What’s your name? My name is Thomas Winterman, and I used to be a fat guy. Whew! It feels good to say that. No really, it’s nice to be able to call a spade a spade. I used to speak in code with words like “husky” or “large,” but I never allowed myself to say what I was.
I used to be fat, and it was not a good look on me. I was 275 pounds at my heaviest, and I was at (or near) my heaviest for a very long time. I loathed exercise and loved Taco Bell, a double chin recipe if I’ve ever heard one. When people said my name, they thought “fat guy.”
So what’s your name? My name is Thomas Winterman, and I used to be a lazy and unmotivated dope. It’s true. I was on academic suspension from Gulf Coast Community College (twice) because I signed up for classes and then never went. I am the guy who took a job working in an electrical warehouse delivering supplies all day because it sounded easy. I am the guy who took the path of least resistance because, meh, resistance sounded hard.
When people heard my name they thought of wasted potential, and a person who wouldn’t do one ounce more than was necessary to just barely scrape by. Then I had my aha moment, my Damascus road experience. I had a thought, an insight that set me on the path to forever changing who I was.
I was driving my delivery truck just like always. It was a day like any other, with nothing special happening. I always spent a lot of time in thought while driving my truck — there wasn’t much else to do — and on this particular day I was very introspective. All at once I had a thought, a fleeting moment of intuition. I realized exactly who I was — lazy, fat, unmotivated, no self-control, and lacking ambition.
Realizing who I actually was hurt, but realizing what message that was sending hurt even worse. You see, I was recently married and I told my wife every day that I loved her. And I did the things a loving husband does. But my life choices? They said I didn’t care. That hurt.
I realized that the sum of who I was, the message I was sending, didn’t match up with who I claimed to be. My eating habits and lack of exercise? Those would have me in the grave by 40. My job? I’d be making $10.50 an hour for the next 30 years. Those realities? They told my wife “I don’t care about you.”
Then, just as quickly, another thought hit me. One day I would have a son, and that son would have a career day at school. What would I feel on that day? Shame, guilt, and embarrassment. I’d be ashamed to go, and he would be ashamed to have me there.
Don’t misunderstand me — it’s not because I was driving a truck! I would be ashamed because I was capable of so much, and I could have done anything I wanted with my life, I just didn’t feel like it. My message to my son would be that you don’t ever have to try and you don’t ever have to do anything great because it might be hard. In that moment, wiping tears from my eyes, my thrive life began.
What’s your name? My name is Thomas Winterman, and I am a great husband and father. I weigh 205 lbs., have a masters degree in counseling psychology, work my dream job, and recently published a book. I am in phenomenal shape and am damn proud of the man I am today.
I am not perfect, and there have been a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. I don’t have a six pack, can’t slam-dunk a basketball, and cannot run 10 miles without stopping (all actual New Year’s resolutions). But when people hear my name, they think of a hard worker, someone who loves his family, and someone devoted to his craft.
My job, my purpose, is to help others who want to be better; to help others who want their name to mean something different. I’ve been there, and I can help you. True, lasting, and meaningful change has to start with an honest and thorough self-evaluation. People mostly want to start by mapping out where they are going, but in order to know where you are going you have to first know where you are.
Are you dissatisfied with some aspect of your life? Good. That’s the first step to change. So let me ask you — what’s your name?
Name Tag photo via Shutterstock.