Today…. Today I took my shirt off at the beach. Yes, it’s the first time I’ve ever walked up and down the beach topless. Who cares right?? I know… But I bet more people than you’ll ever dream. Many people would rather get electrocuted than be seen in a swimsuit without cover. How do I know?? One, I’m one of those people. Two, I know the body issues and the self-doubt a lot of people have. I know because I get endless phone calls from people who have been made fun of because of their body. Or someone during their life made a negative comment about them and that comment is on repeat every single day…

I’m well aware that my body type is not one that most people want to see too much of, but you know what? It really doesn’t matter. A body is a body. Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. There truly is beauty in every body type. It’s also too bad that we are bombarded with the way we “should look” based on what we read, watch, and see all the time. We should be looking at the beauty within who we are and what we look like rather than comparing ourselves to how others view us. But what do I know? I’m just a guy who was made fun of for being overweight my entire life. I was the guy that didn’t say much. I was the guy that people blamed their farts on just because they thought it was funny. I’m also the guy that looks like I’m overweight and obese even though I can physically outwork most of the people on this planet… But because of my extra skin, I have this huge mental block about what I look like. I instantly watch other people’s eyes to make sure they aren’t laughing at me. I’m always waiting for that person to say something to me about being disgusting when I take my shirt off in the locker room or the beach…

It’s not the best feeling in the world to always be filled with the insecurities of what I look like and what other people are thinking of me. I know, it’s really a stupid thing to worry about. I work every day to get past what I think other people are thinking and saying about me. But, it isn’t something that goes away easy (or ever?…). And I used to think this was a feeling that only a few people had. For a long time I believed that it was only overweight people that had this struggle. What I have found is just the opposite. It’s skinny people too. Its short people, tall people, big people, small people, and even “normal” people… At some point we have to face our insecurities and self-doubt because if you don’t, it will eat us alive… and for many people, that is exactly what is happening…

So what did I learn that can maybe help you work toward overcoming your fears and insecurities of what other people are thinking (or your perception of what others are thinking)?

  1. Who cares??!! I know, this seems easier said than done… But I’m serious. This one took me a long long time to work out in my own head. For me, it’s not just about looks. It’s about my entire life. People have huge misconceptions of who I am, what I’ve done, and what actions I’ve taken (or not taken), and I have lost pretty much everything because of how other people view me… If most people tried to walk in my shoes every day, they might get to see what it’s really like to completely change your life. They would see everything my life change has cost me. They would see why I’m ruthless in my thoughts, actions, and persistence. I might be viewed as a complete jerk that has left everything behind… But, unfortunately, that’s what it takes. You have to be willing to give up the excess weight (no pun intended) so you can be lighter, move faster, and find & create more opportunities to move you forward. Sometimes this means not only leaving behind who you were but people that weigh you down too…
  2. Do it anyway. You have to do what is best for you. You have to create your own freedom. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you or thinks less of you because of your actions (or inactions) you have to do what is best for you. If it is walking down the beach in your favorite swimsuit, do it. Flaunt it and feel good about who you are today while you are working to become the person you want to be tomorrow. If you have a business idea, work your tail off to make it happen. The people who are going to discourage you are the people who are miserable and didn’t have the courage to pursue their own goals and dreams. Don’t let someone else dim your light. Go after what you want with courage and massive persistent action. Don’t look back and don’t listen to the naysayers… They don’t know what it is like to be you. YOU are the ONLY person that can be YOU, so you might as well do what makes YOU happy.
  3. You are going to encounter resistance, failure, and the universe will only reward you after you have proven you are worthy of receiving what you want. When you run into adversity, keep working your tail off. Don’t listen to those who say it can’t be done. Ignore all the people who say it’s impossible. Don’t believe it when people say it’s ok to be comfortable and to just accept where you are. You are worth everything you want… IF…. You are willing to dream a little bigger, plan a little better, take all the massive action you think it will take (AND MORE ACTION WILL ALWAYS BE NEEDED TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU WANT!!!!) and you will need to be more persistent than you will can ever dream. It is only after you have become the person capable and worthy of your goal that the universe will allow you to achieve your goal. There are ZERO shortcuts to your goals. Don’t B.S. yourself and think you can get there faster or buy your way to the top. The only currency the universe accepts is blood, sweat, tears, and time. Lots and lots of time.

Today, today I walked on the beach without a shirt on. It was one of the most liberating feelings I’ve ever felt. The symbolism I felt on the beach, in my skin, in my mind, and in the mirror (pictures)…

I realized something. For the first time in my life, I’m me. I don’t have an alter ego or a nickname that I have based my personality on. I’m not Cream Puff. I’m not Haus. I’m not Billy Bob.

I’m Gary Stotler. Run Epic is a part of Gary Stotler, but Run Epic is being built around me. I am not trying to build me off what other people think I should be. I no longer care what other people think I should or shouldn’t be doing…

I am not trying to look like a model, professional athlete, or movie star. (I still claim the fact that Chris Pratt looks like me, not the other way around… haha) But either way this is completely coincidental… 😉

The liberating feeling I got from walking down the beach without a shirt is something I can’t explain. It’s a feeling I couldn’t purchase with money.

The feeling I got was my reward for my hard work on my body. The relentless effort to work on myself mentally and to understand myself, what I’ve been through, and where I’m going. For the last couple years of not understanding what I was doing, feeling, the deep bouts of depression, the misunderstanding and confusion of the actions I was taking, and the feeling that I was spinning out of control with no way to regain control of what I was doing… Slowly, I am figuring out what I have been through. Every day I learn something new and understand a little bit more about how I have changed. One day I hope I can fully explain what happened and I want to be able to help others through their own life transformations so they don’t have to experience the depths of hell I have had to experience myself…

Every day I talk to someone new who is starting their journey to a new life. I am fortunate enough to help people who are having a tough time working through their own struggles and pitfalls. And more and more I get to help people celebrate the success of going through hell and coming out the other side. They have burns and bruises… but they survived! And when we can go to the depths of hell and come out swinging, we get to experience something only a small percent get to. Like a Phoenix burning into ashes and being reborn into something more beautiful…

We get a rebirth. A rebirth gives breath. Breath gives us life. When we get to create our new life we get to live the future we desire.

When I get to share in loses, we work together to get through the adversities. When we get to share your wins, we both win. When you win, it makes everything I’ve ever given up worth it.

“Winning takes care of everything.” Tiger Woods

I don’t like to lose but I am no longer trying to avoid losing…

I’m here to win and I hope you’re ready to win too.

Gary Stotler


Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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  1. Excellent post, Gary! You look amazing and show a lot of fitness, confidence, hard work and a great smile. All the pics are wonderful. I really like in one of your last paragraphs, you write, “We get a rebirth. A rebirth gives breath. Breath gives us life…” This is so meaningful considering Spring is about to begin this week, AND it is almost Easter. It is the season of rebirth. And, it really is about rebirth in order to really live life and you are understanding this concept so much. Very proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Gaby! I really appreciate your kind words and positivity as always. 2018 has been a year of giving and I have received the rebirth in life, in my spirit and I have a level of Joy I haven’t had in years. I can’t wait to see where 2018 takes all of us!


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