The Courage to Change | A Weight Loss Journey

Image of Person Climbing a mountain

On September 18, 2011 a visit to the doctor revealed a shocking number when he stepped on the scale: 408 pounds.

Blake Mitchamore had battled his weight the majority of his life, but this was an all-time high. At 5’9″ the extra 200+ pounds he carried was threatening to kill him. He couldn’t stand up for more than 20-30 minutes without his back spazzing and needing to sit down. He was suffering from sleep apnea and most nights only slept between 3-4 hours. It was imperative that he dramatically change his lifestyle or else. 

Have you ever hit rock bottom? Do you know what it feels like to look yourself in the mirror and have a what-the-heck-have-I-done-to-myself moment? The fear of knowing you desperately need help and can’t keep going the way you’ve been?

Most people have reached a point where they know change is compulsory. And looked down the road to change and known it wasn’t going to be easy. I’ve been there and it felt like I was standing at the base of Mount Everest. But what do most do in these situations?

BLAME SOMEONE ELSE. “It’s my parents fault.” “It’s my spouses fault.” “It’s my friends fault.” “I wouldn’t be so messed up if ___________ hadn’t done what they’d done.” Or blame life’s circumstances-death, loss, pain, abuse-for the way you cope.

Pain. It’s a little four letter word that can cause all sorts of addictions and struggles. Someone like Blake doesn’t eat himself to 408 pounds without being all too familiar with pain. Blake buried his father at age 23 after a tragic accident. And he used a familiar friend to cope with the loss.

image of blake before weight loss

408 Pounds

Blake openly talks about his relationship status. He hasn’t had a relationship in 3-4 years-and weight wasn’t the main barrier. Self-hatred and condemnation took over and he said, “how could I open myself up to let someone else love me when I didn’t love myself?” He attended many of his friend’s weddings-and found himself longing for the same committed relationship.

Through a great deal of prayer, research, and after making a commitment to life-long change-Blake had gastric sleeve surgery on November 13th. But surgery wasn’t a quick fix. He accompanied the surgery with serious dieting and exercise. Since his initial doctor’s appointment on September 18, Blake has lost 123 pounds! Through eating right and exercise, he now weighs 285 pounds. He is training for the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon. Unbelievable!

Blake was standing at the base of a seemingly insurmountable mountain just four months ago. He could have continued to believe that change was impossible. He could have pointed to all his failed attempts at weight loss and not wanted to even try. He could have continued to believe he was just destined to be a ‘single guy’ and never have a family. He could have blamed his weight on his slow metabolism, his father’s death, or other sources of pain in his life. But he didn’t. He very boldly stated, “It’s no one’s fault other than mine that I am 408 pounds.”

And he knew no one was going to do the hard work for him.

Blake after weight loss photo

After losing 123 pounds!

He needed to start by changing his mind about his situation. Every day, he’s making decisions-ones that cause pain (imagining lugging around all that extra weight on a run)- to pursue health and wellness.

Maybe you aren’t overweight, but maybe it’s a secret addiction in your life. Or maybe its a path you’ve been going down for a long time that leads to desperate places. Wherever you were in 2011 doesn’t have to dictate 2012 for you. You can have a fresh start. Will you step out in courage and start climbing? Will you have the courage to change? Change must start with you.

Blake started a blog about his weight loss journey in hopes to help others struggling with weight issues.  Check out his blog and come cheer him on at the Nashville Half Marathon this April. He will be the one with his hands in the air crossing the finish line with a big grin across his face. Because he did it. And so can you.

Michael and Blake worked at a Young Life camp in July 2010 when Michael was living in Germany. We encouraged him to run the half marathon, as we know crossing that finish line will be life-changing. I am inspired by his courage! Leave your comments for Blake below. 

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12 Responses to “The Courage to Change | A Weight Loss Journey”
  1. Pattie says:

    Even at 55, I find many encouraging / inspirational words from your blogs every time I read them ! We have forwarded yoyr blog to many of our friends. King and I are proud to be your uncle and aunt!
    Aunt pattie

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Hi Aunt Patti! I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I really appreciate your support of my blog. Many blessings to you in the new year-and we are hoping to get together sometime this year! We’d love to meet down at the beach or even in Chattanooga one weekend. Michael is dying to meet y’all!

  2. Paul and Shannon Mints says:

    We are so very proud of Blake!!! We have loved watching the transformation take place in his life. What’s been most incredible to see is his countenance on the inside that has changed and the smile across his face!! Way to go, Blake!! We’re behind you!!

  3. Blake can accomplish these goals and then some…he has the dedication needed to make it further than he can imagine! Go get ‘em Blake!

  4. Michael Dean says:

    I love it my dear! Blake is a excellent man and you are a great writer!

  5. Way to go, Blake! This is astonishing. Remind yourself that with every mile you run an old piece of yourself is peeling off and shattering on the sidewalk. A new you! Cheers!!

  6. Martha Staton says:

    Just want to compliment you on your determination to get fit and healthy. ATTAWAY!!!

  7. Ruthie,

    Thanks for sharing Blake’s story. Inspirational indeed! I will be eagerly following his success and praying for him.

  8. Edward says:

    Teachability (if there is such a word) and the capacity for positive change are marks of true humility. Precisely because, as you’ve pointed out, it requires an acknowledgement of our faults and problems and, more often than not, admitting our need for help and support. This is not possible to do with a prideful heart. Thanks for sharing such a timely encouragement right on the cusp of New Years resolution season. On purpose, no doubt. :)

  9. Danelle says:

    Such a great story, Ruthie. Keep pressing on, Blake! I have found solice and confidence in running. It’s a time to challenge myself, to pray for family members and to just enjoy the outdoors. And every day, I’m faced with the same question (or every other day as my schedule permits): “Are you gonna be strong today or will you be lazy?” I feel sad the days I choose to skip my run. It’s always worth it to get out there and do your body some good. You’re right, no one can get in shape for you. It’s our choice- every day. You’re an inspiring runner! I want to do a half marathon but most days don’t feel the confidence to push past my 7-mile marker. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going!

  10. Nat says:

    Great article!
    you’re amazing! I am honored to be your friend and thrilled that you influence my girls in youth. You are an inspiration.

  11. Mona G. says:

    Way to go Blake, you can do it… friend lost over 100 lbs. it took her over a yr. and going to W. W. and gym…..but she did it and she says she intends to keep it off…..she is so proud of herself….only one day a week, she’s entitled to eat things she should not eat……and that is the only day that she does it too…..sure takes will power…..but she did it and you can too…..just keep pressing on and you will…..

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