"50 by 50" Birthday Challenge

This is my first ever MFP post! I've been consistently using the site for a little over a year now and admiring many of your success stories. I thought it was time to share my own.

Last year I knew I had my big 50th birthday coming up in Sept 2021 and I wanted to do something special to commemorate it.  I thought, "what should I do?" Go sky diving? Take a big trip? All the above? Nah, I decided I would go a different direction and take on a special challenge that I needed to do a long time ago. I decided it was time to finally get healthy and lose weight. I knew it would be harder to do since I was older now but I really wanted to challenge myself to do something big and meaningful for my birthday. As I started to think about my weight goal, I thought I could probably push over a year timeframe to lose 50 pounds if I stayed committed and focused.  I told my wife my idea and I called my pursuit the "50 by 50" Challenge. I had pushed myself years ago to lose a lot of weight but I carelessly gained a lot of it back over the years. In fact, I read that the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders says 65% of dieters return to their pre-diet weights in the span of three years. I didn't want to experience that yo-yo weight loss again so I decided I needed to create a long-term plan to see lasting results. 

Have a Purpose.
So why did I choose weight loss as my 50th birthday goal? Well, I actually had a couple of serious motivating factors. First, despite being overweight most of my life, I had always been in fairly good health. All my yearly physicals and lab work always came back good and I ate basically anything I wanted and rarely exercised. However, in 2019 my bad routine started to finally catch up with me. It started with being diagnosed with high blood pressure. I also started experiencing severe back and neck pain. My knees and legs were constantly aching and sore. My body overall always felt sluggish and bloated and I could tell I wasn't as mentally sharp as I'm used to. I just felt "blah" all the time and it was starting to affect my overall health. Then came my first ever hospital stay.
In late 2019, I had been dealing with a very bad pinched nerve in my neck for months and the pain was incredibly bad enough that I finally had to go to the hospital one evening. When I arrived, a nurse took my vitals and she was very alarmed. My blood pressure was sky-high and they thought I was close to having a heart attack or a stroke at any moment. It didn't help that my weight had ballooned above 320 pounds by this time and I was in terrible physical shape. They started running all types of tests and different specialists came to see me. It was pretty scary for someone who had never been in the hospital before and never liked even stepping foot into one either. Through all the pain and suffering I was going through at that moment, the absolute worst part of it all was seeing the fear in my daughter's face. Her big and strong daddy was now weak and helpless and I could see she was very, very worried for me. She had never seen me like that and seeing the visible fear in her eyes really bothered me. At that moment, I just wanted to get out of the hospital as fast as I could and be strong for her again. That's when something clicked in my mind. I had to get better. I had to be better. I had to get stronger for my daughter and be the daddy she deserved to have. I didn't want to miss her future because I didn't take better care of myself. I decided right then I never wanted her to see me like that ever again. I realized I had to stop cheating on my health and become a better version of myself.

Not long after getting out of the hospital, I started reading everything I could on the best and healthy ways to lose weight. I spoke with a nutritionist for tips. I wrote my weight loss plan down. I set goals for myself and knew the best way to succeed would be to have small goals to shoot for. I made sure to keep my weekly and monthly goals very achievable. Most importantly, I just got moving. I started walking small distances. Small distances became longer. Walking became running. I bought a used elliptical machine. I dusted off my old bike. I later added weight training. I started adding more time and distances to my workouts. It was hard at first but I kept at it. "50 by 50" is what I kept telling myself. I had a goal to hit and I knew September 2021 would be here soon. I couldn't allow myself to waste time, procrastinate or make excuses to not work out. I prioritized my health and started putting in the work. Don't get me wrong. There were good and bad days. Thankfully, there were many, many more good days that kept me going and not quitting. Month after month I kept going and remembering  "why" I was getting healthy. I started seeing results and that motivated me more. Then, all of a sudden, a year had flown by and my birthday had arrived. "Wow" I thought. "That flew by fast." I had been so busy working on my health that I didn't realize how fast the time would actually go by. And that's when I remembered a quote from one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption. "Get busy living or get busy dying."

And that's what the past year has been for me and ultimately what my birthday story is about today. Looking back at the past 12 months, I'm so happy I challenged myself to lose weight. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. My body feels soooo much better and my health has drastically improved. I no longer have back and neck pain. My body doesn't ache anymore. I no longer have high blood pressure! (thank you Jesus!) I have tons of energy now. I even ran my first-ever 5K race! My body just feels so much lighter now. I decided to share my personal story today in hopes it will encourage you to get better and be better. Maybe weight loss isn't something you struggle with. Maybe it's something else that's robbing you from living your best life. Whatever it is, if an "old" guy like me can change his life, I'm believing you can too.

So, did I hit my "50 by 50" goal?  The answer is yes and then some. I'm happy to say that as of today, I have lost a total of 95 pounds! It was a lot of hard work and I am not done. I'm still not my best version yet and I will continue to pursue my health and get even better in 2022, 2023, 2024, and beyond. I hope my story encourages you today. Making life changes are rarely the easiest to do but they are often the most rewarding. Just start your journey and keep your "purpose" for change top of mind. You can do it!


Philippians  4:13


  • dubonnet480
    dubonnet480 Posts: 14 Member
    well done
  • the5dolls
    the5dolls Posts: 2 Member
    That is so awesome. Thank you for sharing your encouraging story. How exciting that you pretty much ended up actually doubling your goal! How cool is that? Congratulations and way to go.
  • Ghostofachance
    Ghostofachance Posts: 305 Member
    Congratulations on your success Mike and thank you for posting today. It helps reinforce what I am trying to do as a man in his early 50s. Keep up the great work!
  • Heliotr0pe
    Heliotr0pe Posts: 4 Member
    Wow! Congratulations! I also turned 50 this month, and I also started using MFP this year. I am super inspired by your post. Way to go!
  • Sand_TIger
    Sand_TIger Posts: 1,070 Member
    Great job! I love how you blew by your goal and lost 45 pounds beyond it. Isn't it funny how, when we start getting healthier, we see how much we actually had to lose? I'll bet you feel ten years younger. I know I do, after having lost a similar amount of weight. Your daughter has an awesome dad. :)
  • LeeH31
    LeeH31 Posts: 312 Member
    Thank you for sharing. I bet your daughter just loves the new you, too. And what a joyful reason to celebrate. Congratulations!
  • Ivyecc
    Ivyecc Posts: 2 Member
    cool... a great idea I think I will take this one on. I'm scared that I won't make it out of my 50's at the moment. so I have been working to get healthier so this would give me 3 years to get it on point I'm in baby steps at the moment. I'm trying to educate myself it feels like a lot. I refuse to not care for myself no longer. Thanks
  • Latrellis
    Latrellis Posts: 71 Member
    What an achievement!
  • bradkcrew
    bradkcrew Posts: 1,486 Member
    Rock star!
  • Pumbaa25
    Pumbaa25 Posts: 1 Member
    Good onya mate
  • GenuineKat
    GenuineKat Posts: 7 Member
    This is very inspiring, I also turn 50 this year my weight hit a high of 252 pounds, And I have been using weight and fitness pal for a few weeks I’m already down 16.7 pounds. Thank you for sharing this.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,392 Member
    Nice, work, you! And what a great example for your daughter, of setting goals (reasonably), planning steps for how to reach them (not just hoping), working patiently (even through some setbacks), . . . not to mention the example of exercise and health. So excellent!
  • oakster69
    oakster69 Posts: 55 Member
    Super results and a great, motivating story. I am very much in the same boat that you are in. I am 70 days in and down 40 pounds so far. The weight loss has slowed a little bit from the start, but it is still fairly steady. I had to work my through a sore achilles that honestly took about 6 weeks to heal completely and feel right so I am able to start moving around more and more. I am looking foward to continued weight loss and hopefully I stick with it and get similar results to yours.
  • katrincka
    katrincka Posts: 1 Member
    i am just getting started (again) today. almost 50 and this was very inspirational. wish me luck!
  • yweight2020
    yweight2020 Posts: 591 Member
    Happy, happy dance amazing self care and inspiration to all.😉👍🏃‍♂️
    FABRICWOMAN Posts: 539 Member
    Thank you so much for your post. When I first saw it I thought, "Oh no another long rambling post". I was so impressed and moved I have read it through twice and starred it for future reference. You have given me some ideas for my own battle with my weight loss journey. You look marvelous. Enjoy your health, your family and love your bible verse. You are proof of God's blessings. Believe me you have helped others!
  • caseydimples
    caseydimples Posts: 173 Member
    Mike! Congrats on your success as well as thank you for sharing. Loved reading your story.
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