A Year of Experiences #2 – Investing in Myself

By | 2015-12-24T11:00:10+00:00 Dec 24th, 2015|

[cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]Listen. I subscribe to Men’s Health and GQ. My iBooks shelf is filled with a variety of covers showcasing what today’s fit, healthy man looks like and if there was one thing I knew for certain going into 2015, it was that I did not fit that mold. In fact, I was pushing towards the ass-opposite direction of what a fit, healthy man looks like. Standing at an even 6’ tall and 36 years of age, I was pushing close to 250 lbs, wore a US Mens size 40 jeans, and only had XXL t-shirts. No matter which way you sliced it, I was in poor form and, as someone who makes his living with photography taken in locations that often require stamina and strength, I was making it increasingly difficult to “get to work.”

It wasn’t always like this, you know. The irony is that, as a teenager, I actually had the reverse problem where I was sorely underweight. At that time, I weighed about 160 lbs and hardly ate anything at all. I just didn’t have the appetite. I remember my mother pleading with me to eat all the time and even went as far as to drag me to a food psychologist/nutritionist who put me on a mandatory diet of Ensure shakes. Ugh, so gross. Now, I think about those times, remembering just how scrawny I was, and I shake my head. Where did it all go wrong?[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″][cs_text]

BrianMatiash_1996-03_

Me during my freshman year of university. All 160 lbs of me.

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Me, according to my smart scale just about a year ago in 2014.

[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]Well, if I had to give a reason, it’d simply be a combination of working at Google’s Mountain View campus for two years and my utter lack of discipline to be active. Let me not mince words here. Working for Google is unreal if only for the vast cornucopia of food you have at your disposal. All day. Every day. Free. With the myriad cuisines that I could jam into my mouth, I began a rapid descent—or maybe it was an ascent—into unhealthy weight gain.

I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t lacking of any single thing. I had a lovely wife (still do) and a fantastic job. I made enough money to buy and do whatever I wanted. But, as someone with an addictive personality, I let the gluttony get the better of me and never held myself accountable. You may be thinking, “Ok, Brian. It’s Google’s fault. They surrounded you with all of these foods, snacks, and drinks. They’re to blame!” Unfortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″][cs_text]BrianMatiash_20130520-DSC00173_NEX-6[/cs_text][/cs_column][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″][cs_text]BrianMatiash_20130711-DSC00386_NEX-7[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]You see, for every batch of fries, platter of cookies, and soft-serve ice cream machine, there were equal amounts of salads, lean proteins, and slow carb options. They just didn’t taste nearly as good to me. I also had access to an onsite nutritionist and doctor, both of whom I visited, both of whom advised me to change my eating habits and both of whom I summarily ignored.

And, as if the availability of healthy food options weren’t enough, Google offers its employees a ridiculous amount of gyms, recreational activities, and group fitness classes. There are the infinity pools, the beach volleyball courts, and the giant activity fields. Want to cycle from San Francisco to Mountain View? Cool, there are Googlers to do that with. How about getting the heart racing with a zesty game of Quidditch? Sure thing, they’ve got that. Rock climbing? Yup. So, I think I’ve made my point clearly enough that it had nothing to do with a lack of physical activity options.

Nope. I was just a lazy asshole. Pure and simple.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]BrianMatiash_20140116-DSC00502_ILCE-7[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]I’m not exactly sure I can point to a single catalyst that finally got me to commit to turning things around. Maybe it was me still riding on the fumes of my New Years resolutions but for whatever combination of reasons, I decided to invest to a two year membership at my local 24 Hour Fitness gym and went a step further by investing in a personal trainer.

I use the work “invest” deliberately because both of these steps are not cheap. Initially, I convinced myself of the typical rationale that if I spend money on it, I’ll value it more and—by extension—utilize it more. And you know what? It worked! Sort of.

You see, I firmly believe that had I only invested in a gym membership (thanks Costco!), I would have given up long ago. I know myself well enough at this point to have a grip on when I’m entering a hopeless battle. It was the personal training that turned things around. I firmly believe that because I abhor disappointing people, especially those who are actively trying to help me. So, the way I saw it, if I would be spending extra money per month for these sessions, I’d damn well go (twice a week!) and leave it all on the gym floor with every one.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″][cs_text]11219659_10153540411556737_8642758100767714815_n[/cs_text][/cs_column][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″][cs_text]11127815_10153208120231737_5795897196712716223_n[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]Around the same time of joining the gym, I also began talking regularly with a friend of mine, Sandy Foster, who I had met at a photo conference the prior year. I can’t recall the exact way we began chatting but eventually, our conversations gained a laser like focus on nutrition, gut health, and positive eating habits. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend as knowledgeable and caring in their lives. I attribute SO much of my eventual success in my fitness and weight loss to Sandy’s guidance. Again, it’s an exceptionally bitter pill for me to swallow to disappoint someone who is taking an active interest in my well-being.

My first trainer was Melanie, a lil’ ball of fire. With Melanie’s guidance, I set myself on a three-pronged mission to:

  1. lose the excess weight I gained over the past two years
  2. increase my stamina and strength so that I could handle any hike for my photography pursuits and
  3. get into a healthy mindset with what I eat and how I treat my body.

Week after week, Melanie helped me and the results started to show. The scale began reading lower and lower numbers and I actually began feeling better.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]IMG_0769[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]After a few months, Melanie resigned from the gym for personal reasons but left me in the care of Amy, an unstoppable force of power lifting madness packed into human form. Whereas Melanie helped me make huge strides with losing fat, Amy has been focusing on making me stronger from head to toe to mind. She is a ruthless dealer of physical exertion who derives genuine pleasure from working me so hard that I literally feel pain in my teeth. And I love her for it. Every time I get up from bed and feel that searing pain in my core or arms or legs, I think of Amy and smile (and then curse her under my breath). Investing in her has been, without a single doubt, the very best decision I’ve made in a very long time.

Now, none of this should be of any sort of surprise, right? When you take care of yourself, stay active, and eat right, you feel better across the board—both physically and mentally. And that’s the crux of this entire post… and seriously guys, thanks for making it this far. Because here’s the thing. 2015 has been quite a pivotal year for me. It has had me going through a downward spiral, up a cliff of utter uncertainty, and through a creative fog. I was, for lack of better words, adrift. And if it hadn’t been for the support and dedication of Amy, Melanie, Sandy, and Nicole, along with a core group fo close friends, I firmly believe that I’d be in a helluva worse place in my life today.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]12019861_10154160792494989_8290647396837285521_n[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]2016 is already shaping up to provide me with a new set of challenges and opportunities. Stuff that I’ve never had to deal with before. It’s the first time that I’m going at it totally on my own. Just me and my own corporation, Matiash, Inc. And you know what?

I’m absolutely terrified.

But I’m also absolutely excited.

I’m absolutely eager to share every step of the way with you—honestly and transparently.

But most of all, I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m going into it with a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Now, let’s do this.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section style=”margin: 0px; padding: 2px 0px; “][cs_row style=”margin: 0px auto; padding: 0px; ” inner_container=”true”][cs_column style=”padding: 0px; ” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″][cs_text]11225305_10207781211384202_3560987207975095065_n[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section]

7 Comments

  1. oldhickory49 December 24, 2015 at 10:47 am - Reply

    All the best to you, Brian. You are one of only a select few stellar purveyors of photographic inspiration out there. Always appreciated your honesty and creativity. Love your work. The best of luck in 2016 with your endeavors.

    • Brian Matiash December 24, 2015 at 10:49 am - Reply

      That means the world to me… it truly does. And I can’t thank you enough for sticking by with me after all these years. I wish you and your family the very best in 2016.

  2. Chris Stern December 24, 2015 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. I wish you the best in your health and photographic journey in 2016. In addition, I hope your holidays is filled with joy and laughter.

  3. Sandy Foster December 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE this post. Thank you for sharing the story and photos of your year-long journey. I’m honored to have been a part of it. The credit really goes to you, though. The hardest thing to do is to change habits. I hope your story inspires others. (And, if anyone reading this wants to follow suit, I’m happy to also help put you on the right nutrition path. It’s what I love to do.)

    P.S. We went past small talk on FB and into nutrition because you make a post on FB about heading in a downward spiral. I read that post and offered to help you via nutrition. You accepted my help. So another story in here is that it’s ok to be honest, and it’s ok to ask for help and it’s ok to accept help that is offered to you. We are all in this life together and everyone single one of us has an effect on the rest. Make your mark a positive one. :)

    Namaste my friend. SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!

  4. FoToEdge December 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    This story is what computer and photo people need, in addition to the usual ramblings on Apps, Software, Hardware, Firmware, and Photographic concepts and settings. In the end, if we lose our body, all the stuff we carefully put in our brain goes down the drain with the ship. You used words that I now will put on many Sticky Notes in my office, truck and home. DON’T BE A LAZY ASSHOLE! – Thank You for opening up on such a private subject. Happy New Year!

  5. KV December 30, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Thank you for your openness and sharing, not only about photography, but about the journey. It is our personal triumphs and hardships that impact our vision and our souls. It’s what makes us human, and it is through that humanity that we create. Photography is about letting the inside, out. Thank you, you have truly inspired me today and over the past year. All the best on your new endeavours.

  6. Sarah Marino December 30, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Publishing your first book and getting fit – two massive accomplishments for a single year. Your story here is inspirational and motivating. Cheers to you and Nicole for a happy and fun 2016!

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