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Poster Child

Going to the doctor used to be my least favorite thing to do. Eh, worse than that. It flat-out stunk. Always bad news, never good news. Needles, samples, poking, prodding, uncomfortable questions. For some this might sound similar to Thanksgiving dinner with family. For me, it was the doctor’s office.

But things are looking up. Keep reading.

I went to the doctor this week for a check up and blood draw. My doctor was very happy with my progress (down 66 pounds but who’s counting, right?). We discussed changes in medications, diet, exercise, and future plans. Then he called me a “poster child” for weight loss.

What? Poster child? Me? Not hardly. I mean, I’ve had a little success and all, but c’mon. “Poster child” is reserved for important people, well-known people, people who move lives.

I did a little research (read nerd here) on the term “poster child.” It was typically used originally with a negative connotation. Fundraising campaigns, mostly for charities supporting cures for diseases, would create posters showing photos of people inflicted with said disease. The photos were meant to stir a person’s heart, make the disease more real, and motivate a person to take action or donate money.

Yeah, that’s more like it. I’ve been that kind of poster child for sure.

Middle-aged balding, overweight guy. Tired, sweaty. Knees that crack like dry spaghetti. Jovial on the outside, in pain on the inside. Hardworking on the outside, unmotivated inside. Outside, talking big dreams. Inside, paralyzed to do anything about them. Know anyone like that? I’m not suggesting all overweight men are feeling this way. I’m just telling you how it was for me.

A more modern understanding of the term poster child also exists. Poster child can also be interpreted as one that epitomizes a certain condition. By this definition, we also add the possibility of a poster child as someone who is a positive example. Someone to look up to, held in high regard, or even followed.

So what does this have to do with weight loss? Well, everything.

I began thinking about if what my doctor said was true. Am I a poster child? Could I become a poster child for weight loss? Could I inspire other men to begin their own journey toward life and wellness?

Ask me this question a year ago and I would have scoffed at the notion. Literally I would have made a sort of scoffing sound like a cough-snort-hacky thing.

Have you seen what I look like in the morning? Do you know who I am inside?

In that way, I was a poster child for a life less lived. For mediocrity. For a male, hiding from himself, behind layers of fat.

Today, I submit to you a new poster. I am beginning to see a new possibility that exists. A new world is starting to open in a way I never dreamed possible. This is a world filled with energy, and muscle, and attitude, and focus.  Momentum, focus, discipline, attitude, and intentionality have brought me to a place of transformation. This is where I literally shed myself, and recreate myself in a new way, in a new world full of possibilities. A new poster child. Is this world for me? I’m beginning to think yes.

What poster child are you?

If I put your picture on a poster, what would be the title?  Would you be a poster child for self-doubt? hopelessness? Would you be the scarfing-drive-thru-in-your-car-because-it-is-too-embarrassing-to-eat-it-in-public guy? Would you be a spokesperson for the “I don’t deserve it” club? How about “I can’t do it”?

Instead try this.

I want you to imagine yourself as you go through your day-to-day life carrying a large poster. This poster is blank at the start of the day, and gets gradually filled with images from your daily life. Thoughts you had, ways you interacted with others, food you ate, places you went, and things you did. At the end of the day, this poster is to be hung up. I want you to imagine this poster, this very intimate, vulnerable, real look at you, being hung on a refrigerator door.

You know the one. The fridge where parents hang a report card, proud as they can be. Where an upcoming wedding invitation gets hung, full of hope and pride. Where pictures of funny grandkids doing silly things get admired.

Imagine it’s going to be hung on your fridge. And my fridge. And God’s fridge.

Now step back, scratch your chin, and look at that poster.

What will the poster say?

Will it be something you or me or God will be proud to hang on our fridge?

What do you wish it to say?

The myth is to believe the poster has already been cast. The reality is this poster, the one with parts that you are ashamed of, is painted by you. The myth is to believe the poster made with permanent ink. The reality says otherwise. It is not set in stone.

It can be an endless image of hope, possibility, and rebirth. It can be strong, brave, and powerful.

What kind of poster are you ready to create? What poster will you be willing to hang for the world to see?

Leave a comment or e-mail me directly. I’d love to hear about you, “poster child.”

Thanks for reading.


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