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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



The Curious Case of Casey Malone

(posted by guest-blogger Casey Malone)

If you could go back to being 21, with what you know now, what could you do? What would you be willing to do to get that chance?

Fans of the Biggest Loser know what a real age wake up call is.  You can get your own here.

This segment of the show begins with Dr. Huizenga reading a list of risk factors that put the contestants at higher risk of death.  The contestants nod along but aren’t sincerely moved.  Then Dr. H might run his hand through that beautiful mane before saying, “let’s take a look at your real internal age.”

We find that the 45 year old mother of 3 actually has a real age of 72. Or we may see that the teenage boy is actually 40 years old on the inside. Without fail, this brings the contestants (and my wife) to tears.

What does Dr. H mean when he says that the 45 year old has a real age of 72?  He means that she has the mortality of a normal 72 year old.  A healthy 72 year old woman can expect to live for about 16 years.  The same thing can be said of the 45 year old woman on the Biggest Loser.  That is, we can only expect her to live to 61.  The 45 year old woman had never faced the reality of being that close to death.

When Dr. H delivered her real age, he was simply and succinctly repeating the exact same information that was on her list of risk factors.  Hearing all of the things that we should be doing better for our health might as well be the whirring of the air conditioning.  We’ve trained ourselves to tune it out.

But an assault on our age is a complete shock to the system.  It reveals this paradox.  You have plenty of time to do something about it, but only if you do something about it.

At the end of 2004, I was 35 lbs overweight, a heavy drinker, a moderate to heavy smoker and in the middle of a divorce from my first wife.  I was beginning to have regular epileptic seizures.  Oh, and I thought I was 25 years old.

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By the end of 2005, I had lost the 35 lbs through diet and strength training (cosmetic fitness), began treating my epilepsy effectively, and was beginning a relationship with a girl I had met in November (her name was Emily). I was still a heavy drinker and smoker, and my finances had started to take a dive. I thought I was 26.

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By the end of 2006, my relationship with the previously mentioned girl continued to solidify. However, I was still a heavy drinker and smoker, and my finances were still in free fall. I thought I was 27.

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By the end of 2007, I was a former smoker and I’d added distance running to my fitness regimen. Who got me into the running? My new roommate, Emily. I began a plan to completely retire my debt and create savings. I thought I was 28.

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2008 would be the most transformative year of my life. In 2008, I ran 2 marathons, got engaged, and quit drinking (along with the dangerous behavior that accompanies it). I finished paying my debt. I thought I was 29.

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In 2009, I got married and ran 3 marathons. I quit eating meat. I became a slow driver who very nearly never uses a cell phone. I began building savings while paying for two people in college, most of our wedding, and a long distance move. At the end of the year, I thought I was 30.

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I set up real age tests for the 6 men listed above (myself in 2004-2009). It takes into account not only physical, but relationship and financial stress as well.

Here are the results.

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When I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a movie about a man born into the degenerated body of a dying man who physically grew younger with time, I said to Emily afterwards, “that’s how I’ve felt for the last couple of years.”

In the previous 5 years, I have gotten 14 years younger.  If I hadn’t turned things around beginning in 2005, I’d have a real age of over 40 today, which is fine if you were born in 1969, but I was born in 1979.

A healthy 21 year old male can expect to live another 58 years or so.  For a 40 year old male, expect another 41 years.  So today, I
can expect to live to 88 instead of 71.

For people who ask me why I do what I do, all that I do, and never cheat.  It’s about much more than the extra years.  I’m not scared to chase my dreams now because 21 year olds aren’t supposed to have that fear.  I’m not afraid to sound ridiculous by saying cliché things like “chase my dreams.”  Twenty one year olds don’t care about sounding ridiculous.

Maybe I’ll get older in 2010.  Time eventually wins.  But time doesn’t scare me. Twenty one year olds aren’t scared of that either.

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40 Comments so far
Leave a comment

vanillavivante     at 3:24 pm

This is such an amazing post!! I loved reading about your transformation. My boyfriend had a similar turnaround in years 28–30, going from a heavy-drinking meat-eater to a vegan who rides his bike to work, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

That is awesome! I love hearing that other people have had a similar experience. It is crazy to think how different our lives are now than what they were just a few short years ago. :)

[Reply]

Shannon, Tropical Eats     at 11:07 am

Very original and all around awesome post!!!

I love how you wrap it up with “Time eventually wins. But time doesn’t scare me.” It’s now time to get my 22 year old butt in gear! Thank you for this post :)

[Reply]

Sarah     at 11:38 am

This is such a great post. Casey is a wonderful writer and I enjoyed his perspective on age, health, and relationships.

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Jaime     at 12:13 pm

Excellent post! You’re both inspirational.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you!

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Sheila Viers | Live Well 360     at 1:39 pm

LOVE. IT. Congrats Casey. It’s so awesome to have a partner who is on a path of transformation, just as you are. I mean we all are to some extent, but sometimes one person isn’t into challenge, growth, and health as much as the other.

My husband had a similar change in health and really, self-appreciation. His before and after pictures are pretty drastic (100 lb weight loss), I barely recognize the “before” him.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it on your blog before, but I’m just so proud of him. :-)

Here’s the link if you are interested in checking out his story: http://livewell360.com/2009/01/my-story-fatboy-slim-part-1/

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

That is awesome Sheila! What a wonderful story. :) I know how you feel, I am proud every day!

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Rachel @ FitFunandFabulous     at 2:59 pm

Wonderful post!

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Jillian@ ReshapeYourLife     at 9:54 pm

I have started making healthy changes to my life and I hope to make many more, but I really wish I could get my boyfriend to take interest in getting healthier… He’s a heavy drinker, meat eater and occasional smoker who is rarely active.

Thanks for sharing your story! It is so inspiring to see men make these huge changes as well! And it was a slow change so it helps me stay focused on my goals and realize that it’s ok to take your time.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

It’s definitely more rare to find men make huge changes like this, especially the quitting drinking part. Good luck to you and your boyfriend! :) If you take your time, you’re doing it right.

[Reply]

Jen @ Taste Life     at 1:14 pm

This post is awesome. Nothing else needs to be said :)

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Nicole @ yuppie yogini     at 2:14 pm

Very well written and insightful! Makes me realize that we reach a point where we must accept responsibility for our lives. The point at which this happens varies from person to person and the hope is that there is as little irreversible damage as possible! Thanks for sharing Casey!

[Reply]

Peter     at 2:38 pm

outstanding post.

[Reply]

Emily     at 4:59 pm

WOW

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Kate     at 5:48 pm

This is honestly one of the best healthy living blog posts I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome! I will pass that along to Casey. :)

[Reply]

Veggie Bee » Blog Archive » Link Roundup     at 3:45 pm

[...] The Curious Case of Casey Malone [...]

Meghan     at 10:36 am

Wow just read this post and it’s amazing and inspiring. :)

[Reply]

Kaitlin     at 9:51 pm

This is amazing and inspiring because I AM 21. To think about the positive effects of all of my life changes over the past year is amazing, and very analytical when looking at the ‘Real Age’ calculations. Thanks, Casey and Emily and congrats on your healthy choices :)

[Reply]

suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic]     at 11:26 pm

Just caught up on this post. Very inspirational! That makes for a great resolution – to end my year a year younger. :)

[Reply]

Hwasun     at 5:48 am

Just read this post. This is truly amazing and moving. Thanks for sharing with us.

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crista     at 4:54 am

awesome post, awesome story. Thanks for sharing :)

[Reply]

The 7 Links of Daily Garnish. | Daily Garnish     at 10:04 am

[...] The Curious Case of Casey Malone [...]

Kristine @ Running On Hungry     at 11:43 am

Just linked to this from your 7 Links Post… and WOW! What a great story/transformation! (And Casey, like yourself has a great “voice” for writing!)

[Reply]

Katie @ Healthy Heddleston     at 12:41 pm

I’m so glad you linked this post in your 7 links Emily — this is truly truly so so wonderful. Very eye opening and honest. Thanks Casey!

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Danielle     at 12:54 pm

What a great post! Definitely beautiful, thanks for sharing in your 7 links for some of us ‘new’ to the blog!

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Jennie     at 1:25 pm

Just read this from your 7 links and I am blown away. What an incredible post! I loved it.

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Belinda     at 2:54 pm

Also got here through your 7 Links post, and it is refreshing to know that you guys really made some serious life changes to get where you are today. As a newer reader I just kinda assumed you had always been eating tofu, running a million miles, in great shape, etc. Can’t wait to go back and read more of your old stuff too! DG is my must-read blog these days.

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Kate     at 3:25 pm

I came here from the 7 links post too and like everyone else, I am stunned!
Honestly, I thought that Casey was just one of those people who had been into healthy living his whole life. He certainly looks like it. It is incredible to see what eating cleanly and exercising can transform into.

[Reply]

Kristen     at 11:55 pm

Thanks for linking to this post. I love your blog, Emily. I identify with Casey’s journey for another reason than most – Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who was ever divorced at 20-something. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but it’s nice to see that the second time can be so good.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

In our case, the second time is much better! Better to end something early when you know it’s not right.

[Reply]

Marty     at 2:50 pm

Wow, I’m impressed and shocked too! I thought Casey was always fit and healthy. I think meeting Emily might have made a big difference in his life? What a great story! I’m just getting thru the 7 links too, some I’ve read previously and others I’ve not because I’m fairly new. DG is one of my fav daily reads too! Now only if you’d venture more into GF baking I’d be in heaven Emily!

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Kim     at 9:33 am

wow, I love this post. I came here from the 7 links post, and I honestly thought Casey was always healthy and fit. This just goes to show that there is always an opportunity to turn your life around. So often I see people go in the opposite direction as they age (especially my fiance– maybe he should read this?!) so I’m glad to see that he was able to take control of his life :) One of my favorite posts!

[Reply]

Lea @ Healthy Coconu     at 11:32 am

I am just reading this post today.

I’m newlywed and my husband who loves to dive has a very active lifestyle and looks much younger than his calendar age :) It’s due to being happy with his job, active lifestyle and semi-healthy diet. I am working on the diet part.

I love this post and want to share it with him. Thanks.

[Reply]

Kristin     at 9:10 pm

I absolutely love this post!

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jessica kiehn     at 1:24 pm

This is so, so cool. My husband and I have a sort of similar story. Life can be so, so amazing. Isn’t it weird that you get flack and given a hard time now and then for making the hard (but right) decisions to bless your body and your life?!
This story of transformation is awesome. May it always be so and may the truth and your purpose in life as a husband, dad, and man carry you through living this way till the end of time.
It’s Not a phase, it’s A LIFE!

[Reply]

Stacey     at 5:15 pm

Was wondering what ancestry you and Casey both have? you make an amazing couple and always encourage each other.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

He is Irish and I am mostly German!

[Reply]

Elena     at 8:52 am

I loved the post..And i am getting more inspiration from people like you two..I have already changed many things about myself and i have become vegetarian like a month ago and i am really happy to find more people who likes challenges and changes :D

[Reply]

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