Winn Claybaugh

I love the beginning of a new season. It’s a time when many of us think about instituting positive changes in our lives.

It’s not as if we can’t decide to start all over in July and then reinvent ourselves again in November or any other month of the year. However, I used to notice that the gym was always packed on January 2, filled with people who suddenly decided it was time to get fit. But by the end of the month, that was no longer the case.

None of us would be where we are today, in terms of our happiness or success, if it weren’t for role models and examples who have guided us and shown us the way. We can’t learn everything through firsthand experience — it takes too long, and the pain and sacrifice to learn every lesson would be too great. A wise person learns from other people’s experiences.

I’ve been inspired by many mentors throughout my life. Last year my good friend Michael Galvin made the commitment to lose 50 pounds. He started exercising daily and following a healthy eating plan. Six months later, he had burned over a million calories, lowered his high blood pressure, lost 42 pounds, and reduced his body fat to 17 per cent.

Mary Burlingame, a friend whose job had her traveling three to four weeks a month, noticed that her airplane seat and seatbelt were getting tighter all the time. She lost an incredible 129 pounds over the course of a year by changing her lifestyle.