David Brown

The holidays are a special time of year filled with joy, singing, celebrating faith, and sharing time with loved ones... but it can also be a very hard time of the year emotionally for many.  On average, people will gain somewhere in the neighborhood of seven pounds during the season from Thanksgiving through the New Year.  I was one of those people on the high side of that average, and although I have no scientific study to back me up, I think it probably had a lot to do with me being emotionally obese.

Week 8 on the ranch started out immediately after newly eliminated contestant Holley walked out of the gym.  Alison Sweeney informs us one more person will be leaving the ranch this night, and it will come down to chance.  The contestant whose face comes up on a spin of the wheel will be spending the week at home, with their trainer, and be solely responsible for their team's percentage of weight-loss for the week.  My friends and family could tell you, but I'm more than just a little competitive and I love the pressure of results being on my shoulders, plus I am desperately missing my wife and three daughters at this point, so I am one of the very few who are wanting to see my face under the needle of the wheel when it settles.  Alison spins the wheel.... click, click, click, click... and it lands on... Jay.  I wanted it, but I was honestly happy for Jay, who was the only other person who wanted it like I wanted it.  I knew Jay would crush it at home, so I set my mind on the week ahead.

Perseverance became my word of the week.  No sooner had I accomplished one milestone (being the first to lose 100 pounds on the ranch), but now I had another significant milestone right in front of me, getting under 300 pounds.  With my weekly goal set, it was time to get to work.  I had come to learn losing weight is simple, it's just not easy.  And for me it included some heavy lifting emotionally.  I had also come to learn I had that in common with every single person on the ranch there with me.  

During the season we see a clear connection between the lingering pain of a hurt or failure from the past, or even a traumatic event, that diverts us from our intended path in life.  Nobody grows up looking forward to losing a loved one, or choosing to be in an abusive relationship, or says to themselves, "I can't wait to be obese one day."  As Jay talked to Jillian, he realized part of him died after his parents divorced and his childhood home was destroyed in a fire.  As Dolvett talked with Rachel, she realizes she lost herself in making a decision about her future that didn't work out.  Week by week, you see each of my cast mates put their lives out there for the world to see, all in the name of getting healthy, but having to courageously come to terms with some wound to do so.

I'm proud of Jay for facing the pain of his past, by identifying that pain and putting it to use toward his healthier future.  I'm proud of Rachel for facing her fears, diving back in, and challenging herself again.  I'm proud of each person, who while on their own journey, realizes there is more to the story.  To those who are courageous enough to face those giants from their past so you can call out that root thing holding you back, giving it a name, and then standing up to it saying "no more."

Week by week, as I was accomplishing great results physically, I was dealing with the real transformation happening on the inside.  I was open to the emotional part of the process from day one, and credit that one act of what I think is insane bravery on my part, with the milestone achievements on the scale, including my 7-pound loss this week getting me under 300.  At the time of year when we should have the most hope and joy, the reality for many is it might be the hardest time of the year.  I'm proud of each one of you passing through your pain to reach toward your true potential.  I'm proud of you for facing the wound, whatever it is, and persevering.

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