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Life is not a spectator sport!

By Jeff Butts

Palo Duro Canyon State Park - JButtsI took a trip of a lifetime last summer! We went all over the southwest, including a stop in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the Texas Panhandle. At 120 miles long and 20 miles wide, it’s the second largest canyon, after the Grand Canyon.

Each day, my girlfriend posted our adventures on Facebook. One of our friend’s responses really touched me and hit an old nerve. They said how much they enjoyed seeing our post, but that they would have had to stay in the car and watch. That made me feel sad.

As I started this journey (over 8 years ago now), I often thought about the Am I Hungry? tagline, “Eat Mindfully, Live Vibrantly!” We all have that little nagging voice inside telling us, “You can’t do that,” “You can’t walk that far,” and “You can’t climb that!” Anytime I heard that little voice, I would think about Michelle May’s voice instead, and immediately go do it anyway!

As I become more able to move around, I loved to walk my dog, Auggie. We’d take turns leading; sometimes we’d go where I wanted, but the most fun was following him wherever he wanted to go! Climbing over or under logs, splashing through creeks, climbing hills–wherever he went I had to follow! Somehow it gave me the courage to know I could go anywhere I wanted.

I heard that little voice again at Palo Duro. A hundred feet or so up a cliff face, there is a small cave that exits on top of the cliff. There isn’t a path to the top so you have to scramble over boulders all the way up. I had had both knees replaced the previous fall and I hadn’t really gotten back to trusting them yet. But I didn’t listen to that little nagging voice. Instead, we took our time and made it to the top. I felt like I was on top of the world!

Don’t sit in the car! Your life is not a spectator sport – get out and live it vibrantly!


About the author

Jeff Butts is a facilitator of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Program and Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. He is a Wellness Coach, inspirational speaker, and Bariatric Support Group Leader. Jeff’s mission is to “Help others free themselves from the physical and emotional prison of obesity by sharing my experience, my wisdom, and my heart.” Jeff’s passion for helping others stems from his own personal struggle with food and weight. Reaching a weight of 643 pounds, Jeff knew he had to do something to regain his health and get back into life. Upon looking into bariatric surgery, he realized that it was just a physical tool, and that he also needed help to deal with the emotional reasons he ate. Through a twist of fate he discovered that Dr. Michelle May’s Am I Hungry? program was the additional tool he needed! He had bariatric surgery in 2008 and has maintained a 419 pound weight loss and leads five Bariatric Support Groups for St. Vincent’s. Jeff now teams with his Am I Hungry? teacher, mentor, and friend, Dr. Lori Hurst, to offer Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops throughout central Indiana. He also offers Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery workshops and webinars. A recording of Jeff’s webinars is available for facilitators-in-training. He also speaks frequently to local schools, colleges, civic, and health organizations. Jeff serves on the Board of Directors of GasAmerica’s Charitable Foundation and Board of Directors of PAWS, a pet rescue in Hancock County, Indiana. He volunteers at Hancock Regional Hospital, Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen, as a Big Brother, and foster parent for PAWS animals as they look for their forever homes.

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