I remember the first time I was called an inspiration for weight loss. I was a managing partner for my old restaurant. We had some corporate people coming in to visit, and my boss at the time wanted to make a good impression. He was showing them around when he introduced me….

“And this is our managing partner Tony Posnanski. He has been with us for five years. He has also lost a lot of weight. I think he lost 130 pounds!!!!”

The main woman from corporate looked at me, laughed and said “Wow, you are an inspiration”.

She of course was being sarcastic. Luckily no one else realized it, but I did. When she looked at me, she saw a man who wore size 52 pants and a 3XL shirt, which I was proud of at the time. She saw a man who was still hovering around 300 pounds. What she saw was an overweight man.

I never liked the term “inspiration” when it pertained to me or my weight loss. To me, inspiration means something different. I am inspired by a woman who finally leaves an abusive relationship for the final time. I am inspired by someone who makes it big when no one believed in him/her. I am inspired by people who truly defeat all the odds to become great.

My weight loss was different for me. I lost over 200 pounds because I had to. My selfishness with food got me to 420 pounds. When I was 260 pounds, I could have made a decision to lose weight, but I did not. When clothes were hard to find at 320 pounds, I did not lose weight. When I could not wipe myself or put on a seat belt at 360 pounds, I still ate as much as possible.

When I was 420 pounds, I still did not lose weight right away. When I saw my wife cry about my weight I ate more. When my mom asked me what she could do to help me lose weight, I still ate as much as possible. When I had a gym membership paid in full for me, I did not go.

Even after the doctor told me I would die because I was not taking my heart and cholesterol medications I still waited a month to start dieting.

I lost the weight. 221 pounds in a year. It was not easy. It took a lot of work and dedication. Much more than I thought I had. Life has never been easy for me, and I never said this, but I truly did not think I had the strength to do it.

When people lose weight, they want to help others. Some become preachy. I did try for a little bit. It is not who I am. As much as I talked about people needing to have strength, I knew I was the weak one. The past truly bothered me. I am blessed with a good memory, which became a curse. Every time I would talk about the right way for people to eat, I would remember how I would stop at Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s on the way home from work. When I would tell my friends that they need to go to the gym, I remembered paying someone to get my car and pull it up for me because I could not walk a few yards.

Then my blog became about the past. People would send me emails about what to eat or workout plans, and I would talk about not being able to use a urinal because of my size. How I would sweat for no reason. How I would just pray that clothes would fit me.

It never went away from me. It never will. It makes me the person I am today. I used to hate the person that was 420 pounds, but I do not. I am not embarrassed by him nor am I ashamed. He is a huge part of my life. He met my wife. He was a successful restaurant manager and chef. He was a good man.

He is with me still. He is proud of the person I have become.

I can not live in the past. I can not keep on feeling the guilt of not losing weight earlier. In some way, I need to embrace it, because it will make me better today and in the future.

This past weekend, I was invited to the Anytime Fitness Power Conference in Washington, DC. I am not going to lie, I thought it was going to be a networking event full of social media.

What I learned is that about three people there Tweeted and there was 800 gym owners from around the country.

I was there because of my blog. I write for Anytime Health, and my posts there are variations of my blog. They have never asked me to write a “Ways To Break Out Of A Plateau” post or a “Top Five Diet Tips” post. Instead, I talk about my past and where I want to be.

I won a “2 Inspire” award based on my blog. Here I am with the CEO and President of Anytime Fitness Chuck Runyon and David Mortensen. I was honored to accept the award in front of many of the Anytime Fitness gym owners. People who inspire their members every day.

The CEO Chuck Runyon came up to me and said “Wow….The Anti-Jared! I like your stuff, very no nonsense and to the point!”

He said all of this without looking at my name tag or having someone introduce him to me.

After this weekend, my views changed on what I want to do in the future. I want to help others be the best they can be. I would love for people find the strength to lose weight, find a better job, heck…..just to be better.

I realized that I am doing it my way, which is the only way I know how. I need to keep doing that. If I am inspiring to people, that is wonderful. Whatever it will take for someone to make some sort of change int their life.

So I could tell you about my workouts or my meal plan. I promise that a good majority of you might find it fascinating, but that is about it.

But instead I will tell you about the Lincoln Memorial and the picture I took.

I took the picture because I climbed a lot of stairs to get to it.

Stairs I could not have taken close to four years ago.

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