So in case you missed this somehow, Chris Powell is my personal hero. A lot of people hear me say that and they think that it is because Chris Powell somehow motivated me to lose my weight. That’s not really true. I didn’t really know who Chris Powell was when I first started my journey, I had heard of him sure, but I didn’t really follow his career or his philosophy. I first met Chris Powell through watching him on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition right after my Father had passed away.

I’d love to say that the video that I sent in to audition for Extreme Makeover was amazing, the truth is, it was a train wreck. It was so bad I won’t even post the whole thing. I was going through a horrible place in my life, I was extremely sad, depressed, grieving, and I felt lost at the time. In fact the reason that I was even trying out for the show at that point was because I still had over 50 lbs to lose and I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it. Losing my Father was a huge sink or swim moment for me. I knew I was either going to fall on my face and Ding Dongs and McDonald were going to become my confidant or I was going to realize this was just another test life was throwing at me and get up and try to prove I had what it takes.

When I made that tape and first reached out to Chris Powell I was in a different place than I am now. Losing my Father, it was, devastating is the only word that comes to mind. If you can try, imagine this…

You are thirty-six years old. You left home at sixteen and hardly looked back. You’ve not been inside the house you grew up in years. You have safely distanced yourself from a Family that emotionally and verbally abused you over and over again. Every man you have ever had in your life has hurt you. From your step-grandfather who molested you to your long time childhood friend that date raped you at sixteen to the current man in your life who has a really bad habit of having internet affairs that break your heart. The world has taught you that there is ONLY one person that you can truly expect to love you unconditionally your Father… and now you just lost him.

The aftermath of my Father’s death was paralyzing to me emotionally. I had no clue how to get back in the saddle and ride without him there to motivate me. I was turned off to Exercise for the first time since I had discovered it, not because I didn’t want to exercise, but because I had made a deal with my Father that I would spend time with him when I exercised, that it would be our time to talk to one another, and quite honestly I was too angry at losing him to spend that time with him.

As a little girl my Dad was the only thing I remember being good without being bad. I don’t have horrible memories of him, in fact most of the good memories I have are with my Dad. I remember him teaching me to ride a bike, building props for my school plays, buying my entire softball team all the gear they needed to be allowed to play just so I could. He taught me how to throw a ball, how to shoot hoops, how to drive a car. He taught me how to be a good person, to be genuine and honest, to say yes Sir and yes Ma’am and to treat my elders with the respect that their age and life experience demands. He taught me treat others the way I wished to be treated.

But the one thing that my Father gave me that to this day is the greatest gift of my life was the motivation that I needed to be successful in life. He had big dreams for me, a college education, a career as a lawyer or a doctor, I was going to be the first of his kids that really did him proud and made something of myself, he told me I was smart, beautiful and that I could do anything I set my mind too.

My Mother tells a story about how my Father once told her that she would never have the relationship she wanted with me until I was in my thirties that it was going to take me awhile to be at that point in my life. I wonder how he knew. When my Dad came to me in January of 2010 and said “Everything that you’ve done this far J, you know it won’t amount too much if you keep digging an early grave with a fork and spoon. I love you Daughter, I worry in my old age about you living long and being happy and healthy,” it floored me. It was the only time in my entire life of being the chubby kid and the fat girl who my Father had actually said anything in regard to my weight.
My Father was a Texan born and bred. He was a cowboy and a man who remembered a time in the world when $.25 would leave you with a dime after a movie, soda pop and hamburger in town if you hitchhiked each way. He was a self-made man, he had no education, he lost both is parents before 15 and he built his way up from nothing to supporting his entire Family on his income alone. He taught me that there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you work hard for it, and that when life throws obstacles at you, it’s really just preparing you for what it has in store for you.

Today I watched Chris Powell on ABC Good Morning America. The show featured one woman who lost 205 lbs. Her motivation came from seeing pictures of her friends from high school and asking herself they looked fit and she looked the way she did. Congratulations to you Latrina!!! There are so many things this woman said in her short interview that I can relate too. This woman is so on point it amazes me!!

“Instead of hurting myself I started helping myself.”

“In life, there are so many people who give up on you, so you can’t give up on yourself.”

“I want to teach people to live healthier lifestyles.”

And then they bring out Chris Powell! She got to meet my Hero! I’ll admit it; I am a little bit jealous. Just a little, it’s okay though I am okay admitting to jealousy.

Chris Powell asked Latrina two questions, first he asked her what motivated her, I’ve already answered that, my Father motivates me, he motivated me from the beginning with his words and he continues to motivate me now through the connection I feel with him when I exercise.  Finally Chris asked her, “If you had one thing to say to the millions of people who are too terrified to take that very first step, what would it be?”

My answer would have been that you have to get up and try. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how lost you feel, you just have to get back up and try. As long as you are trying, you can’t fail.