Change is complicated. Change is scary. Change is messy.

It’s something that I’ve had to face recently, in a number of areas. Both mentally and physically, I’ve had to change to be a better me.

So here I am- I’m now 100 pounds lighter, moving to a country across an ocean, and having to find out about myself through just doing it. I’m excited. It’s bettering me in the best ways, and I’m excited to share this.

This all started a little short of a year ago when I decided to move away from everyone and everything I found comfortable to take a new position in Madison, WI. That moment of confidence has started most of the change I see in myself, and I owe much to who I am now to Madison- the people, the culture, the city, all of it has bettered me.

The start of all of my change came down to changing how I perceived myself. The easiest thing to change was my weight- that’s one of the things I had real control over, something I can make a quick dent in.

A weight off my back.

My weight has always been a pain point for me. Right after high school, I dealt with the “Freshman Fifteen”, but mine was closer to “Freshman Fifty” and never really lost that weight until the past few weeks.

Fast forward a few years, I ended up bloating upwards, reaching nearly 300 pounds. It was a shock to see my weight when I came back to home in Indianapolis in December 2016. I decided things had to change a month later. I started cold turkey, didn’t tell a soul, and just started doing it.

It wasn’t easy. Anyone who tells you losing weight is easy is lying to you, as you must forgo a lot to drop the weight you’ve accumulated over years of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. It takes motivation and strength to deal with not giving into the habits you’ve built up. But anyone who does it deserves praise. Not hostility - tell them good work. That sort of comment only helps them move forward, keeps them moving forward in life. And thankfully, that’s all I’ve had around me. The people around me have been nothing but supportive on the first degree.

The first time anyone noticed was when my parents came up to Madison for my birthday, and they were extraordinarily supportive, as they always have. The injection of support gave me the strength to continue doing it.

So that leads to yesterday, as I finally hit 100 pounds down. I don’t know how I feel about where I am just yet, but I feel so much better than I was. I can walk around without losing my breath, and I feel so much happier with who I am.

That’s not to say I’m overly confident with my self-image, but years of obesity can do that to a person. It’s something I deal with on a daily basis. But the confidence I gained during the weight loss allowed me to seize opportunities I wouldn’t imagine myself in previously.

One of those opportunities was to help start my company’s new office in London, and not the Canadian one.

Moving (Again).

Less than a year after moving to Madison, I found myself staring at another move. This time, instead of a 6-hour drive from home, I’m an 8-hour flight from home, an ocean away. Once the opportunity was offered, I couldn’t say no.

Why would one say no to an opportunity on this scale? Given I had little tying me to Madison beyond work and friends, I realized that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I took it the moment I was offered it.

After accepting it, I began to reflect on my time in Madison, as I hadn’t fully appreciated my experiences in the city. When thinking back, Madison was one of the best things to happen to me- the city gave me the confidence to change who I was, how I acted, and most importantly, how I perceived myself.

The city exudes an aura of hospitality and activity, although that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who knows the city. Home of the Badgers, the city is an oversized college town (and that’s not a bad thing). Students stay busy, and it’s the most physically active city I know. Everyone here loves to swim (as one should, being near two lakes) or being near water, there are always people riding bikes or walking, and there is an abundance of hiking trails. This all leads to a city that inspired me to lose the weight I struggled to lose in Indianapolis.

That’s not to say that moving was easy, especially since I was moving far away from anyone or anything I found familiar. I had to forge new relationships with people, start finding my niche, and it was difficult, especially since I moved in the winter when most individuals stay inside during the season.

Once spring rolled around, things turned around, and I started to feel better about staying in the city, but a few weeks into summer, I was offered to go to London.

That was around 4 months ago, and I finished up my first stint in London a few weeks ago.

London is special. There are faults, as with any city, but in general, it’s a beautiful, lively, and accommodating city. People are active, hospitable, and warm. The city offers almost anything you could want (beyond a good BBQ or wing joint) and always has something going on.

London is grey, but it doesn’t stop the bustle and everything keeps on working as normal. It’s what I want in a city- it is accessible and active. I’m ready to make the long-term commitment to the city and move there.

The work itself is a great opportunity, no doubt, so I am ready to seize that opportunity and prove myself to everyone that I was the right choice to be the opener of the new office. I owe this chance to my employer, and I want to repay their faith in spades.

Seizing this opportunity has changed me, as I’ve realized I’m doing things and learning from them instead of sitting by and letting opportunities come to me. In that, I’ve realized I’ve changed how I perceived myself.

Seizing Opportunities and Self Confidence.

As with most of this, the root of my self-discovery/change has been my weight loss. But I’ve found comfort and confidence in a number of ways, including photography (as shown above and below) and hiking. Sometimes even both!

I’ve found that I am confident in myself, allowing me to be a better employee and person. It is exhilarating to finally feel free from my only burdens of self-doubt and self-pity, and to finally feel free to be who I really am- someone that finds beauty in everyone, someone that will fight for others’ rights, and someone that loves all the strangest things, such as the WWE and corgi and Indianapolis.

In fact, I have finally gained enough confidence to get a tattoo of my home and wear it proudly. It’s something that the previous me would’ve never done.

Moving on.

In short, I’ve changed. I’ve become a better me. I’m moving on from the past me, and I’m finally freeing myself of my own machinations.

I hope you all will join me on with this journey, and ask me questions. Find me, talk to me, and challenge me. Make me think, and make me rethink things, as that’s how we all grow.

I’m no longer the “no fun” Lucas.

I’m now just Lucas.