Saturday Spotlight- John Graziano

I’ve gotten to know many of you, but most don’t know my story. When I read others, I felt inspired to share mine with you, and Lou said to have at it, so here it goes. It’s long, so sit for 5 minutes and have a read, if you can sit that long!

When I was in high School, I was a skinny kid. Never really did much to lose or gain weight, I was just skinny and felt small. In 9th grade I wrestled at 105 lbs…I left High School in 1986 at about 135 lbs. I tried some sports, even running on the X-Country team…boy was I slow…never ran in one race since I never qualified for the time trials. So, I let it go, like every other sport I tried.

I got married to my High School Sweatheart, got a job, bought a house, and life just settled in. Fast forward to when I was 34 years old (2002). I was about 185 lbs, at 5’7” this is obese. I started yo-yo dieting…but mostly, I just found it easier to be whatever it was I was supposed to be…what that was became unhealthy and I ended up in the hospital with Cardiac A-Fibrilation for 2 days and hearing the nurse tell me “I’m lucky because if I didn’t wake up and my heart wasn’t back to normal I was getting the paddles.” Not something you want to hear!

You’d think that would scare me straight? Well, it didn’t. So, over the next 8 years I gained even more weight…this time I maxed out at 205 lbs (I was more, but I never cared to weigh myself so let’s go with 205). I had so many buddies who were also heavy, it seemed like what men did. I joked about it all the time “I don’t look like I skip too many meals, do I?” I was dying inside, I hated my weight, I hated who I became, I hated having a gym membership and showing up to have people look at me like I was a lard-ass, and my health was a train wreck! In 2010 I was back in the hospital with A-Fib, only this time I also had high blood pressure, terrible numbers on Triglycerides, bad Cholesterol, and I had a hard time walking up a couple flights of stairs at work without looking for my asthma inhaler! I was being tested for allergies and asthma and I was a HOT MESS!

I took a flight to Italy for work. While on the flight, I saw the infomercial for P90X and put the tel # in my cell phone. My company was failing miserably financially….I lost $350,000 in 2 years when the market tanked and just couldn’t recover from the losses. My wife and I would cry at night often not knowing how we would pay the bills and take care of the kids needs…all the while nobody ever knew about our problems except us and my parents (who were god-sends)….my health was at it’s worst…and the only thing I could do was argue with my wife to buy more life insurance knowing it was gonna be the safest way out! Not having the extra $, I didn’t even buy P90X then.

1 year later (2011) I was bending over to tie my shoes on the side of my bed when my wife woke up hysterical asking me if I was alright? I didn’t understand, and she said I was breathing so hard she thought I was having a heart attack. Well, I had enough, and I begged my wife to allow me to use my birthday $ to buy P90X…$160 was not something she wanted to spend on a video set that would sit and collect dust, so she made payment plans knowing she had a 90-day guarantee as she thought for sure I would fail.

I started P90X in July 2011…I couldn’t even do 2 pull ups, or 10 push ups. I threw out all my medications, just because I believed I could do this. It was a struggle to get through any of the programs, and my kids and wife thought I would quit every day! I didn’t quit. In fact, I did a couple of rounds, despite injuries that set me back twice for 3-4 months. After 1 year, I lost 55 lbs and found a 10K to run with 3 days to train. I completed that race in 59 minutes…short of my 60 minute goal. I was hooked and wanted more…in came Triathlons. I did my first Olympic Triathlon in 2012 and completed it in 3:01. I was psyched.

Since then, I became a Beachbody Coach. I have helped several people lose weight and meet their fitness goals, and many exceed them….people I knew, and people I never even met. I have helped a long time friend lose 140 lbs so far, and my neighbor lose 87. Some of you know him as Scott Robertson, who is now signed up for Triathlon Coaching and hooked on sports – one of my best students and inspirations. I am doing my part to pay it forward!

Today, I challenge myself regularly…not because I want to be “fit”, that comes with it, but because I have 3 daughters and do not want them to collect on my life insurance, I want to give them life insurance that I will be around to walk them down the aisle, and kiss my grandchildren into this world. I am racing events to prove to everyone that it can be done, and continue to push the envelope to prove to myself that I can always do better…so many people inspire me it is not even funny! I have a new lease on life, and I never allow anyone to take their health and weight as a joke anymore! I pass people in races, or they pass me, and I ALWAYS say “keep pushing, you got this” even when they are passing me! It feels good and it’s the right thing to do!

One thing people don’t know (I kept it to myself until now) is that I still struggle like crazy to breathe and have serious back issues from several accidents back in High School and while I was out of shape trying to be a snowboarder….not the smartest idea for a fat boy! At times during a race, I feel like I’m going to fall over in pain, and I struggle to breath…it is not as easy as it may look but it is much better than before and getting better as I condition myself…I just don’t quit, and I push hard as I will not let these deter me from my goal…Ironman 2014! I just can’t believe I am signed up for this.

Life is too damn short, and I am so blessed to share my story with you all. I am PJohnnYX and you need to dig deeper to bring it and git-r-done!

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