About Clay

Who Is Clay?

Often called a “sponge of useless knowledge” and once voted “Most Likely To Become a Jeopardy! Grand Champion”, I was born with the work ethic of a 1940’s Steelworker and the attention span of a gnat on Red Bull.  Raised in the moderately peeved streets of Metro Detroit (with a brief two year bid in Clearwater, Florida), I lived the nomadic childhood that would see me attending 13 different schools from Kindergarten through graduation.  While few children thrive in that environment, I came through it proud of the fact that I was able to accumulate an alma mater that reads like a grocery list and volumes of yearbooks that featured nearly a 100% saturation of the autograph “To a Cool Kid I met this year.”

After multiple audibles in choosing a career path, I’d eventually settle on the road that I was inspired to follow after a 6th Grade Career Day — Broadcasting.  I spent four years “Rockin’ The Docks” & “Shakin’ The Lakes” at a Northern Michigan rock station before electing to abandon the nomadic existence that is terrestrial radio and return to Metro Detroit.  I’d spend next 15 years moving in and out of different industries from Corporate Training to Production Supervision, Marketing to Accounts Receivable Management, but never settled on the identity that I was looking for.

Soon after my return from the adventures in the “thumb area” of Michigan, I met my wife and started the family that would be the motivation to the next and greatest journey of his life.

What Happened Next?

In 2006, after returning from our first family trip to Disney World, I’d see something that would change my life forever.

The picture.

Disney 2006

The picture that changed my life with the reasons why (04/2006)

My daughters, six and four at the time, riding the teacup ride at Disney with someone… someTHING… that I didn’t even recognize.  “My Teacup Runneth Over” picture, as I’d come to call it, showed a man slowly dieing that didn’t even know it.  Side-by-side with the two people who loved me more than anyone else ever will.

Who was that guy?

I’d always been a big guy.  Heck, I’d spent a lot of time a legitimate fat guy.  But not THIS.  Not this guy.  I was killing myself.  Not in the quick and painless way.  In the slow and pathetic way.

Doctors appointments and the inevitable diagnosis and stats would follow.

High blood pressure.

Fatty liver.

Pre-diabetic.

Kidneys were a mess.

And the one that was ironically the hardest to swallow… 428 pounds.

Seven years earlier, just before my wedding and the last time I’d stepped on a scale, I was 309 pounds.  I knew I’d put on weight, but I didn’t realize I had gained a Super Model and a half.

Something had to change… and quick.

What’d You Do?

With the love and support of an amazing wife and the ultimate motivation sleeping in the next room, I committed to changing my life.

I committed to saving my life.

No surgery.  No gimmicks.  No shortcuts.

I was going to change my life physically and emotionally.  Figure out how I got there and how to keep from going back.  I had to fix the inside if I was going to have any hope of changing the outside.  What was inside of me is what got me there and it was the only thing that was going to get me out.

I started in my head and worked my way down.

I changed my thoughts.  I changed my habits.  I changed my motivation.  And, eventually, I changed from that sad, sad guy in the teacup.

I rediscovered my faith and let it guide me back to person that I knew I could be.

Did You Make It?

Disney 2012

Same Guy. Same Motivation. (04/2012)

When you go on a journey like the one I’ve been on, there really isn’t a finish line.  It’s more like those old school arcade racing games where you’d get “extra time” if you hit the checkpoints before the clock expires.

Physically – I struggled.  I hit plateaus.  I hurt.  I gained and lost.

Mentally – I struggled.  I hit plateaus.  I hurt.  I gained and lost.

Emotionally – I struggled.  I hit plateaus.  I hurt.  I gained and lost.

Spiritually – I struggled.  I hit plateaus.  I hurt.  I gained and lost.

I went into the whole thing with one goal… but came out the other side with a completely different result.

Physically – I’m half the man I use to be.  Over the past six years I’ve lost over 200 pounds.  226 to be exact from the highest point to the lowest.  It’s a work in progress.  It’s a daily grind.  But, I’m finally at a place where I feel like I’m in control.

Mentally… Emotionally… Spiritually… I’m twice the man I ever was.  Still a work in progress as well.  Also have high and low points.  But unlike the physical, I realize that not everything is under my control.

I guess being both half and twice as much as the guy in that teacup, in the end, makes me whole again.

What is Remodeling Clay?

Remodeling Clay is a place to capture the day-to-day quest to make sense of where I’ve been and where I’m going.  There’s only one ultimate finish line, but the checkpoints along the way are worth celebrating.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://remodelingclay.com/aboutclay/

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  1. Lynda Lockhart

    Clay, you could inspire many. I too, am at my highest weight ever. Thanks to Toby I was able to read this. God bless you and you have a wonderful family to support you.

  2. Lauren Camilleri

    This is a great blog, Clay! I’m hooked 🙂

    1. Clay

      Thanks, Lauren! If I ever decide to retell some of the TEG stories, I promise to change your name… 😉

  3. Larry Poole

    Wow Clay! I got chill bumps reading your “About Me” page.

    Great job. Love the pictures. It motivates me to lose the extra lbs. that I’ve needed to lose for quite some time.

    Thanks for being transparent.

    1. Clay

      Thanks, Larry!

      Appreciate it!

      Let me know if I can help in any way.

  4. Scott Cuzzo

    Downloaded the Casey Lewis podcast for later…but really connected with your story here on your “about” page. Well done, and thanks a ton for sharing. I needed to hear it.

    1. Clay

      Thanks, Scott!!!

      I’m so glad to hear you connected with it. With years in the rearview, I sometimes see those pictures and can’t connect with the guy in the teacup with the little girls. Then… I see my “Tween” daughters… and I remember that everything it meant back then… still rings loudly today.

      Please connect with me if there’s anything I can do for you.

  5. Scott Cuzzo

    I was just at Disneyland….and dreaded my photos. I’ll get there, your story helped.

    1. Clay

      You know, Scott… I avoided the camera for so many years for just that reason. I finally started “allowing” it more because of the kids. It was still real tough at the beginning.

      One thing I can say… look at the bad ones. Look long. Look hard. Then remind yourself that these can be the BEFORE pictures. These can be the ones you look back at some day and say, “I don’t even recognize that dude.”

      BTW – If you have a few extra minutes… i dig a little deeper on my “Origin Story” in Ep #001 of the podcast. #002 is very health and weight loss centric as well.

  6. Indian

    Wowza, problem solved like it never hadenpep.

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    A homebody. Moody, but extremely loving. Loyal and faithful to the end, usually to one favorite master/owner. Very particular, and doesn’t like change. (Likes consistency when it comes to their brand of food, where items are placed, what time their walks and meals take place, and so on.) Cancerian canines are highly intuitive, and may seem even “human-like’ in many ways, as they are very perceptive to their owner’s moods and feelings. This dog requires much attention, but will reward you with as much in return.

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    Shiver me timbers, them’s some great information.

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    Jacquie on October 8, 2012 Thanks for this Vicky. Am finally taking the plunge myself. Tried doing it alone with a template (am probably one of those “pick your brain” messages you rightly ignored!), but gave up and and now have someone designing it for me. David from Cognite offers very reasonable packages, for anyone interested. So far it’s been a great experience. Thanks Vicky for the tips and inspiration. Will let you know when it’s up. X

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