It was just over six years ago when Derek Mitchell fell unconscious at work after ignoring persistent signs and symptoms that his health was compromised. He was quickly diagnosed with a benign tumor on his pituitary gland that was blocking his body’s ability to produce testosterone, a symptom that goes hand in hand with obesity and the inability to maintain a healthy weight. Relying on pharmaceuticals to do their job, Derek used his diagnosis as a crutch, an excuse not to take charge of his health. Instead, he waited for the drugs to kick in and his hormones to return to normal levels before attempting to lose weight.
That all changed in November of 2014 when he stepped on the scale during a routine doctor’s visit and saw that a truth that equaled 625 pounds. In an instant, he woke up and decided that it was time to set the excuses aside and make a change in his life.
Like millions of people, he started on January 1st. His New Year’s resolutions were to cut out soda, eat healthier meals and reduce his portion sizes. And unlike millions of people, he remained true to his resolve to change. It was difficult, his cravings for soda were intense and in a time of challenge, his sister suggested that he step up his game.
A marathon runner herself, she recognized Derek’s strong will to change but saw a missing piece. He was not exercising. She encouraged him to start moving and on January 15, 2015, Derek went for a walk. He made it one block.
Derek’s sister then recommended that he sign up for a 5K in reason that it would keep him motivated to stay active. He signed up for a local race that was set to take place in March. It was this race that began his 3.1-mile journey, a quest that has since gained national media attention.
He has defied the odds, he has pushed through the pain and failed. He has picked himself up and, as Derek would say, “dusted himself off” to take another step. He has been the biggest person out there and the last person to finish. He has every reason to quit and every reason to keep going.
This is a conversation about resolve and the will to stay true to our choices. It’s a message of consistency and fearlessness to wake up every day and move, no matter what. It is a reminder to rely on our supporters and community for strength. And that finishing last is better than never starting at all. We talk about the ineffectiveness of diets and Derek shares tips on how he is shifting his relationship to food. He wipes away the excuse plate and is candid with us about his journey. It has not been perfect. Derek accepts that he will fail and sees failure as a necessity to true success.
This is such an honest conversation about moments in life that wake us up and the realization that no one gets us anywhere except for ourselves. Derek is a beautiful soul who is no doubt serving his purpose by showing people every day that we can do anything we put our minds to.
Episode #36 Show Notes
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