Losing a parent can be a traumatic experience for anyone, especially when the relationship was a very close one. When Mark Eisenhart’s father Bud passed away in 2009, he described the experience as one that “gutted him.” The man had beat cancer only to later succumb to liver disease.
“My dad was my best friend,” recalls an emotional Eisenhart, “my hero and my true north. His weight was cut in half and he became a prisoner in his own body.”
Although the debilitating illness was the reason for his father’s plight, Eisenhart had also become a prisoner in his own body, albeit due to being morbidly obese at 455 pounds and suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, PTSD and severe depression.
“My father did not let me down once in 40 years,” he says. “I made a promise to myself to not let HIM down ever again.”
A year later, Eisenhart had lost an astonishing 215 pounds without any surgical intervention and was able to say goodbye to all of the diseases – a medical miracle, if you will. Under the supervision of former IFBB pro bodybuilder Tom Terwilliger (his Achievement Mentor), coach Eric Broser, personal trainer Traci Lynn Cowan and nutritionist Andrea Nakayama, Eisenhart has been able to not only lose all the weight and get healthy, but also begin a career as an actor, author,
sponsored athlete, spokesperson, transformational speaker and model.
Of course there were some bumps in the road for the Ohio native, but he was able to keep his focus and stay on course. “I did struggle at times and definitely hit what most would call plateaus,” he explains. “I did get discouraged along the way, but using a Visionboard really helped me by being able to look at pictures of myself when I was in the prime of my life.”
That time was one filled with athletic achievement and heroic civil service, as Eisenhart had been athletic his entire life before gaining the weight. He wrestled and played football at the high school and collegiate levels and even had a stint on the gridiron as a minor leaguer. He also was a twice-decorated veteran of the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue squad as a firefighter/medic.
“Very early on (in the weight loss process) I adopted a warrior-like attitude,” he says. “If I started to struggle or meet resistance, I did something several times harder to give myself perspective on whatever adversity I had been faced with. This technique worked brilliantly.”
To get his inspiring message across, Eisenhart has been the subject of a litany of television, radio, print magazine and Internet interviews – an astounding 45 in a recent 60-day period! He has been featured on such popular programs like The Doctors (CBS), Real World (MTV), The Solution (CNN), Grimm (NBC), American Ninja Warrior (G4), The Aware Show (KPFK) amongst others.
So you think that the story ends there? Hardly, as Eisenhart details. “My goal is to get down to 210 pounds and seven percent body fat on a plant-based, whole foods diet – drug free.”
Obviously being a role model comes with its responsibilities and Eisenhart has some advice for someone who feel that they cannot get themself back in to shape. “I can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed and thinking that it’s impossible,” he comments. “This is simply not the case. I am proof that it can be done. I urge anyone committed to doing this to do what I call the ‘work of the interior.’ In other words, get to the subconscious mind. That is why I have and continue to be so successful.
I also urge people to make lifestyle changes,” concluded Eisenhart. “Eat a clean, plant-based, whole foods diet and practice meditation, yoga or something similar to help better manage stress. All of these component parts add up. Get support; do not do this alone. I had a tremendous amount of support. And most importantly – be patient. Permanent change takes time.”
About a year or so, if your name just happens to be Mark Eisenhart.
Mark Eisenhart is a Team Elite EON Therapeutics Sponsored Athlete, Transformational Speaker, Spokesperson, and Actor. He has garnered international publicity on TV, Radio, Print and Digital Media platforms, having appeared on over 200 programs including The Doctors on CBS, Real World on MTV, Dr.Tony Live, NBC’s Grimm, American Ninja Warrior on G4, KPFK’s The Aware Show and numerous other Print and Digital Media outlets including Optimyz Magazine in Canada, Sweat Equity, Veg News, and Fit Figures Magazine. He also writes a Fitness and Motivation column for Oregon Sports News.
Photos by Bill Devlin