How Healthy Saved My Life & How It Can Save Anyone

on July 28, 2015 Divorced Entrepreneur, Resilience - Growth & Strength and Tags: , , , , , with 0 comments
Here I lay paralyzed, with chest tube and many broken bones, concussion, internal bleeding, paralyzed….

Living healthy saved my life, and it’s done so on more than one occasion.

Take the blog heading picture above, for example – I was in bad, bad shape after I was taken off the flight-for-life helicopter and was awaiting another surgery. Unable to move my legs and with many broken ribs, split sternum, collapsed lung, internal bleeding, separated shoulder, and a concussion – I was a physical mess.

The only reason I survived the ordeal was because I was healthy before that traumatic incident.  But, let me back up a bit to the year 2009…… I was emotionally down with a divorce pending, my business was way down, and it seemed like the whole world was falling apart around me.

I’d been healthy before in my life, but as many of us do I’d relaxed into a “mid life” routine. That routine made a dozen years go by quickly.  That routine made me forget to take time for me, my health, my mind, my thoughts.

I definitely was not healthy back then. I was downright unhealthy.

That mid-life routine was an excuse. I let it win for a while. Unhealthy had negatively impacted every part of my life, not just my body. It had effected the emotional and mental aspects of me. It hurt my marriage, my family, my sons, my business, my friendships.

Stressed out, gaunt and uninspired, I decided one day to make a small change.

I decided to do something physical every day.

I’m not talking about deciding to become a world class athlete or training 4 hours per day or some crazy routine.  It all started with “do something”. Progress moved me upwards, off the bottom where I’d been laying, I mean, living.

So, I went to a gym and signed up.  I thought if I just went 3 times a week for a 30 minutes and walked the other days of the week I’d be good.  Which is what I did for about a month, then I wanted more.

I wanted more of that endorphin rush, more of the positive feelings post workout, more of the strength, more of the good food (because it made me feel even better). I wanted to be around more healthy people because they were happy, ambitious, and eager to live life.

So, then I hired a trainer, my coach. Jonathan Pope put me on 4 workouts a week plus some cardio. That was fine for about a month, then I wanted more.

You see, to me exercise is like meditation.  It clears my mind and lets me relax.  Yes, I said relax. Sure, lifting weights can be exhausting, but I’ve never walked out of the gym saying “I wish I hadn’t done that”. Never.  I always felt better after.

So, then Jon and I stepped it up.  I started intense training 6 days per week and on the 7th day I had active rest.  I changed the way I ate.  I dare call it a diet – it’s a meal plan. It helped me have more energy and rarely be sore.  I slept at least 7 hours per night. I drank plenty of water.

The net result is that I built the physique I’d always wanted and became physically strong. I gained muscle while losing fat.  A huge bonus: I was more present than ever (see last month’s blog on the topic presence).

The biggest benefits to truly being healthy were, by far, felt in the rest of my life:

  • My sons and I had some incredible experiences because we were closer than ever
  • My business began growing again
  • My friends invited me around more often, including travel
  • I could do so much more than I could do 10 years ago


Healthy got me out of that “middle-aged” rut. You see, healthy saved my life! Not physically this time, I’m talking emotionally and mentally.  Had I not chosen to strive for a healthy life, I don’t know where I’d be now but I do know that it’d wouldn’t be good.

One day at a time, I’d built a healthy BALANCE!

This meant healthy body, healthy mind, healthy outlook, healthy life. I looked younger, I felt younger, I acted younger.  You see, even before that fateful day when I crashed into the snowmaker, nearly dying: living healthy had already saved my life.  There’s no way I’d have survived that day on the slopes had I not been healthy; with certainty, the doctors told me I should have died.

In recovery, post crash, I had to start small again. Coach Jon limited me to range of motion exercises, (no weights) and stretching.  Then he put me on cardio, but no weights. Then, I finally began lifting weights again!  I remember him making me do a lot of pullups, too. Guess that was for the shoulder surgery recovery.

ResilienceGuy Bill Douglas doing first Tough Mudder 16 weeks after being paralized16 weeks after that crippling, near-death experience, I completed my first ToughMudder. Think about that: 16 weeks after that horrible day when I laid battered & bruised in a neck brace, I completed a 13 mile obstacle course. Proof again that tiny steps lead to big, audacious goals being met.

If you want to live healthier, I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.  Feel free to reach out. I’ve helped friends lose weight, colleagues gain weight (muscle, of course), family deal with  health issues, and everything else in between. I enjoy helping others, it’s one of my personal core values.

I suggest starting small. Tiny tweaks in your “diet” can spark tremendous changes in your life, which then increase your desire to exercise or your desire for anything. The converse is also true. It’s a wonderfully dynamic duo.

Healthy living creates a healthy mind.  A healthy mind is the basis for growth, success, happiness, and balance.

Again, please let me know if I can help you turn the tide in your life and begin a trend towards a healthy life. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy balance…. it’s truly being healthy.  There’s no sales pitch, no charge, no fee.  I want to help in any way I can. Call it “paying it forward”.

Healthy living saved my life, and it can save anyone’s life. 

~ bill

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