Slimmer and stronger: A Henry County man’s journey of success
I mentioned yesterday that the paper here ran a story about my journey to a healthy life. The article is online and I am re-posting it here for those interested in reading it.
Those that have followed me are no strangers to this story. Many others have done what I have done, some far more than me. What has really touched me are a few stories that I really had not heard about until recently. A guy I met at dinner one night with friends told me about a mutual friend we shared who started running recently. He said “Man, you lit a fire under that guy. He’s dropped 40 pounds in the process.” I got a text from another friend who said she had hit the 50 pound weight loss mark. A co-worker has dropped a total of 52 pounds so far. Another co-worker said that her daughter read my article and said “Mommy, I want to do that, too.”
I will always give credit to my wife for making the first move in helping me save my own life. This really has been such a fun journey. Equally as touching is the impact it has had on those around me. That means so much more than I could ever adequately explain here. Getting a text from someone that I inspired saying they have lost weight, or hearing a friend who thought a 5K was impossible tell me he ran 12.5 miles the other day, it overwhelms me.
Anyway, for those wanting to read the article, it is below the jump…
In before and after pictures, Jason Morrison shows the changes in his appearance. The Henry County resident fought a winning battle over weight and fitness.
“Slimmer and stronger: A Henry County man’s journey of success”
By Claire Monroe, Special to the Times
To watch Jason Morrison in action today, you’d never imagine that less than two years ago he weighed 300 pounds and spent the majority of his free time sitting in a chair playing on the computer. He had gout, stroke-level blood pressure, and was borderline diabetic. “I went to the doctor for my blood pressure,” Morrison remembers. “He wouldn’t let me leave. They gave me medicine in the office to bring it down. Then, I fell asleep in the pharmacy waiting on my prescription.”
Now, on a typical Saturday morning, the 36-year-old wakes up early to hit the gym for a mix of cardiovascular and weight-training exercises. Gout? Gone. Blood pressure? Much better. Weight? Let’s just say he used to wear size 44 pants; now he’s comfortably in a 36.
So what happened?
“I knew I was going to end up in the hospital,” recalls Morrison, a graphic artist, photographer, and web designer. He says his wife, Gina, a registered nurse, had already picked out the doctor she wanted to treat him when he had a heart attack. “I knew I should change. For so long, I felt trapped, and I hated it. I felt like everybody was having fun and I was missing it.”
Morrison missed out on holding his infant daughter Emily, now 2, because of pain from the gout in his wrists. He couldn’t cut his entire yard in one day because he’d be too tired to finish. He came home from work too exhausted to play with Emily or her older sister Lauren, now 5. “I sat at a computer all day at work. I knew I shouldn’t be physically tired from that.”
The turning point came in December 2010 when Gina called him from the bookstore. She asked him how serious he was about changing.
“We’d always say, ‘Monday,’” Morrison said. “On Monday we’d do good, but by Wednesday it would be out the window and back to old habits.” Gina brought home The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jumpstart and a whole lot of fruits and vegetables. “At first, I thought what did she buy all this crap for,” Morrison laughs.
The pair stuck to the plan, and in the first month, Morrison dropped 20 pounds. That’s when he started running in his McDonough neighborhood. “It nearly killed me to do a mile,” he said. “I forced myself to exercise twice a week.”
To stay motivated, Morrison registered for the Savannah Rock-and-Roll Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in November 2011. He said signing up for something is a good strategy, especially for beginners. “It gives you a date to shoot for, and it gives you a purpose.”
As Morrison continued running, he joined CrossFit Pulse in McDonough. The gym specializes in strength and conditioning delivered through group workouts featuring high-intensity functional movements. In layman’s terms, that means running, lifting weights, and generally working your tail off! “I wish I had written more about my workouts on my blog,” recalls Morrison, who joined CrossFit on March 31, 2011, “but I was just trying not to die!”
Morrison said he likes CrossFit because the workout is different every day, and he enjoys the challenge. “I never would have imagined coming in here,” Morrison said, “but this is what made me feel like I could try anything.”
Speaking of trying anything, remember that half-marathon? Morrison felt so good in training he decided to run the full marathon (26.2 miles), which he finished in five hours. Since then he’s done two half marathons and a century bike ride. Through persistence and hard work, Morrison has gotten to the point where it feels unnatural not to exercise and be active with his family. Two particular points of pride stand out to him – one, when he dead-lifted more than 400 pounds at CrossFit. “To stand here and have 440 pounds in my hands under my own power, it’s a real confidence builder.”
The other point of pride hits closer to home. “Lauren and I ran around the neighborhood,” he beams. We took a couple of bananas, ran to the fountain in the neighborhood, and hung out and ate our bananas.”
Morrison believes one reason he’s been so successful with weight loss and fitness is he’s taken the journey a step at a time. “Don’t try to change everything at once,” he advises others. “But know that if you’re unhappy, you don’t have to settle.”
He says Gina pushed him not to settle. “I give her all the credit. I remember a couple of weeks in, I was missing the fast-food biscuits, the diet sodas. I said, ‘I’m just really tired of this.’ She said, ‘I know, but let’s keep going.’ We stuck it out.”
Morrison stuck it out so he could watch his little girls grow up – and be an active part of their lives.
“I will fight tooth and nail not to go back to that – and so my daughters won’t have to fight the same battles Gina and I did. I want to walk them down the aisle.”
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- robownslife said: The trickle effect … it’s like a disease, isn’t it amazing? Keep up the badassery!
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- shortmom said: Lighting a spark under other people is the best legacy a person could ever leave.
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- gillsquirt said: Such a sap! Just kidding, you’re always an inspiration, Jason. If this had been set to a Coldplay song, I might’ve cried tears of inspiration. All you get are proud smiles from me.
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- rookcanrun said: Great Story!
- keepgoinggreen said: Thanks for posting this. Reading your story and the part about switching from half to full marathon gives me more strength I will do it!
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- rfgr-26 said: Thanks for posting the article! I tried googling it yesterday and all I found were song lyrics!
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