Let us start this wonderful journey with an introduction. I’m Eric Daniells, and for the majority of my life I was that “fat kid” never picked for dodge-ball, or pretty much any other sport. My family moved around a lot when I was younger, due to a father who was in the military. He passed when I was 16, leaving a giant hole where my thoughts on who I should be as a man was supposed to be. My mother and I did great on our own, but when I found myself adrift and eating my feelings, I became a very lonely person in a world full of people I saw as beautiful, and “had it all”. I had never been thin as a boy, we didn’t restrict food at all, and I had a major sweet tooth I still have today! I snuck candies and cakes and all sorts of things into my room to tuck into the drawers of my bed frame, and I got my pleasure as I gained more weight.
By the time I was 18, I was nearing 400 pounds, and was at an all time low. I couldn’t drive myself to the college I wanted to attend, and I had driven away every friend I might have had if I’d just left the house. I was too embarrassed of being stared at because I could barely walk anymore, to leave my home and risk the attention. I couldn’t keep a girlfriend, and the only girl who stayed in my life all that time was my mother. That helped bring about a moment that I wish had happened sooner. As I sat staring out my window one day, watching my neighbor walk his border collie in the pouring rain, I thought… “Wow, that’s some serious dog lover to go out in all that rain to run the dog…” and just then it hit me. If this person is willing to go out and get himself totally soaked, and runs with his dog every single day, then why can’t I get my fat behind out there and do the same thing. WHAT is my excuse? I had none. I had self pity and no plans to change, and both of those things were keeping me unhealthy.
The next day, I spent 2 hours getting myself ready to leave the house, and called a cab to get me to the local animal shelter to pick out a dog. I got a German Shepherd and named him Brady, because the folks who had him before me named him “Papi” and I figured it was close enough that he’d come. He was estimated around 8 months old when I got him, and he was a big mess of huge paws, long legs and has one ear that slightly flops near the top. In short, he’s my miracle… and I needed him even more than he needed me, because though he’d have been slated for getting destroyed if he’d been there too long, I was already well on the path to self destruction until he came along. My weight kept me on disability benefits that barely paid enough to survive, so I asked the animal shelter if I could start volunteering for them a couple hours a day, to help keep myself active. They were about a mile away from my house or so, and I told myself that Brady and I would walk there every day until I could jog there with him.
After 6 months, I had already lost 106 pounds, and had secured a job as the reception desk person at the animal shelter, which allowed me to get a gym membership and a personal trainer. This guy, I’ll call him “Joe” for the sake of anonymity, has been such a rare find. He comes to jog with me and Brady and is so supportive. I can’t even believe most days what led to all this… and now, today… I’m proud to say that I am 210 pounds, leanly muscled, I play tennis and have learned that I love to box! Brady is now 3 years old, and still my avid companion anywhere I go. He’s a licensed therapy dog now also, and we enjoy visiting people just like me who get hospitalized or put into homes due to a weight problem they might have trouble coping with, or seeing their way out of. I have completed my final dream by attending college, and am now going for my second major. At the end, I’ll have bachelor’s degrees in dietetics/nutrition, fitness & health. My goal is to get every person to the same place I am now. I think that setting goals is the only way forward, and if it takes one rainy day with a person who inspires you to go beyond what you think you can do…seize it!
I don’t worry about where I would have been if it hadn’t been for that neighbor, if I hadn’t met Joe, if I didn’t have Brady. I remind myself that I was a product of bad choices, and that by changing them, I have changed my life. You can do this too, no matter where you get your motivation from, and no matter how badly you think you have things right now, you CAN come back from this. I can help show you how. This blog is meant to be the support and the help that people need to move toward a lifestyle that is happy, healthy and free. Finally free to be whoever you want, and do anything you want. Success comes to those who seek it, and it takes a lot of work, and plenty of willpower. Find yourself a Brady or a Joe if you need to, you’ll find there’s a lot in the world happy to help if you only ask.