• Penn Vieau

The Journey

While we may feel as though our lives are pretty mundane, the truth is that humans are ever-evolving; we're always experiencing different things that change who we are and alter our day-to-day lives. And while there's no denying that things like losing a loved one, getting married, and starting a family are big deals, losing weight can being extremely impactful.

For those of you who do not know I lost the same 50 pounds in my life twice. My story is not one of overnight success. I didn’t take a magic pill. My results were not from a fad diet nor a product from an infomercial. My journey has been interesting and eventually leading to more than I ever expected to gain (no pun intended).

As a child, I was a “bit husky” to say the least. In the 5th grade, I was 5 feet tall and weighed 135 pounds. This was challenging. At that age I had a ton of energy and although not as quick on the playground, I could definitely keep up with the rest of the group. Kickball, flag football, soccer, baseball… I was able to do it all. I wasn’t the first pick and I certainly was not last. One thing that always remained was the stigma of the kid with the big belly. It did not wiggle or giggle… it simply existed. I was referred to as “tub of lard, fatso, chunk, etc.” It was confusing because even though I was overweight, I felt like I was keeping up; however, my peers thought it was best to provide me with a showering of inappropriate comments.

It hit home most in the 4th grade when we were practicing our vocabulary. The word was DEVOUR, and when a fellow student was asked to use it in a sentence... He said, “Penn always devours his food,” and laughed. The rest of the students did the same and for some reason my 4th grade teacher, who was awesome, chose not to intervene. That reinforced the message that I was overweight and had a problem.

Oh wait, it gets better. One year later, I am in the 5th grade attending a Boy Scout meeting in my relatively safe neighborhood in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. I was simply walking home from the troop meeting on a cold January night, and four other 7th & 8th graders decided it would be a good idea to get some exercise at my expense. While I am no stranger to pain, it is not cool when you are getting punched and kicked just for walking down the street as an overweight 5th grader.

Needless to say, I had countless sleepless nights and worry of what was going to happen next. This is where my faith and confidence emerged. By the grace of God, I grew an entire foot from 6th grade to 7th grade. Yes, I have been this tall since I was 13 years old.

Look out world, here I come. Now I am a force to be reckoned with on the athletic field. Suddenly, I am everyone's best friend. Funny how that works. There is no need to hold on to the past trying to seek revenge. Instead, I embraced the change and started to enjoy the many blessings in my life. Can you imagine… The short fat kid became the Class President and All State Football player?

I continued to keep the weight off until my late 20’s. While my career was taking off and I was

accomplishing my professional goals; I started to realize that I was not taking care of my physical health the way I should be. It did not happen overnight; however, I gradually went from weighing 200 pounds to 250 pounds. I grew up thinking as you gain weight, you simply purchase bigger pants. There is actually a better way.

Ten years ago, I was in my mid 30’s and realized it was time to make a change. I started eating whole foods, reducing my sugar intake, practicing yoga, riding my bike and jogging on a consistent basis. It was super challenging at first. I can definitely tell you that if you are going to make significant changes like this, you are going to have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

The good news is that I now weigh less than 200 pounds and I feel great. I definitely have more energy and confidence. This is just one component of my life; however, it is an important one.

If you are facing a goal that seems overwhelming, reach out to me. I know what it takes to achieve your personal and professional goals and I would truly enjoy being a part of your journey.


Penn Vieau  |  Leadership Expert - Speaker - Life Changing Coach  |  Madison, WI  |  |