For May’s update Masterpiece Fitness would like to share the testimony of Tony Phillips with the Galax Radio Station, WWWJ 1360 AM. Tony is the Operations Manager, Music Director, and Morning Show Host. I was in the station for a program and was conversing with Tony afterwards as he began to share his story. I was impressed by someone who had made a lot of bad choices admitting it, making no excuses, and taking full responsibility for making right choices and turning his life totally around. Tony will be an inspiration to you as well as you read of the struggle, perseverance, and endurance keeping him on a journey that is far from over. You may want to consider dropping Tony a line of encouragement for his willingness to share his story hoping to help someone else. ( [email protected].)
Hey there! This is Tony, from the Radio Station in Galax. You said you wanted to hear some of my testimony awhile back, well, this is a brief readers digest version as of today. If you wish to share it, feel free to do so. I am still a work in progress, but if it helps someone, then by all means, you do what you need to do. I wrote this on the 22nd of this month. Here is the story, as I wrote it that day… Sheila and I went walking this afternoon. And this afternoon I reached a milestone in my healing process. I made it a mile. I’m usually a private guy when it comes to close things, family things and very personal things. but I am going to share something with you tonight. Around this time last year, I was detoxing from the anti-depressant Paxil. The problem was, besides having been on the drug for 17 years, I came off the drug too quickly. Basically, I went cold turkey, and that is a major no no with an SSRI. I could hardly eat anything, almost everything made me sick. I couldn’t sleep well but I was fatigued all the time. My body hurt, knees, elbows, shoulders, hips. Joints were just in bad shape. My knees have been in bad shape for years and even led me to leave my Law Enforcement career when they got messed up during training. The brain fog and mental confusion, I can’t even begin to tell you how bad it was. The anxiety I was dealing with was through the roof. I couldn’t control the fear and the angst that was clouding and controlling my mind. I lived in a very dark world those weeks and months when I first came off the medication. Actually almost the first six months. it has been a slow healing process from the medication. As the detox progressed into May and June, I thought I was going to die. When I attended my son Nick’s wedding in Maryland, I honestly thought on the trip up there from Galax, that it would be my last family event and it would probably be the last time I would see my family together. At the end of July 2013, I was at 325 pounds and climbing, a mixture of medication, poor diet and lack of exercise had been taking its toll. I looked puffy and it was more than just the fat, it was like an all over inflammation. I realized I had to make some life changes. Sheila and I quit smoking on August 1st, a 26 year smoking habit for me. I’m not going to lie, I loved smoking. It was one thing I said I would never give up, and I did. We begin to change the eating habits in our household. I gave up a 3 to 4 can of Dr. Pepper or Mt. Dew a day habit, and we started cutting processed foods out of the household menu and eating more whole foods. We also started exercising. I started off trying to walk. I could get maybe 1/8th of a mile and my back would seize up on me. The pain so bad I could hardly stand straight and I could barely make my legs keep moving. It was pretty bad. A very good friend, Vanetta Delp, gave us an elliptical stationary bike. I started working on that bike. After doing just 5 minutes I would be out of breath and sweating…But I have been working on it slowly. I remembered being in the Army, running for miles…Those days were a distant memory for me. I kept riding that bike. I haven’t been consistent until the last few months really. I blame the cold, but it was just me finding reasons. I went from one 5 minute sessions a day then, to now doing three 10 minute sessions a day or two 15 minute sessions a day, usually 4 to 5 days a week. I still had been having some difficulties walking any distance. My knees would pop and crack and generally sound like someone walking on corn flakes. When I would get to half a mile or so, my back would tighten up as it always did and I would have to stop. Carrying around 135 extra pounds is rough. I have been telling myself for months now, “If I can just make it a mile”… I don’t share this for congratulations from anyone. This was a personal achievement for self respect. From a guy who went from being a health freak, studying martial arts, working out, being in dynamic shape, to a guy who could hardly roll off the couch. I still have a long way to go, I still weight 320 pounds, But not for long… I share this to let others know that no matter how hard it is right now, it can get better. If you keep driving at it and working at it, even with just little steps, you can and will make it. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Never quit. When you don’t believe in yourself, there is someone who does believe in you. It may be your children,your spouse, your girl or boyfriend. You may think you have no one, but God is there and He believes in you! I made that mile today. I plan on making two miles soon, then three and then four…One step at a time. One prayer at a time. One moment of gratefulness at a time. If I can make that mile, I promise you, you can make that mile.