The story of Shawn Collins is a familiar one for many struggling to lose weight. After 10 years of convincing himself his increasing weight wasn’t an issue, he was hit with the realization that, by letting himself go, he wasn’t only letting himself down – he was letting his family down. So, Shawn took control of his health and worked hard every day to transform his life for the better. At 58 years old, Shawn proved to his wife and three teenage daughters that, when equipped with a good reason and a supportive environment, you can become the change you want to see. In the process, he lost 34 pounds and took 3rd place in our 45-Day Transformation contest. Read on to discover how he did it.
You took 3rd place in our 45-Day Transformation Challenge. Well done! How would you describe your experience?
It was a wonderful experience, a real teaching experience. It was about much more than losing weight and getting in great shape. It served as a reminder that, when you really focus and work hard, you’re oftentimes capable of more than you may think.
I’d gotten to a point where I didn’t think there was much I could do about my body. I thought “I’m pretty much stuck.” So, when you lose 34 pounds in 45 days and basically transform your body, you transform your mind and emotions. You think, “What else is there in my life I thought I couldn’t change, but now I know I can?”
At what point did your weight become an issue?
Well, it had been an issue for probably 10 years or more for me. But I didn’t always realize it. It happens day by day, sitting at your desk job, eating things you shouldn’t, not working out…you put on weight and don’t even realize it’s happening. But it adds up over time, of course. I didn’t realize, along the way, that I was getting out of shape and living an unhealthy lifestyle. But when I joined ILKB, and particularly the 45-Day Challenge, I realized, “I’m in terrible shape, and I have to do everything possible to fix this.”
What was your “lightbulb moment” that made you finally decide to lose weight and start getting healthier?
All of this starts with a feeling. It’s not really how many pounds are on the scale, it’s how you feel about those pounds. I have a wife and three daughters, and I’m always telling my daughters about the importance of working hard, aiming high, and not accepting negativity in the world. I started to feel like such a phony. where I’d say to myself, “I weigh what I weigh, and I’m pretty much stuck with. I just have to accept it.” I measured that mindset against what I was saying to my daughters, and they were so at odds with one another. I said, “I’m a fraud and I need to fix this.”
It’s been very important to me, especially where it concerns my daughters. I want them to think well of me, to be proud of me. I felt like one of the most important ways I wanted them to be proud was for me to walk my talk. That the things I’d say to them, I’d ultimately live in my own life. I felt bad about what I weighed, but I felt worse that I was not being true to what I was telling my daughters. No good parent ever wants to feel like a fake to their kids. It jarred me into doing something. I wasn’t sure I could, very honestly. But I knew I could try. The 45-Day Challenge was really the catalyst for all of that. I wasn’t trying to win, or get money or recognition. It was important for my daughters to see me trying hard, to see I was being truthful to the things I was telling them.
With all of the fitness regimens and diet programs and gyms out there, what made you decide to join ILKB?
I joined ILKB because my 18-year-old daughter wanted to join and asked if I’d join with her, so I did. Throughout my life, I’ve tried a lot of diet and fitness programs. ILKB is the best because it’s a really unique combination of challenge and fun. They key for me is the environment the instructors create. You work incredibly hard. At the end of the hour, I’m drained and exhausted, but it’s the best feeling. You feel like you’ve done something great. And that hour is fun. Before ILKB, I never thought an exercise program could be so demanding and tough, yet so fun. The key moments for me are walking into the ILKB facility, which really makes me feel good, especially the way the instructors shout out my name and greet me. Then, there’s the feeling walking out the door an hour and five minutes later. You think, “I’ve worked very hard here to make my life better. I put in a great hour of work.”
What specific changes have you made that are working for you?
I eat better, and I sleep better. After working very hard at ILKB, it’s easier to make other changes . You don’t want to sabotage all the hard work you’re doing by eating bad food. It doesn’t make sense. You sleep better, partly because you worked out so hard, but also because you want energy for the next day. But then also, with my work at my law firm, there are some things I’ve wanted to change for some time but never got over the hump to do what’s necessary to change those things. ILKB taught me total dedication to a goal. If you work hard every day toward a goal you have, in 45 days you can make enormous progress. Progress you didn’t even think was possible. That applies to all areas of life, not just losing weight.
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What has been keeping you motivated lately?
I still get compliments fairly regularly about how I look and how I’ve lost weight. Those will really keep you going. Especially when my daughters notice – two of the three are teenagers, and they can be very brutal! So, when they complement me, my ears perk up. I really smile on the inside. Then there are the simple things, like how your clothes fit, or going to the tailor to have your suit taken in. A few years back I had to go to get my suit taken out. So, it’s an accumulation of little moments like that that remind you how good it is to feel the way you feel.
Now that you’ve won third place in ILKB’s 45-Day Transformation contest, what do you have planned to keep your progress going?
Going to ILKB 5 or 6 times a week is a way I keep reminding myself how important this is, and to keep monitoring my progress. I’m pushing myself to see how many push-ups I can do without stopping, how many burpees, how many tuck jumps. In July, I could do maybe two push-ups without going down to my knees. Now, I can do 20 without ever going on my knees. Or 15 tuck jumps without stopping. It’s a reminder of how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come.
I’m going to keep going to class, because going to class for me was never about winning money, or recognition. Its announcing to myself and my family that I’m going to be a better man. That won’t ever change, so I’ll keep going to class. It’s also a formula I’ve discovered for changing things in my life I want to change. Walking through the doors of ILKB is a way of saying, “Don’t ever assume you can’t change something that needs changing.”
How did you use your hard-earned prize money?
Part of it was, I bought some champagne for the instructors. I had to thank them. They were so supportive. They gave me advice on my diet; they would push me in the right way. I never felt embarrassed or humiliated, even in the beginning. I appreciated it so much that I went out and bought a bottle of champagne for each one of them. The rest of it, I gave to my daughters so they could go shopping. I wanted to do something nice for them. It was my way of saying, “You guys were a big part of pushing me toward this goal, and I appreciate it.”
What do you want other people who are struggling to lose weight to know?
Number one: You need a good reason. That’s the most important thing. You need a really strong reason to do this. If you don’t have a good reason, it’s probably not going to work. The formula for losing weight is simple to say: you exercise and eat well. But exercising and eating well are often not that much fun. So, what will drive you through that, for weeks and months and years, ultimately? What will make you willing to change your life? For me, it was wanting to be a better man for my wife and daughters. Some people get scary health news from their doctor. Or they want to be attractive for someone new in their life. It needs to work for them, and it needs to be powerful.
Number two: You need a supportive environment. After finding that reason, you want to surround yourself with a supportive group of people who will push you. That’s where ILKB came in for me. The instructors know what they’re doing, and the people in the class are enormously supportive. Everyone, more or less, has a common goal. In an environment like that, you’re never embarrassed to try hard because everyone is after the same thing.
Hey Knockouts, does Shawn’s story resonate with you? Comment below.