Every time Randy Brown comes into the Pickens YMCA to exercise, he has a picture in his mind. His “why” is crystal clear. He knows exactly what he’s working towards.
“I’ve got three grandkids now – I’m a ‘Papa’ – and I started thinking, ‘I want to be around,” Randy said. “Before, it was all about me. I cared about what I wanted in the moment.”
“But I have a picture of my two granddaughters on my phone from vacation last summer, and I couldn’t play or swim with them. And I keep that picture in my mind. I want to be the ‘Papa’ that sees them enjoy the graduations and the wedding ceremonies and their lives,” Randy said.
And the Y has helped him find his healthy lifestyle. Since joining the Y, Randy comes in 4 days a week and has found connections and community to help him on his journey.
“Anytime I’m here, it’s amazing how it makes you feel. The Y is the type of place where people want to help each other,” he said. “When I came to see (Wellness Director) Tyra (Balcombe), she wrote it down and then said, ‘Let me show you.’
“You come here, and you feel welcome. We’re all going for the same goal of a healthy life. You can’t put a value on this type of community.”
Randy’s story is like so many at the Y. He didn’t think he could ever be at this point. But he wants everyone to know that if he could do it, he truly believes that it’s possible for everyone.
“Everybody wants to know how I’ve done it, and I just tell them that I keep my ‘why’ in front of me. I keep my grandchildren and my family in front of me, so I know what I’m working towards,” Randy said.
“Of course, it’s like eating an elephant – this happened one bite at a time. But if you change your mindset, you can do it. You have friends here at the Y who will help you and coach you and change your life.”
When Randy’s wellness journey started in September, he had reached his unhealthiest point. His weight was at 300 pounds, his blood pressure and cholesterol were high, and his thyroid levels were elevated.
“Everything was high, and I knew it was just a matter of time until I probably had a heart attack. And my grandchildren were going to grow up and I was going to miss all that,” Randy said.
For Randy, it was always an easy choice to eat unhealthy options. He says he was programmed to eat cheeseburgers, fries and pizza, and he had never really thought about healthy options.
“I always pretty much ate what I wanted to and never thought about it. Next thing you know, I turned 50 and was 300 pounds,” Randy said. “My granddaughter would come over and want to run, play and dance, and I couldn’t do anything with her.”
But for Randy, his “why” drove him to an overall lifestyle change. Since starting his wellness journey, Randy’s eats “lean and green,” focusing on leafy vegetables and protein.
“Remarkably, (the weight) started falling off and my health started getting better. I changed the way I think, the way I eat, and I prayed to God to renew my mind,” Randy said. “And I’m not doing it unhealthy. I’m doing it a healthy way.”
Randy has reached his original goal weight, and now he has set a goal that will last a lifetime– maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will allow him to enjoy his family.
“My goal was 220, because that’s what I weighed when I got married 30 years ago. But I told my wife I wanted to give her back her husband,” Randy said. “I don’t really care what I look like or what the scale says. I care that I’m going to live a long life so I can spend more time with my family every chance I get.”