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Who is Faith Outdoors and Fitness?

I have had this blog for a little bit, and I noticed that I haven’t done a post about me. I am in my forties now. I was born and raised in Nebraska. Grew up hunting and fishing and doing manual labor as chores for my dictator father. I grew up in an abusive household, and life was hard. I couldn’t wait to graduate High School and leave home. I wanted to go to College and get degree in Fish and Wildlife management. I was also dreaming of Elk and Mule Deer, but that would play out later.

I graduated High School in 1996. That fall I attended Northwest Missouri State University. I only made it a semester. Turns out college life and living away from home was more expensive then my teenage mind comprehended. I ended up back at home, and going to the local community college for a bit while I worked.

Shortly thereafter I met who I thought was my soulmate. Six months later we got married and moved to Missouri to work, and so I could go to Southwest Missouri State University. That Fall I attended school and worked at Walmart. Around Halloween I was getting ill. Several trips to the Doctor, and being told it was just bronchitis, and to just go home. 2 weeks later I was in the ER and admitted for chronic pneumonia. I also got out to find out I didn’t have a job because I hadn’t been there. What a punch in the dick.

Financially that really crippled us. I had to drop out of school and move back with my parents who subsequently had left Nebraska and bought property about an hour from where I was. It was a small town surrounded by a whole lot of small towns. Jobs were few and far between. Neither of us could find jobs, so my wife one day decided to enlist in the Army. She became a heavy equipment operator and we moved to Fort Riley, KS.

We moved there in the Spring of 1998, and by that Summer I was alone again thanks to the events in Kosovo. When she came home things had changed. She was angry and abusive. I also found out she was not being Faithful. I moved back home to reflect. We were divorced by March. It was like no matter where I turned, I couldn’t find a trustworthy person. That fall the towers fell, and I was raising my right hand. I was sent to Fort Benning, GA to attend the Infantry School also known as the Fort Benning home for wayward boys. During a ruck run I had accidentally stepped in a pothole and I got a stress fracture. I was able to finish training; however, I was not cleared for my Airborne School physical. I was bummed. I was supposed to go to Fort Bragg, and now I was a medical holdover.

In early August, I was cleared and given orders to Fort Carson, Colorado. As naive as I was, I had no idea there were military bases in Colorado, but hey I did now. I reported and was assigned to 1-8 infantry, 3rd brigade, 4th Infantry Division.  I was sent my unit and got the holy crap smoked by me…. but hey it’s a right of passage. I had never been at that elevation before so breathing and oxygen sucked. I was loving being in the Army though.

In October we were sent to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. I was stoked to go, but I would soon find out this would be a major suckfest. 30 days in the wonderful Death Valley of California was not fun at all. I couldn’t wait to get back to Colorado.

We would return to Colorado with uncertainty in the air. President Bush was threatening to invade Iraq if Saddam did not comply with WMD requirements. I’m not gonna get into whether or not Saddam had those weapons, all I know is that when we invaded and started searching warehouses and hangars you could tell things had been moved in a hurry. But back to the story. We had been back from NTC for a week, when we were told we would be tasked to deploy to Iraq, if the United States invaded Iraq.

For weeks we sat around wondering if we got to go do our job. Finally, in March after the initial forces from 3rd ID, 101st and the 3 Marines invaded we were on our way to Kuwait so we could get in the fight. The initial forces invaded and pushed to Baghdad. We were on our way to Kuwait. Soon I would find myself and my platoon going over the line of Demarcation (Iraq/ Kuwait Border). This isn’t about the specifics about my service. Its about other things, even though my experience with 2 tours in Iraq molded what I am. I returned with a Combat Infantryman’s Badge on my chest, and a whole lot of sorrow and anger.

I got back from my 2nd tour in October of 2006. I soon would find myself unable to sleep, and unable to get the stuff I saw and experienced out of my head. I had bad nightmares and was always on alert. I wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy. Every pothole I drove over sent me into complete panic mode. This went on for weeks. I was having panic attacks and reliving the vivid memories. It got so bad I finally put a knife to my wrist. I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. I called 911 for help, and I ended up in the hospital. To make things worse I was having almost daily migraines, which later would be connected to the blasts I was in and around.

I would be eventually be found unfit for duty due to my PTSD and my chronic migraines. I thought my life was over at the time. I was depressed. I left the Army being Medically retired and was put on disability. I was given pill after pill. They made me tired, hungry, and not really responsive to anything.

Everything I used to enjoy or used to do was in the back of my mind. I didn’t drink or get high to take the pain away like some of my buddies….I ate. And I ate. I threw up, and I ate some more. I would eventually be diagnosed with binge eating disorder by the VA. I took in more then I threw up…so much to point that by 2014 I would weigh in at least 450 pounds. Might have been more but that what my Doctors Scale stopped at. I was told I would die if I did not change. He said I was something called Super Obese. I guess something you see on tv on shows like my 600 pound life, which to this day makes me sick to my stomach.

I begin to make changes, and along with the changes I started to look to the future. I finished my fish and wildlife degree, and kept on track for my health and fitness. I would eventually get a Temporary job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the US Air Force Academy as a Wildlife technician.. Well unfortunately being in the Sun all day everyday with it beating down on my head, and doing hard manual labor aggravated my chronic migraines. I would finish the 6 months with the job, but unfortunately I would give up on the field, as well as the Masters Degree I was pursuing.

I was depressed again, but content. I didn’t force feed myself, and found a new calling…. fitness. I decided to get my Personal Trainer Certification, Group Fitness Instructor Certification, along with a few others. I was certified, but still had issues trying to find employment. Interview after interview turned up nothing. Then I decided to apply for a member services job at the YMCA just to get my foot in the door. @ weeks later I would find out it payed off as I got called for an interview, and a week later I was hired. I now teach group fitness and am working on the success of my online fitness company…Faith Outdoors and Fitness.

Moral of the story is, no matter what pops up in o ur way, there is always something we can do about it, if we don’t give up. Some people may laugh when they see I am still obese, and I am a trainer. If they knew where I came from they wouldn’t be laughing. Also now I am back to hunting again, and also do things like ruck, and do Obstacle races!

jlf1978

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