12 Weeks to Fitness: Continuing with my progress


Welcome to 12 Weeks of Fitness, a weekly blog series by Kris Mitchell, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas and alumnus of ThreeSixty Journalism. Kris is involved in a 12-week program at St. Thomas to lose weight and improve his health. A team of videography students will document his progress for a class project. This is the last blog of the series. _______________________________________________________________________________________

Q&A with ThreeSixty Journalism and Kris Mitchell to find out how the 12-week program to get fit and healthy went and hear about Kris’s challenges, successes, failures and the future.

What was your goal at the beginning of this program and did you reach it?

Kris: My first goal was that I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to reach the goal weight of 200 pounds. I, however, did not reach it. I actually gained weight. I think stress and the fact that I gained muscle is what prevented me from reaching my weight goal. It’s not what I wanted, but I am okay with it.

What were your biggest challenges?

Kris: My challenges were to lose weight, make better eating choices, feel better about myself and get rid of my medical issues, specifically the problems with my back. I started out at the beginning of the program wanting to get as healthy as I could with a determination that nothing could stop me. The biggest challenge was definitely getting off my bad eating habits. However, once I got into making healthier choices, it got easier. The two other challenges that I didn’t reach was getting rid of my medical issues and losing weight. My back problems started to return despite the surgery I had and now, I face a harsh choice ahead of me. And as I said before, I didn’t lose weight; I gained weight. I gained muscle, and I am okay with that. It would be nice if I weighed less, but the way I view it is that I am a little husky. I am strong and I am in shape, for the most part, so I consider that healthy.

You mentioned you face a harsh choice related to your back problems, what do you mean by that?

Kris: Well in June, I had a follow up visit with Dr. Polly, who performed my surgery. The scans revealed that the bone graft, which was placed during the surgery to support my back, was not doing what it was put in place to do. It had actually disappeared, perhaps absorbed by my body. So the choices I’ve been given are either to perform major surgery to reconstruct the middle of my back, where the tumor is, or to live with my pain and discomfort for the rest of my life. I am getting a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic to help me make a decision about what I should do.

This sounds like it’s affecting you emotionally and motivationally. How are you dealing with that and how does affect your health?

Kris: For me personally, I feel like I took a huge footstep back after making two huge footsteps forward. I feel like I somehow messed up along the way and that I could have prevented it. But I also have to be real with myself. I corrected bad habits, I started making better eating choices, I gained muscle and in general, I feel good about myself. This back issue is an obstacle and yes it brings me down thinking about it. But I have to have the mindset that this is something that I can work out on my own. I have already gone this far and this is another test that I have to beat and deal with. Life is full of obstacles, and sometimes, life is going to get you down. This is a fact, so you have to approach it with an optimistic and realistic viewpoint. Sometimes you fail, as I did with weight loss, but I gained so much more than that. So I am happy for what I have accomplished.

Now that the 12 week program is over, is getting to the 200 pound weight still one of your goals? Will you still be playing basketball or going to the gym or working towards losing weight?

Kris: I always play basketball. Every Thursday night, I’m shooting hoops and I’m working on my game. And every single day, I’m active because I work as a recreation leader. That’s actually my job, to get kids active so, therefore, I actually get active. As far as the future, I’m optimistic about it. I’m going to continue working on myself to get healthier. But with my weight, I’m going to put the breaks on it because I feel good about myself.

Kris's Blog