Paul Matthies was severely diabetic when he began his fitness journey four years ago.
PLANO, Texas — Of all the directions life could lead, Paul Matthies never imagined it’d lead to a martial arts studio in Plano, because long before he learned how to fight, he’d already given up.
“I started thinking about, ‘I wonder what songs I would pick for my funeral,’” Matthies said. “’I wonder who’s going to give the eulogy at my funeral? I wonder who’s going to show up to my funeral?’ I was thinking a lot about my death. And I wasn’t thinking a lot about my future.”
He wasn’t thinking about his future because, at the time, Matthies weighed more than 300 pounds and was severely diabetic.
He had moments where he couldn’t feel his hands, feet or spine. He says he just felt numb.
“My physical weight was really a representation of the emotional weight that I was carrying in my life,” Matthies said.
So, at the end of 2018, he decided enough was enough. He signed up for classes at Premier Martial Arts and after his first class, he took a photo, his eyes filled with fear.
“That one is pretty emotional for me to look at,” he said.
To improve both his attitude and his health, he committed to regularly attending martial arts classes and also started working with a trainer at Life Time Fitness in North Dallas.
At first, he could barely make it through the warm-up.
“I thought that was the workout and that was just the stretching part,” he said.
He persevered, though. And now, four years older and 140 pounds lighter, Matthies is a shadow of his former self, much healthier and happier.
Although, he says the real reward came a few months ago, when earned his black belt.
“And I looked at that photo of myself when I was scared, wondering what life was going to be like,” Matthies said. “And I said, ‘Thank you. Thank you for having the courage to show up. Thank you for having the courage to believe that you still had more life to live. Thank you for taking that step of faith.’ And I’m really proud. I’m proud of where I’m at.”
And what he’s fought for.