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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Genesis of Critical Transformation

Critical Transformation 1

As I start this blog to be read by countless 10s of people, I am sure, it may be best to explain what this blog is, who is it's intended audience, and what the heck "critical transformation" is.

First, most simply, this is intended to be a fitness blog. Outside of my own family and Christian faith, it is probably the topic in which I am most interested and, dare I say, passionate.

Second, to be more specific about the intended audience, I should specify that I would most like to focus on people who feel their fitness mountain to climb is insurmountable. Therefore, it may deal as much with psycho-social as well as physical issues related to fitness.

 Many people know what their triggers are with relation to their personal health degradation, particularly if they grew up thin or, at least, active. The "I started getting this way when...." admission. Perhaps it was when you had that second child, your knees started giving out, you lost your job, your mom died, or a myriad of other circumstances and excuses when things went downhill. However, what is done is done. What I want to figure out is what will be the reverse trigger for you and how can we deal with our circumstances so they are no longer the wall that is preventing you from getting healthy and staying healthy.

For me, weight has been a bit of a struggle since I was a child. The main memories that remind me of my childhood obesity are my brother's name calling, my dad's well intentioned criticisms ("You see that fat woman over there? He would taunt, "that's what you're gonna look like!), and the label on my "husky" Sears corduroys. The reverse trigger for me was (at that time) when I was sitting on my butt watching tv, and this triathlon came on called the "Escape from Alcatraz". I watched these incredibly fit people swim over a mile in the ocean from Alcatraz island before biking and running through the hills of San Francisco. It seems rather benign, but that moment was my inspiration. Over the next several months, I lost enough weight that it was a complete transformation. I don't remember how much weight I lost, but it shocked my friends at school when I returned for my 8th grade year and was almost unrecognizable. It probably disappointed the bullies who could no longer create their desired humiliation with fat humor. 
 Incidentally, I had never gotten to do Alcatraz until this year, 2011. It was one of the most gratifying emotional and physical goal completions of my life.

Though I have had other periods of weight gain, there has always been some sort of trigger that was my mental line in the sand that I refused to cross. 

 Most recently, about a year ago I was getting close to 220 pounds and for some reason checked my body mass index (BMI for short). Seeing in black and white that I was obese was disturbing. Around that same time, I was talking with my wife, Susan, on the phone about what I had eaten that night on the road and she said something simple but profound...."Stan, you KNOW how to make good choices"!

She was right. I am a physical therapist, I have a ton of education and experience in healthy living, and yet, I was making the choice to do the things that would make me fat. That was enough. 
 Over the past year, I have lost about 50 pounds. In the early months I had to constantly remind myself to just make good choices. This "reverse trigger" theory is one of the things I want to research and address, so that I can help you find yours.

Finally, I want to tell you about the term"critical transformation". For a while I have been thinking about this blog. I want to use any knowledge I have gained in my PT education to assist in the fitness of people with difficult medical obstacles (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, major chronic orthopedic issues, etc). I had been wanting to come up with a name for this area of focus. Recently, there was a commercial on tv advertising a new reality show. The host is a guy who helps morbidly obese people with their weight loss. He said he specializes in "critical transformation". That was it! My Eureka moment that gave me a title that clearly states the focus of intent for this blog. So, both of You reading this can now applaud! Thank you, thank you very much. I'll be here all week, and hopefully beyond. I hope you will be to. 

Please email me your ideas for topics and issues you need addressed, and I will do my best to help. For now, if you are in need of a "critical transformation" be on the lookout for your trigger. What weight will you not allow yourself to go above? Is it time to no longer have to request a belt extender on an airplane? By the time of the London Olympics do you want to complete your own marathon instead of just watching one on NBC? Then, let's  accomplish your goal together.


  1. Hi Stan, I found your blog from your FB post and plan to follow your thoughts here on the blog. Bob and I are 63 now and are fairly healthy. We both would like to lose a few pounds and Bob has trouble sleeping and has high blood pressure, gout, and an occasional kidney stone. I'm trying to reduce the amount of animal protein and high fructose corn syrup on our diet, and am joining Bob in being a consistent exerciser. I look forward to hearing more of your wisdom.

  2. Stan,
    Thanks for your blog. I've recently lost almost 30 lbs. and intend to get under 200 lbs. for the first time in about eight years. I'm reading your blog for that positive "input" that I need to keep me on track. I'm really worried that I'll just put the weight back on over the winter and need extra motivation to keep pushing. There are many things I would like to do that I "currently struggle with." Hopefully, I'll be able to overcome those struggles and see my goals completed. Thanks so much for putting this out there.


  3. Hey Josh, Thanks so much for the positive feedback. I will continue to fight to find the time to add posts for guys like you who are self-motivated but just need that extra bit of umphh to keep it rolling. Also, congratulations on your success! You have done amazingly well, and I know you will keep it up and one day will write your own blog. Stan