Randy Halverson Named Life Fitness Most Inspiring Story Winner
Every year Life Fitness accepts submissions for its Most Inspiring Story Contest through the Life Fitness Mileage Club. Each entry shares their fitness experience, how their commitment has improved their lives, and how many miles they recorded on their Life Fitness machine.
The contest was voted on by Life Fitness Facebook followers. Randy Halverson received an overwhelming 80% of the votes. He will receive a Life Fitness product of his choice for sharing his incredible story with us.
Here is his story in his words:
Sometime in the early 80s, I took an interest in distance running which continued on into college where I met my wife. Together, we enjoyed eating macaroni and cheese and watching Magnum P.I. reruns. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of an unhealthy trend. I also developed a taste for video games and movies, and fitness got pushed aside.
In time, we had children and each time we had a new addition to our family, I’d make a new plan to get in shape. It always ended the same -- a big flashy effort followed by slipping back into old habits. As the children grew older, I increasingly identified with overweight people and figured that was my lot in life to be unhealthy and unhappy. My children would just have to accept the fact that their dad was a really big guy and we’d try to pretend it didn’t matter. I realized that with my lack of physical activity and media habits (TV, movies and video games), I was being a terrible example for my children and no matter how much I tried to tell them what they should do, I was teaching a much stronger lesson by my actions. They were learning from my example and it was beginning to show in their own habits and bodies. My burden of guilt was becoming greater -- as was my shame. We had seven children and I was being a poor father, husband and leader for my family.
In 2008, we learned that we were going to be blessed with another beautiful addition to our family, but that joy was soon crushed when we got word that our little girl would have Down’s Syndrome. We’ve got a lot of love in our family and we’re close, but that would take strength and energy I was afraid I didn’t have. What could we do but embrace the future with our little girl and press on? I was haunted by one big question. How can I take care of my children if I can’t take care of myself, and live long enough, to be there when they need me? I shopped for the best treadmill for the money and bought a Life Fitness F3 Treadmill so I could exercise through Minnesota winters and bad weather. I dropped 40 pounds but gradually put it back on over discouragement, stress and inconsistent dieting.
In October of 2012, I went to the doctor and weighed in at 329 pounds. I was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), high cholesterol, “pre-diabetic” blood sugar levels and had a short list of other chronic ailments including sleep apnea. I was in bad shape physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I began a diet high in fruits and vegetables and started using my F3 Treadmill six days a week.
It’s been almost a year and I have lost about 130 pounds. My blood sugar and cholesterol are perfectly normal and the chronic ailments are almost non-existent. I haven’t been scanned yet but was told by the doctor the NAFLD isn't a concern any more. I don’t have sleep apnea or need a c-pap machine anymore. People say I look like a different person. I feel like it. My waist went down from 56 to 34 inches. I even have a lap for my kids to sit on! We don’t have a big mirror at home so it’s shocking to walk into a store and see my reflection in the windows. I’m thin -- like I was almost 25 years ago! My outlook and attitude are vastly improved! I’ve begun a journey that I believe will continue for the rest of my life. I’m sure there is much I have yet to learn but so far, here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. You can’t get in shape for anybody but yourself. Doing it for anyone else is just stress and pressure. You have to be ready to face your own challenge from within.
2. It takes a balance of diet AND exercise -- not just one or the other.
3. Small and faithful is better than giant efforts once in a while. You can start small and grow from there -- while creating good habits. I started on my F3 walking 2-3 miles/day. Now I run 6 days a week averaging 12 miles per workout. Excessive? Hard on the knees? I couldn’t do it without the treadmill. The shock absorbing deck makes all the difference. I ran my first 6 minute mile yesterday (compared to an 18 minute mile when I started).
4. Lift weights -- it builds muscle and more muscle burns more calories.
5. Eat whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible.
6. Drink lots of water -- just plain water. It will keep you hydrated and clean inside. It’s not meant to be a tasty treat, just do it anyway.
7. If you fail or have a setback, so what? Just start again. Don’t let it be an excuse to quit. You’re not a failure. You’re not a machine. You’re human.
8. Set reachable goals so you don’t get discouraged.
9. Enjoy life! It’s too short to stress about everything that goes wrong. Having a “normal” life is an illusion. Things go wrong every day - that’s normal. Besides, stress promotes weight gain.
10. Fitness is a matter of choice. It takes time but it will happen if you choose to make it happen!