The Six Stages of Weight Loss (4 of 6), by Stephen Ruffin

Depression is defined as a condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless and unimportant, and often is unable to live in a normal way.

There I was standing in front of the mirror again, depressed, disheartened, and nothing to show for it. I had sometimes skipped dessert. I had worked out every now and then. Man, I even ate brussel sprouts — and let me tell you, those things are nasty! To top it all off, I even ate the kale my wife gave me a couple of times. People are not supposed to eat kale. Kale is one of those things only ruminant cud-eating animals should tackle. (I did not consider myself to be in that category.)

I had been making some serious changes in my lifestyle. I had made serious choices at dinner. When we went out to restaurants, I no longer asked for the baked potato with “everything but the dirt from the kitchen”. Now, I was getting my sour cream, cheese, bacon, butter, chives, and dirt in little cups on the side and adding them to the potato.

Standing in front of that mirror, I saw the same gut, round face, and overweight person.

Not being one to give up, I continued on the same path of fitness glory. Nothing really changed. My weight was the same and I looked the same. Then something occurred which helped me change my perspective. My company had implemented a health risk assessment in which participation was not mandatory but encouraged since you received a big discount on your employee health insurance if it was completed. I went in, they drew blood and I received my results. My triglyceride level was 192. My sitting heart rate was 68. My blood pressure was 135 over 80. My cholesterol was 272. What was worse was a word written on my assessment at the bottom: OBESE. I took my paper back to my office and looked at it and threw it in my desk drawer and left it there.

Over the course of the next several weeks I would pull out my health risk assessment and read it over and over and my eyes would invariably drift to the bottom and read and reread the word obese. I started to think of my father. I realized I looked just like him. My father had triple bypass heart surgery at 48 years of age. He died at 68. I thought of my family again during this period and I would think of how I wanted to be there for my wife and kids. I wanted to enjoy my life, grow old, spoil grandchildren and spend all my children’s inheritance money traveling with my wife. I was depressed.

(Stay tuned for the final two articles in this weight-loss series: Acceptance and ACTION.)

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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