The Six Stages of Weight Loss (1 of 6), by Stephen Ruffin

I think an individual goes through a certain process when realizing they are overweight and must make changes to reclaim their health. For me the process was very similar to the Kubler-Ross Model or the five stages of grief. I am sure most have heard of this process which involves denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

To come to grips with my unhealthy situation, I had to go through the stages above with one exception; to initiate any type of change for the positive, action must be taken. So when one looks at the process as a whole, there are in effect six stages of weight loss, and we will call the last stage the ACTION phase.

I had been a runner in high school and college. The day I cleaned my college track locker out in 1978, I had no desire to ever step on a track again. I actually quit my freshman year. I wasn’t enjoying running and was running for all the wrong reasons. I was no longer running for enjoyment or running for myself.

This is a picture of me and my wife in 2012.

It is because of my wife, and her belief in me, and her love and encouragement, that I am where I am today. For those struggling with their weight, this story has a happy ending and yours will too if you work through these processes I will outline in a six-part post my friend Jason has graciously asked me to write. Obviously this picture is the denial phase.

Denial. It is defined in the dictionary as the refusal to admit the truth or reality.

It is human nature to sometimes deny the obvious stark reality of the truth. It is a protective mechanism. It is easier. By denying the obvious, we do not have to face the consequences; or so we think. What we engage ourselves in with denial is a false reality. We shut out the truth of the situation and develop our own false preferable reality.

Look at the picture. That was me in August of 2012. I look happy. And I am, but I was also in denial.

I actually thought I looked good! Look at the picture again. Not long after this picture, I began a journey. Let’s keep this picture in mind as we work through the stages in later posts.

Love Gently Live Justly Race Hard,

Stephen Ruffin

Stephen Ruffin lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Karen. They have two grown children. Stephen and his wife embrace the multi-sport lifestyle. Stephen is a Boston Marathon qualifier, Ironman, and All World Athlete. He is avid about the sport of triathlon and credits the sport with reclaiming his health. He is sponsored by TriBike Transport and competes on Team TBT.

He can be reached on his Linkedin page under: Steve Ruffin. Or you can reach him via email at

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