Little changes make a huge difference.
by Vance Mizzi
All right… a deal is a deal. I told my wife I would write this for her some time ago and quite honestly, I simply could not bring myself to do it. Today is the day and here goes….
Who am I?
My name is Vance Mizzi and I am 43 years old and weigh 155 lbs. I have weighed the same for the past two years. My wife and I moved to Southern California in 2009 and at that time I was tipping the scale at 265 lbs. I decided with the help of my wife, a personal trainer, to take back my life and lose weight.
The last time I weighed 155 lbs I was 17 years old in high school and that was a pass through weight. (It was a number I saw as I “grew up” by the time I graduated I was 165 lbs and “growing”.) Don’t get me wrong, this was not from out-of-control binge eating and drowning my issues in food. That came later. I was simply living my life and getting heavier was a part of it, I was growing up.
Realization moves to Rationalization
A funny thing happens in your brain as you begin to gain weight, I honestly did not see it coming on, as my clothes got tighter I simply bought larger sizes that fit… Obviously the dryer was shrinking my jeans and the dry cleaner was shrinking my suits and shirts. Sound crazy? This was the reasoning and rational. Wanting to do less physical activity is par for the course: “I don’t feel like it…” “Not now.” “No time today” or the ever popular, “I would love to…. but my back is killing me.” Of course my back was killing me, I was carrying another person around my shoulders. This went on for years, gaining a little bit each year, creeping into obesity. One day it hit me. I was at the doctor for shortness of breath or high blood pressure or something like that and on the back of the door was a weight chart. Curiosity got the best of me and after looking across for my age and down for my height I found my weight… GROSSLY OBESE was my category!!!! I thought to myself, THIS could be a problem.
Around this time I began to see and feel it but worst of all for the first time I felt trapped. Trapped meaning there was no way out; I was fat and this was my life. I had been thin once but now that was a long time ago. Some adjustments would need to be made. First NEVER refer to the obesity chart again, because that thing was just crazy. How could I ever be expected to weigh what I did in High School at 35 years old? Next ignore all warning signs of being fat by committing them to the aging process. Lethargy drained energy and a feeling of misery ALL setting in… “Man, getting old sucks.” At my office the joke was
“I used to be 155 lbs wet in high school and now I am not.” Everyone would get a good chuckle and talk about how things change as you get older and everybody could use to lose a few pounds.
Feelings of Hopelessness
In reality the walls were closing in… I would look at myself in private or in photographs and wonder how in the world did I get this big? Could I lose this weight? The rolls of fat I could grab anywhere on my body told me this was here to stay. How could I ever hope to burn the amount of fat needed to bring me back to looking at that chart? It seemed daunting to even think of starting. My head played games with me for years and I learned to live with it. Buy the right clothes, no one can tell. I even started feeling pretty good about it. Custom cut suits and shirts, adjustable belts and some comfortable shoes I was good to go. That would be a 48 suit, 17” neck and size 11 shoes. My feet were growing? I would later be told it was actually the weight of my body squashing my feet. Acceptance is a scary thing.
Around this time my wife and I moved into our new home, a two story house on a golf course with a gym, pool and bicycle paths. Went to the pool once or twice, didn’t really like going there in my pool wear for obvious reasons…I was huge! I tried golfing a couple of times but it always seemed to be too hot or not enough time or maybe…I was too fat? We bought bicycles but like a good book, you can buy it but if you don’t read or use it, it doesn’t do much for you. I did however have to go up and down those stairs of our home everyday. One day I ran up the stairs to the call of my wife and upon getting to the top of ONE single flight of stairs, I was overcome and passed out.
Upon coming to I awoke to my wife standing over me looking very concerned and the next morning she made me an appointment to see my doctor. I thought it was very nice of her to be so concerned and went to the appointment. As I entered the examination room the doctor asked me what brought me here today and in a matter of fact way I told him, ”my wife wrote you a note” and handed it to him.
As he read the note he had that same concerned look on his face I had seen the night before from my wife as I lay there on the floor staring up at her. He did a full exam that day and at the end brought me from the exam room to his private office. As we entered his office he asked me a simple question.
“Vance are you prepared to die?” This is a doctor I had known since I was 13 years old and he was asking if I was prepared to DIE?
My prospects were not looking too good. I had the onset of heart disease, diabetes, and there was so much fat around my neck I was literally choking myself in my sleep. So, as any “good” doctor would, he prescribed medication for this that and the other thing and sent me on my way. I was now on blood pressure medicine and checking and regulating my blood for diabetes 3 times a day. I was going bald and needed to wear glasses. Basically, I was a wreck and it was 100% self induced. I did this to myself but I was going to need help getting back.
The Winds of Change
2008 was a very BIG year. Things where happening fast. I was sicker than ever, my hair was falling out, I had just lost my best friend to cancer and the one thing I had as kid, music was back in my life in a big way. I wanted something more than to be the old fat insurance guy who died at his desk. Things were piling up fast and spiraling out of control. I must give a nod to my wife, through all of my trials and tribulations along the way, she always offered support and guidance but never told me what I could or could not do. I went to work one morning and abruptly ended a very successful career in Financial Planning. I knew this was a major catalyst to my current situation and something had to give. I called my wife from the ride home to tell her and ask if she would be interested in moving out West. We needed a change, and a BIG one at that.
We landed in California in January 2009 and it was on!!! We wanted change and we were getting it.
I decided to go back into the career I loved; Real Estate. Maria became a personal trainer and opened her own personal training practice, Beach Physique Fitness. I made a commitment to lose some weight but was very nervous of how it was going to play out. I had spoken to people about BIG weight issues and had gone to trainers in the past, but I would give it one more try. After all, I had nothing to lose anyway.
I’ll get Healthy but I still want to be happy
First thing First… I like burgers, french fries, and chocolate chip cookies. All would be incorporated into the new way of eating, only now we would introduce portion control. To start, Maria cut every meal I was eating in half. This way I could eat what I wanted and keep the caloric in-take down. Next we would walk everyday around town go on hikes and enjoy each other’s company. Then we got these cool food apps on our phones that let you track what you eat. It gave you a start point and an end point in daily intake. Want to eat more, burn more. We would discuss it everyday. As I slowly changed my mind’s eye on what food was for and how if I ate certain things they did not make me feel all that well, I began to look at myself differently and act in a certain way.
I was not gaining weight or maintaining the weight I had worked so hard to gain, I was losing weight!!!! Maria slowly moved me into working out with her three times a week, all of a sudden we are doing Bikram Yoga every Sunday. Energy levels are going through the roof!!! My head is in the right place and I want to do this. Somehow she has me thinking this was all my idea and we are loving it.
As December 2009 approached we had our first big So Cal event, the Keller Williams Beach Cities Christmas party. I went to my closet of custom suits and tried one on…. that one didn’t fit. How about this one? Or this one? Or…….. wait a minute I don’t think any of these suits are going to fit me. WOW!!!! was I really THAT big? I called Maria in to the room and we shared a very good laugh at the fact NOTHING fit me. At that point I was down around 195 and thought that was it. Out to the store we go…. A new wardrobe!!! Everything from shoes to shirts. I even went to the hair dresser and said, “please cut my hair…. but leave it long!”
I am Back and I am totally digging this!!!
The weight loss went on for just about another year; another wardrobe change and another 40 lbs gone. I thought I was done after losing the first 70 lbs. But now??? 110 lbs!!! Even my west coast doctor had to double take my chart from the annual physical. She actually questioned it as a typo. I assured her it was correct, then after a moment, I asked to see their current weight chart. Her response: “Don’t be silly, you have nothing to be concerned with”.
It has been two years since I have lost the weight and I have maintained a healthy High School weight of 155 lbs. It has been a long road but one I would travel again in a heartbeat — or in my case, to keep my heart beating. I regret nothing about starting, and where I am today! I did it when I was ready, with expert help and guidance every step of the way.
I am proud to say that I am happily married to my best friend and personal trainer, Maria Mizzi, for over 16 years.
I currently take no medication, have a full head of hair, don’t wear glasses any longer and I wake up every morning filled with energy and excitement for what the day brings. I am healthier today than the day I walked out of High School. I have a successful Real Estate Career, and I play and sing in a Rock n Roll band, the Mothers of Pearl. Not bad for an old, fat insurance guy?
Fit For Life…. Do what you want when you want
Throughout the process, Maria talked a lot about being fit for life and today it makes total sense. To be “Fit for Life” is exactly that… The ability to face life’s challenges and know you have the energy, mind power and ability to overcome and play at top level. Wether going for a hike, playing with your kids, or going to the beach, life has some expected challenges we all need to be prepared for.
Weight loss is simple, never easy. I would not have done it without the expert coaching and guidance from Maria, my wife and personal trainer. The life we live and the one we want are sometimes vastly different. What I have learned through my life is control the controllable. This was certainly one I lost control of, and I am grateful today for overcoming and persevering at a time that seemed quite hopeless. Today I am healthy, happy and ready for my next challenge.
It’s Not where you come from… but where you’ve been
I never wanted to be the fat guy who got thin; I just woke up fat one day and now I am not. Today the people I meet and most people I know can’t imagine me 110 lbs heavier. I carry a photo on my phone to constantly remind myself of those days. Sometimes I share it with people and the joke now is: “I used to be 265 lbs and miserable and now I’m not.” Everyone usually gets a pretty good laugh.