Award purpose – This annual award is given to an individual that represents exactly what the DIG Wellness team is about – mind, body, and soul. A person who has transformed their life mentally, physically/nutritionally, and spiritually throughout the year.

I personally can share I have seen tremendous growth in Charles’ personal life, work life, spiritual life and overall health. It amazes me as to how far Charles has come in just one year!

Before presenting this award at the luncheon, I asked Charles to answer some questions about his journey over the last year so that through this blog – you can learn more about the journey he has been on!

What was the deciding factor in you making a decision to change your health?

In late 2018, I read the Happiness Advantage book and one of the main points was to exercise every day. I was also pretty sick with liver disease and the hormone balance of a body builder who takes steroids while pregnant. I started doing light recumbent bike exercises and felt a little better.  Later in the year, Haley motivated me to try a lot of our inhouse instructor’s classes which really kicked off a lot of positive changes.

How have you seen positive changes in your overall health?

As of recent doctor checkups, I am fairly normal, medically.

Was there something you never thought you could do, but now you are able to do it?

In 2016, on a whim I did a simple spin class with Craig Loper and I felt like I died and stayed dead for about a month. These days, I don’t die when I do spin classes with Angie/Maria. Either Craig was horrifically mean, or I’ve gotten stronger.

Do you have a newfound favorite food?

Not really, but I think I actually care about the food I eat now! Eating isn’t the most important part of my day and doesn’t run my life anymore, instead it is something that I’m happy to plan and look forward to on date nights or special occasions. I’ve also learned that vegetarian stuff can be good and makes me feel better.

How much weight have you lost since January 2019?

287 to 216 so roughly 70 pounds. Near the end of 2018 I was at my chunk max of 300ish pounds.

Do you know how many sizes you have dropped since then?

My pants were 48 around to 36. Although those older dress pants were the expandable elastic waist kind so who knooooows what kind of pain I was putting those through as I stretched them to their limit. Also, I had to buy a jewelry size adjuster for my wedding ring because it kept falling off, I didn’t know fingers could lose fat!

What do you think has changed the most about your new lifestyle?

Exercising instead of taking stress naps during work lunch is a big change. I really love the class instructors and my other co-workers who take the classes in the DIG Wellness Center.

Do you have big goals for 2020?

A goal I have is to remember that I’m happier when I’m being active with other people and feel better when I exercise. Also to continue to go back to what works when I do have setbacks. I now enjoy lifting heavier and heavier things and want to do the CASA 5K this year!

When it comes to the DWC do you have a favorite workout class?

Intervals/Circuit in the morning with Todd/Maria- I can’t think of a better way to start the morning than this class. A really cool group of people and very fun. Group Boxing with Tarrence – He is always very easy going and is a great motivator. The class can be exhausting, but worth trying. Yoga with Emily – She is able to make this a very pleasant class that on Mondays can be good for strength and balance and more chill and calming on Fridays. On either day I feel better afterwards. Metabolic Burn with John/Trevor – It’s intense and they are both very experimental which makes the class always feel new and something exciting to look forward to. Spin with Angie – Well, Angie is awesome and makes the class fun I highly suggest this class.

If someone wanted to start a transformation journey, what would you say to them?

Oh hey, cool! Good luck! Expect lots of failures and setbacks but that is fine. My weight timeline for last year shows some of these setbacks that I experienced… See image to the right:

Anything else you want to share?

I believe that bouncing off of despair can be a great motivator for change. (e.g. “I can’t look in the mirror without wanting to die because I’m so gross looking” or “My brother just died way too young because he was an alcoholic and I am following right behind him”) But for some people instead of rebounding out of despair, they get caught in it and just rot, regardless of how much they want to change. And I want to say to those people: “I’m sorry, things suck, and it can be impossibly hard when you feel depressed, anxious or absolutely nothing. It’s not normal and I hope you can find enough compassion for yourself to seek help with the painful things you can’t fix on your own. No matter what the world expects of you, go for ‘happy’ even if you feel fat, old, ugly or stupid”.

And… If that doesn’t mean anything to you yet, it wasn’t for you. -Charles