6 years ago in a dark, dark place . . .
A spiritually deficient, fear-filled, and lost morbidly obese man trudged through each day hopelessly wandering after his purpose, meaning, and anything that could be considered a life worth living. This man was over 425 lbs, wore 58 inch pants, 5x shirts, and was over 44% body fat. He’d tried diets, fitness programs, prescriptions and every weight loss method in the universe. In 30 years of attempts, some short lived success where losing over 100 lbs several times and regaining it all back took place. That man was my former self:Chris ‘Chico’ Brown, and I’m grateful for every moment of that darkness for catapulting me onto the path to who I am today. I had to reach a bottom which ignited a drive for something else, a new approach, a different experience, and ultimately a recreation of my life.
The point of desperation that put my life into perspective was in May 2009. I had just finished at number 1 on my sales team for the month, and I went out to celebrate with my best friend hitting a comedy show and going on to party late night with colleagues in the city. Back when I drank, it was excessive, and I showed no regard for others and my responsibilities. I somehow got stranded in the city, left a drunk dial message on my manager’s voicemail and ended up coming to work the next day 3 hours late. I was sent home, and many sharp shooting pains began all over my body from finger to shoulder, neck to chest, and even in my legs. I had trouble calming down, my thoughts ran wild with worry and shame, and felt like I was going to die. Was I having a heart attack or a panic attack? I went to the store to take my blood pressure, and it read 200/110! My roommate took me to urgent care, and they said I was too young to worry about a heart attack and sent me to the ER just in case. With stickered wires plugging me up to an EKG, I cried and thought, this is it, oh well. Another thought was one of immense relief; it’s about time. The ER tested negative for cardiac enzymes or trauma to the heart. I was prescribed Xanax. And I was numb to it all, I didn’t want to live, and felt demoralized because I had relief when faced with death. I was sad for other people’s loss of me, not for losing my own life and my lifestyle being the cause of it.
I didn’t know how I would ever get out of the depression I knew as just getting by, endless hours of tv watching and isolation, the inability to take actions that my best thinking told me would never work or told me to say no to everyone and everything that was uncomfortable. In other words, I had no guaranteed outcome that I could foresee “perfectly clear” as the choice to do nothing and experience nothing and more of it all the time.
I could not begin a new journey until I completely opened my mind to everything that I never let in. This included: letting go of doing it all myself, asking for help and being open to receiving/implementing the help, letting go of everything I thought I knew about fitness and nutrition, swallowing my pride as an imperfect fallible human, being accepting of potential mistakes and setbacks as necessary stepping stones in the process.
This full admission and readiness included reaching out to 1st Phorm for guidance and direction in motivation, workout out, and nutrition. Being enthusiastic and positive about my questions and input while asking me: did you ever think of it in this way? Or encouraging me: run with that energy and keep going! These 1st Phorm experiences were common support that I received from staff at every level of the company. After losing 100 lbs 4 years ago, seeing a post about it from a founder of the company was emotionally charging fuel that I needed to continue. It inspired me to be about more than myself. The idea that I knew it all and did things for my own status and success had to be destroyed, because it got me no where but a lonely place of insanity. In all honestyThe 1st Phorm motivational posts were disturbing at first. They spoke to me and got me enraged because I knew they were right on point, and I had to do something different. There’s no single path or method that I followed to become the person I am today. There were hundreds of nutritional changes, fitness programming advancements, and crossroads of disbelief and indecision that had to occur to lead me to today. One of 2 things were consistent, Ist Phorm was there supporting me in any helpful way possible with invaluable information, contagious positive enthusiasm, and the other consistency was I am discovering my authentic self as my life is a continual process of growth, presence, and purpose that enables me to live for the betterment of other people.
Deep down I knew that getting to XYZ weight was not the answer to all of my emptiness and the good life. Living life as a new experience happens daily as I ultimately cannot predict the ins and outs of every moment and the outcome. Shit, the last 5 years feel like 20 years of experience, fulfillment, painful lessons, and new beginnings; none of which I could ever predicted or foreseen without just going after it. Before 5 years ago, life was really a blur of escape and bedlam withdrawing myself from others and life, expecting much less out of life, and guess what? My expectations came true again and again.
Ultimately, living with an open mind, positively viewing people and the world, asking myself in an exciting manner, what’s in store next has all led to what I do today for others. Helping someone learn something new or get out of their own way of resistance, as I still tend to do, is more fulfilling than anything I thought I needed to live and love life. Helping others find their own path to do what gets them results in their life, what gets them to their new experience, and knowing they’re not going to walk the same exact path that I did; It’s their own to create and grow through. That’s what matters to me.
A huge lesson that I learned from 1st Phorm: Helping others genuinely will lead to greatness and is an end in itself. I am not entitled to or owed anything, the ups and downs are necessary to a growth-oriented life. If I knew and was guaranteed an outcome, how pointless would life be. Nothing worthwhile and meaningful in life comes easy. How can I best serve others? How can I create something that will help other people? Today, I weigh what I weighed at age 12: 197 lbs, when I was also 8 inches shorter. My bodyfat is currently at 14%, and I wear medium to large shirts with a size 32 pants. These are results of a process that I did not do all alone. Mentors, clients, coaches, friends, and family all helped me. 1st Phorm was there helping me through it all. I’ve been in contact with them and their staff for years. They have continued to inspire me to grow and help others grow. I cannot be more grateful for the help I received from 1st Phorm and countless others who helped me say good bye to my old way of living, my old patterns of inaction, and the comfort zone I sought daily for refuge. Any challenging day is one I now welcome as the greatest source of empowerment, desired change, and life worth living; a life faced head on in its entirety.
From an early age through age 30, I understand what it feels like to be overweight and anxious that everyone is judging me, to feel inferior because I could never do a pull-up in front of everyone in gym class, to have to shop at a special plus size store, to feel tremendous pressure to not be noticed at a gym or anywhere public. I want to help anyone of any age who cannot seem to figure it out no matter what they’ve tried, I want to help those that are ready to take action, and those that are ready for an entirely new life experience. The path and life are never how I thought they’d look or feel, and it’s always just the way it needs to be. I am thankful to my former self for letting go and starting an unforeseen path, I’m thankful for 1st Phorm culture and action life inspired movement, and I am thankful for a life worth living.