateful?  I guess it’s probably obvious by now.

The reason I write all this is that I feel enormously grateful.  Yesterday I ran 10.25 miles.  4 months ago I could hardly run a mile.  I am running 4 10k’s this year and a half marathon (possible marathon instead)  I never would’ve thought I could do this and I never really had much desire to.  I go to the gym 3 times a week and have discovered that hidden somewhere in this 5 ft 4″ frame are a few muscles.  I consider all of these things wonderful blessings from my Heavenly Father, and know that I would not be able to do these things without the support of God and My Savior.  I have a found a great joy in being healthy and active,  each and every day I find precious time with my family and enjoy the sweet smiles of my children and have learned not to take these things for granted.

One of the greatest blessings of all, that dumb cold I got back in November.  If I had not gotten that cold and gone to the doctor things could be a lot different now.  The worlds most amazing wife, 3 beautiful children and one on the way; and there I was at high risk for not being around for them for half as long as I should be. I get a cold, go the doctor, and my life is changed forever.  It seems silly but I am so grateful for that cold.  And I am very very grateful for a supportive wife who lets me spend too much money on funny shoes and workout clothes and disappear for an hour or two every day while she takes care of 3 kids, two dogs, one cat, and ignores aches pains and contractions so that I can go run and lift weights. 🙂

Closing thoughts…  YOU CAN DO IT!!  If I can make these changes and do this, anyone can, trust me! The Lord will bless you.  Also, if you’ve ever thought about starting running, or starting running again, do it!  I am surprised at how much peace and joy I find just by going on a run, and it feels so good.  Find some encouragement or an example (thanks Kandie and Michelle.  🙂  )

So to answer my own question… Who is my Hero?  There are many, but I must say my Hero for today are those who push themselves to achieve greater things beyond what they thought they could.  The body is a temple and when treated as such it can do amazing things.  Whether it’s running 13, 26, or 50 miles, or carrying a child for 9 months and and taking care of a house and a family of 5 the body is a gift from God and capable of more then we realize.  If we push ourselves and respect what we have been given we can achieve greater things than we ever imagined and who knows we might just be someone elses hero for a day.

Who’s your hero?