Following my decision to leave football I was left with a new sense of identity. I had the feeling I had made my first real choice in my life. It was not one based on the expectations of others, but one that was focused on my own aspirations. In a life where I felt I had made more bad decisions than good ones, it was time to start turning things around.
During my time in community college, I had taken an introductory economics course on a fluke, & found myself interested in the idea of perusing a degree in business management. I figured if there was anything I could set as a new goal in life it would be to receive a degree that had real value once I finished school. I just needed to find a school to attend in order to achieve that goal.
Although I had limited time before the Fall Semester began, it was an easy decision for me to send out an application to enroll back at West Virginia University. It was the only application I had even sent out. All my old friends were there, tuition was reasonable, & the state of West Virginia itself as attracted me. It was incredibly beautiful. I found out within two weeks that I had been accepted and began to prepare my things to go back to my old apartment in Morgantown.
At this point in time, I was home in Chicago over the summer once I had left Cincinnati. I still had a massive frame pushing 290lbs., a physique that I spent that past two years dedicating my life to achieve, but in the back of my mind, never wanted. I was set on losing the weight well before my football days had come to an end & this was my first opportunity. I had around a month before school started to begin losing weight & establish some sort of routine.
The first diet plan was more like a rough draft. Eat less, exercise more. Each morning was spent in the gym, & each night was spent with layers of old thrift store sweatshirts piled on top of each other in a small laundry room on a 1980's treadmill. The space was so crammed that I could only walk on the left side of the treadmill while it was on incline, or else I would hit my head off of the single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling just inches away from my face.
That whole month before school, I kept my nose to the grindstone. I stayed away from the scale & trusted the math behind the plan. I was sure that eating less & exercising more would provide the weight loss I was looking for. It soon became a struggle to keep my shorts around my waist because they were so oversized. Although, I didn't really take a lot of notice to my initial weight loss, many did when I returned back to WVU.