How Joe Got His Life Back

Meet Joe Ostaszewski. You might recognize his name from The Biggest Loser Season 14. By the start of the show, Joe had packed on 150 pounds since his days as a player for the NFL.


mountain trail, man standing by bike, red shirt, helmet, biking shorts, gloves

Joe realized being morbidly obese was not the person he wanted to be. He lost the weight, gained self-respect and is now pursuing his own dreams.


Through The Biggest Loser, he lost the weight that made him morbidly obese and found his passion for living. He also found self-respect in a way he didn’t have, he couldn’t have, when he tipped the scales at 364.

How did he lose the weight and gain the self-respect? He remained committed to losing the weight by working at it every day. He stayed dedicated to his new way of life even in the face of opposition – his body wanted to continue to be overweight. (This is common in people who have been overweight most of their lives.)

He did it by acting with respect for himself.

“You have to feel why you’re doing it and know why you’re doing it, because you’re not going to see the results of respecting your body as where your soul lives for a long time,” Joe explains. “You have to get your body, your spirit and your mind — all three — aligned in working toward the goal of changing your life. That’s when you start to believe that you can do it.”

What Joe Learned

What did Joe learn while getting his life back on track?

He learned that making the necessary changes is hard. “To respect yourself you have to believe in yourself. People lose that belief. Breaking that pattern is hard. The key is to believe in yourself and that you can do it,” says Joe.

“You can’t just be perfect all of the time.

You have to practice at being perfect all of the time.”

~ Joe Ostaszewski

Self-respect means to honor yourself as a person and to make choices that give you the best quality of life, without regard for your external circumstances — wealth, social status or accomplishments.

You disrespect yourself when you fail to make the best choices for you. Joe failed to make the best choices for himself by eating too much and exercising too little.

Your own form of self-disrespect may be something completely different from Joe’s. There are many forms of self-disrespect. Here are a few:

  • Relying on others for your own happiness.
  • Doubting your choices.
  • Pursuing someone else’s dreams for you, not your own.
  • Ignoring constructive criticism as a guide to improvement.
  • Refusing to accept your whole self, the imperfect and the good-enough.
  • Failing to live your own values.

What’s Your Form of Self-Disrespect?

Whatever your own form of self-disrespect, you didn’t develop it overnight. Getting your life back on track, or getting there for the first time in your life, is not going to happen overnight either. It takes time. It starts with being your own best friend.

That means taking care of yourself – eating properly, exercising regularly, talking to yourself kindly and learning to do the opposite of whatever you’re doing now to disrespect yourself.

Joe’s got his life on a new track, one where he can help others discover what it means to have an abundant life, to live life passionately.

You can read more about Joe’s journey in  this article in the Saturday issue of the Tallahassee Democrat.

Life Is Honest, Open and True:  There are many ways to fail to respect yourself. Every form of self-disrepect develops over time, and can only be overcome over time, with commitment and dedication to living your life differently from your past.

In what way do you show disrespect to yourself? Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!

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