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Part 1: Long Story Short

From June 2014 to June 2016 I went from 290 lbs to 180 lbs, seven medications to no medications, and sedentary hermit life to the lifestyle and activities of my dreams. Here’s the story (gloss overview).

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Last Modified: October 28, 2021

Surfing the Winds of Change

John Sick Fat Tired 2014 Dec15

Transformation is a topic I am familiar with. Its how a 290-pound sick guy who couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile, or even get out of bed some days, turns into a 180-pound well guy who hikes ten miles, then goes and does other stuff. In less than two years. Holistic Transformation is about creating a vision of an ideal self and then working towards that vision bit-by-bit, day-by-day across multiple dimensions of self. It’s a whole-self, organic, individual and ongoing process, like the growth of a tree. It involves expanding the scope of our understanding about overall wellness to encompass everything that feeds us, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. Gruesome details to follow.

It begins with a dandelion

May 24, 2014 was the day I met the dandelion of transformation. According to a flower meaning website, dandelions mean emotional/spiritual, as well as physical healing. When I took this photo I was sick and in pain.

I had recently purchased a decent camera, a Nikon D5300 because I wanted to better embrace outdoor photography as a hobby. As well as hiking and just being outside.

Sick, Tired and Triggered

The photo was taken in Heritage Park, on the Yantic River in Norwich, Connecticut. It is a tiny park yet I could barely walk around it because of back and hip pain.  This was the last photo I could stand to take after a very short time before having to get back into my car and sit for awhile. I was fat and sick and in despair for a life I wanted but seemed out of reach by both my health and my inability. I felt like death lay just ahead, and I was likely enough right. Worse. I did not care. I had poorly managed type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, partial blindness from diabetes and liver problems from excessive alcohol and poor diet. My immune system was a dumpster fire, meaning I caught every bug that passed through town. I took a cocktail of medications that didn’t do much more than enable more illness. Thus I used every second of a generous Sick Leave/PTO allotment recovering from something.

The dandelion of transformation

It wasn't so much that I was fat and I wanted to be thin. It was that I was sick and I wanted to be well. I was dead and I wanted to live.

Life Sucked, but I didn't Die

My life sucked. It was a daily repeat of work-junk food-booze-netflix. Until the weekend, when there was no work. in between episodes I would dream of doing things like exploring different places. Hiking, doing photography, going places. Being free instead of trapped in a circle of calorie-fueled depression and alcohol enhanced despair. Ultimately this lifestyle cost me the sight in one eye and much of it in the other.

Now it doesn't

To get to the good part today (October 2021) I feel fantastic, walk between five and seven miles daily and take a cocktail of finely-tuned supplements. No medications. Normal blood everything. Very rarely get sick of anything because my immune system is a tank. Still blind AF but hey, my life?  It’s the one I used to dream about while “knowing” I would never have it. And I live it fully within the scope of my disability. 

All the photos and places on this site? Represent only about 5% of the photos I have from the places I’ve been since my healing, Because that is what it is, healing.

How and How Again

Over the last years I have been asked by a few how I did it. I never knew how to answer that question. I wanted, needed, rather, to find a way to convey my experience of natural and sustainable weight loss through being authentic to myself rather than faithful to a program somebody else cooked up. On all the levels of myself. I found that diet and exercise were just fragments of a pile of pieces that needed rearranging. 

Pivotal Moments

This dandelion became a pivot point for me. One of three that began the journey. On the surface it looks like a weight loss journey, but its more than that. Its a story of transformation from sickness to health and a living death to a life of fulfillment. It began with a dandelion, six years and eleven months from the time of this telling. The reason I tell it is so that perhaps it will be someone’s “Dandelion of Healing.”

Forward to the Beginning

That was the glossover. The details of how I got from the miserable fuck feeling beckoned by a magic dandelion to that happy bastard in the last pictures in the carousel of me? Guess you will have to read to the next thrilling chapter of “The John Chronicles”!

Where the promised gruesome details will begin to be revealed.

June 2014

Part 2: Fat, Sick & Triggered

June 2014 was when my journey towards health started, with four trigger events and realizations that launched my flight to weight loss, recovery and health.

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John Atkinson
John Atkinson

Health Coaching

I hold a Health Coaching Certification from Institute for Integrative Nutrition: Certificate Verification Link FYI. I hate the word coach. Its overused. I consider myself a Wellness Advocate in this one of my several roles.

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