As our Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, Stu leads the team at MOBE who encourage people to work with a MOBE Guide. That means he hears a lot of the “aha moments”—the triggering factor or event that leads a person to call MOBE. They’re ready to make changes that will impact his or her life, health and happiness. “Everyone has a story,” Stu says—and his own took place long before he joined MOBE.
“I was about 270-pounds,” he shares. “I was very much depressed, not eating right and not exercising. The result was pain in my knees, herniated discs, and a lot of visits to my doctor.” He’d accepted the fact that his life would be filled with pain, specialists, treatments and medications.
Then, something happened that changed his outlook. But it didn’t happen to him. The moment that set him on a new path was his wife’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
When his wife Dania was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he saw someone with every excuse to throw in the towel and stop exercising. But instead of doing that, she went to the gym more. She ate better. “Here she was focusing on what she could do,” Stu says, “and I was relying more and more on the health system, while becoming more and more overweight.” Meanwhile, Stu’s doctor said, “I’ll keep writing you prescriptions and keep giving shots in your back every three months, but you’ve got to fix yourself. This is not a medical thing. This is a you thing.”
The guy who owned a bar and went through boxes of chicken fingers like candy decided he needed to be a better self-manager. If not for himself, then for his family and his wife. But there wasn’t a service like MOBE to help him. He had to figure out a way to do it on his own.
He put himself on a plan and started with simple walks. Then he decided to try 5Ks. Then, for three years in a row, he did the 50-mile walk to raise money for MS. Next, he started biking, which led to the MS150 bike ride. As he lost weight, the pressure on his back and knees eased and he had less pain. Stu was surprised when his doctor confirmed the herniated discs were still there—but his body was feeling better because of the increased activity and movement. It was motivation to continue the path he’d started.
He’s the first to admit it wasn’t an overnight process but a steady transition. Since that “aha” moment over ten years ago, he’s run four marathons and completed three Iron Mans (which involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon all in under 17 hours). But Stu insists he’s not a finished product. His journey continues to evolve as he studies nutrition and the impact of food on the body. “I’m still very much in a self-management process,” he says. “I might be in a state of balance, but I’m not done.”
When working with his engagement team at MOBE, Stu reminds them that everyone has a unique journey. “I like to say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ and I show them the photos of me at my heaviest. There was a point in my life when I decided to make a change, and we all have a moment like that.”
There’s another saying Stu likes to share and it’s the famous quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Building on his own experience and the work he does at MOBE, Stu’s determined to help more people discover that when it comes to making changes for the better, everyone can.