(Don’t) Look Under the Bed

Ironically enough, the title is not an ode to all my 90s folks out there.. instead, it is more addressing the irrational fear that we all had during our childhood about what was lurking under the bed. I was terrified that if I had a limb slip out from those blankets that I was dun-zo. What was actually under my bed? Probably an old box of Barbies and a some dust bunnies I had been saving up since 2003.

I feel like this sensation of fear towards something in our lives is often as irrational as the fear of what is under our beds. It’s the crippling fear at the beginning that keeps us from being able to move and peak over the edge and realize that it is actually just an old box of Barbies and some dust bunnies you’ve been saving since 2003. I’m not talking about actual, real fear (aka clowns) but instead that fear of knowing that we have the ability to make a change in our lives. The fear of the unknown, the fear of not meeting our goals, or the fear (which terrifies me even to type) of failure…

Let’s come back to fear in a moment… For now, I want to share a little bit more about my story with you. A little over a year ago, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to find my most happy and healthy self. When I started, I wasn’t sure exactly what I would find or what changes would come about. One of the scariest and most difficult decisions was the choice to change my dietary lifestyle. I had known for a long time that I needed to make this change but I was terrified. And honestly, above all else, I was lazy and not willing to give up 3am runs to Cookout with my friends. Come on people, have you had those chicken nuggets!?

The most common thing that I hear from people is, “How do you stick with it?” The answer to that question started last June. I went on vacation to Los Angeles, and it truly is the trip that changed my life. Up until then, I knew I needed to lose weight and I (thought) I had a pretty good idea about what I looked like. Everyone always thinks that part of being big is hating yourself, and I’m not trying to crush you dreams here but that is not always the case. Some of my favorite memories are when I was at my biggest! Sure, there are parts of my body that I don’t just love big feet but you just learn to live with it better surface area for dancing. But, overall, I was happy with my life. My friends were amazing, my family was loving, my job was fulfilling, and I was confident in my faith.


We went to a Dodgers game one day while we were in LA. Let me just preface this by saying the sunglass selection in California is eclectic to say the least. We were having a great time and as one of my best friends looks at me, to explain something about the game I had no idea about,  I noticed my reflection in his bright, multi-colored lenses. PAUSE ON THE PLAY. It was like my world stopped. I was shocked. I didn’t even recognize the reflection looking back at me. And that was it, in that moment, sitting in a chair that was too small, in a body that no longer fit me, I made a promise to myself.


Now let me tell you, the remainder of that trip it was ON like Donkey Kong. I ate like a queen. I knew what was coming for me and I didn’t want it. But, if there is one thing that I don’t do it is go back on a promise and I had already pinky-promised to the longest running person in my life (myself). After my plane landed safe and sound back in Tennessee, I took one last stop at Taco Bell, spent almost $14 and blew a kiss to the life I’d been living for twenty-four years. The next day, I went to the gym.

Since that day on June 3rd when I went to the gym for the first time, my life has experienced some huge changes. It’s a little over a year later and I have lost 65 pounds and gained so much more. I have been able to do it all on my own. People get so worried about the concept of weight loss or a lifestyle change because they think you need all the bells and whistles and tons of money. Well, I will tell you I have neither. All it takes is a little bit of dedication and a whole lot of googling. In the coming weeks, I plan to share with you about some of my workouts, food, and other little tips… but, for now, I want to get back to fear.


I was terrified. Many days when I was at the gym I was hands down the most out of shape and felt completely out of place. I was sweating a kind of sweat that I didn’t even know could come out of a person. Bet you didn’t know that knee caps can sweat, but I will let you know that they indeed can. I was always so worried that people were watching me, judging me, or thinking I didn’t belong there. I started to notice the craziest thing, no one cared. Not a single head turned or looked at me weird. That fear of being the odd one out could have held me back, when it was something that didn’t even exist. Just like the monster that wasn’t living under my bed. And now a year later I walk into that gym feeling like I deserve to be there, because I do.


Don’t let your fear be bigger than your faith. You have to believe that anything is obtainable and you are deserving of what you want. I’m just a normal person that decided to set a goal and reach it. I still have a long way to go, but I’m closer than I was. Fear is still a big factor for me. I have moments of doubt every day that I am not going to get where I want and I am going to fail. But, I have learned that is just fear talking and not reality. So… “How do you stick with it?” even though you’re afraid?

  1. Set a goal that you really want to meet. It needs to be something that is going to motivate you and you are excited to achieve. It can be anything; physical, psychological, financial. The goal needs to be something that YOU want, not something that someone else wants for you. It’s okay to be selfish (sometimes) and do this for yourself. If you’re really motivated by your goal it makes the fear much harder to hear.
  2. Make the commitment… and in unison we all cringe at the word. You must commit to your goal and future plans. I have to wake up every single day and recommit myself to what I am doing. Some days, I’m not super jazzed about it, but I make the intentional choice to be loyal to what I promised myself.
  3. Find a supporter, or group of them. I have two major support systems; my faith and my people. I have spent countless hours praying over my goal and asking for guidance when I didn’t feel powerful enough to do it by myself. My friends and my family have been incredible! They always have the most encouraging words, and when those don’t work they are there with french fries and we start again the next day. Find whoever/whatever it is that is going to help you understand that the fear isn’t stronger than you are. If you feel that you aren’t being supported by someone, it is okay for you to take a step back and find that support in someone else.
  4. Ignore the fear. You’ve got the goal, you’ve committed, and you’ve got something that is going to encourage you to stick with it. But you’re still crippled in fear to get started? Sometimes you just have to ignore it. Your mind is going to play tricks on you when it thinks that it has the upper hand. I know that ignoring it doesn’t sound like a real fix or piece of advice, but that’s just what it takes sometimes. You have to get up and go after what you want and tell your brain to pipe down.

Don’t give yourself an option to be anything but successful. The fear of failure is much harder to give in to if you tell yourself that there is no other option but success. Don’t let irrational fear keep you from living your best life. Sometimes you have to get up and look under the bed. You never know what could be hiding under there… it could be the best year of your life.





Add Yours
  1. Molly Carnes

    You are so incredible and this is awesome! I feel so lucky to know you, Toby. Keep reaching your goals and keep writing these inspirational posts because I definitely love reading them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cassady Shuck

    This is amazing and so well written. Since having both of my babies I have struggled with finding the motivation to change my diet and develop a workout routine again. Reading this is just what I needed! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emily Johnson

    You’re such a great writer Toby–I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to read more! I’ve been going though my own weight loss journey for the last year and it’s so inspiring to read about your fearlessness! You’re amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura Locklear

    Amazing. This is so well written and I totally relate to the part about not feeling like you fit in at the gym- but you’re totally right, no one notices! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Elam

    Toby / I’m very proud of you/your accomplments ! Your journey will encourage many. We are Elam Real Estate miss and love you. As I have said many times, your always welcome back 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jake Haynes

    So my girl Toby said she gonna go out here and show the world wassup, huh? But seriously, keep this up Toby I really feel like you’ve got something special here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. JoLynn Meadows

    Toby, you still have that incredible full of life attitude. Your writing is very inspiring and as I have read other comments not just inspiring to me but to them as well! I’m on that journey now to lose weight . As I’ve gotten older it’s not only easier to gain but harder to lose. Thanks for your encouraging words . Continue to be the encourager that you are. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • inwithoctober

      Thank you so much for all of your kind words, JoLynn! And thank you for taking time to read my thoughts. I wish you luck on your journey and would love to give any guidance I have if you have questions!


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