Here’s an inspiring story from Joe Archazki, a southwest Florida resident who found his motivational carrot:
“I’m fortunate to work at a wonderful wellness-centric community: The Commons Club at The Brooks. I was fortunate that the Club hired me since my weight did not measure up to one of the Club’s slogans: “To strive to be one of the healthiest communities in southwest Florida.” At 50 years old, I was 50 pounds overweight, never stepped into a gym and took medication for hypertension. Although my first career was as a chef, I didn’t know the basic equation related to wellness: extra calorie consumption = weight on, extra exercise/movement = weight off.
“Three things motivated me –slowly at first. First, one of my board members, in his own paternal way, hinted that with my weight, I didn’t represent the Club well. Second, leading such a wonderful wellness-centric community, i.e., giving speeches, receiving healthy community awards, and rubbing elbows with so many fit people – really worked on my subconscious. I felt like a counterfeit – a fraud – a misplaced leader. Third, we introduced a competitive staff wellness element.
“Nine months ago, I first started walking a mile or two before the sun came up. I also started playing pickleball, even though I had given up all my racquet sports over five years ago due to aches and pains. After a couple of months, I could walk for three hours straight, started to jog, sometimes experimented with running sprints and energetically biked around town. Slowly, 10 pounds disappeared – followed by another 10 – and over the course of our staff competition, I became 40 pounds lighter. My belt size fell eight inches and shirt size dropped from XXL to medium. I’ve dropped another 10 pounds since then.
“I didn’t go on a diet – instead I changed my mindset and my lifestyle. When I look in the mirror and at the scale, I’m reminded of the results. Now I eat only real foods, comprehend the hidden calories in restaurant cuisine, and understand the whole nutrition piece. I also have found the gym – and strive to continue to build a better me.
“I found my motivation carrot this year via a caring member, a great community, and a little staff competition. Now, although I once said goodbye to many devoted sports, I run 5k’s, bike 25% faster, fly around the pickleball court and love the gym. I don’t even mind when my personal trainer, Deanna, orders three more reps after I have already melted into a pool of sweat on the gym floor!
“The best part for me – as the leader of a great community and a terrific team of employees, is that now I can give back – not my story or my success, but understanding of why changing to a wellness mindset and healthy lifestyle is simply unlocked by finding one’s carrot – one’s key motivator.
“For some, it’s mentoring by a trusted friend. For others, it’s competition. Some are motivated by just small changes at first – and some by finally understanding that living into your 50s, 60s and 70s is certainly a lot more enjoyable when you can eat (healthy) all you want, move without restraint and enjoy sports and physical activities without fear. To my mentoring board member, our community, and our staff – thank you!”