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Confessions of a Former Overweight Professional Athlete

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The most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that obesity rates around the country continue to remain high. What's worse is that since the 1990s, the numbers have continued to rise and more than a third of U.S. adults are obese and around 17 percent of children are obese.

Yet despite the dangers of obesity that we're all aware of -- things like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes -- not to mention sluggishness, fatigue, a decreased feeling of self-worth and so many other negative consequences, the problem continues to plague so many people around the world.

I myself was once 40 pounds overweight, so I'm by no means throwing stones from a glass tower. Imagine that: I'm a former professional athlete who should know better than anyone, yet my speaking career took off and I was on the road a lot and got lazy and started making bad decisions. One day I thought: I'm a mental toughness coach after all, so it's time I start following my own advice. I noticed the biggest problem was really in my head. I knew that a good diet and exercise plan were important, but I was in a fight against myself to get healthy.

I'm happy to say I lost the weight and today I'm in the best shape ever, even better then my former pro playing days. Here's the mental toughness techniques I used to finally lose the weight and get fit and healthy.

I made a decision
I decided I needed to make a decision to get healthy once and for all. I stopped telling myself that I would start again on Monday or the week after. I decided to start right then and there. After all, there's no better time then the present.

I stopped cheating
I realized I wasn't treating my diet as something important. I thought about what else was important in my life. And then it hit me: My wife means the world to me. I would never cheat on her, so I decided I wasn't going to allow myself to cheat on my diet.

I took responsibility
When I got honest with myself, I realized I wasn't taking responsibility for my weight. I was blaming the restaurants I was eating in for the junk they were serving me and the portion sizes. I went to my doctor and told him to find a medical reason for my weight gain, but he said it was me. I finally decided to take responsibility for my actions. I ate myself fat and only I could eat myself fit again.

I got around fit people
I realized the eating habits of my closest friends were only contributing to the process. We'd meet up for pizza, chicken wings and beers after work. I joined a gym and started hanging around fit people. I made some new friends who made health a priority and sure enough their consciousness was contagious and rubbed off on me. I became so excited about working out, eating right and getting healthy.

I found my "why"
One of the best things that helped me lose the weight was discovering my "why." Why did I want to do this? For me, it was for my wife, my speaking career and because I was terrified of dropping dead of a heart attack. Find your "why" and let it motivate you to success.

I got honest with myself
Although I was 40 pounds heavier, my mind played tricks on me. I would look in the mirror and think, "You look pretty good, Siebold." I was operating in a state of psychological delusion. I finally stopped lying to myself and became brutally honest. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it was essential to getting fit and healthy again.

I became ready to fight
Whenever I had tried to lose weight before, I never took it seriously. I decided this time would be different; it would be the fight of my life. I told myself this wasn't going to be some walk in the park and it would be filled with obstacles and challenges that I would have to push through if I was going to persevere. This definitely helped prepare me mentally to fight this battle once and for all.

If I was able to lose 40 pounds and get healthy, so can you. There is no secret formula, magic potion or lotion. As long as you don't have a true medical condition that causes weight gain, you are the problem and you are the solution. It's not easy, but nothing worth fighting for is ever easy. And take it from someone who's been there: The end result is well worth fighting for. Sharpen your mental toughness and decide to do this once and for all.

* Before starting any diet or exercise program, always consult your physician