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EP:100 Life After Porn Addiction, Affairs, and Lies…It Does Get Better

“Why? Why are you doing this? Why tell everyone all of your personal business? What if they judge you? What if they hate you? What if you lose followers?”

What if, what if, what if.

It’s those “what ifs” that paralyze us isn’t it? That fear of the unknown.

Well, you know something guys, I am not afraid anymore. I’m not letting those thoughts hold me back anymore.

This world breaks ALL of us. I don’t care who you are in this life or where you come from, this world will find a way to break us all in our own unique way. It’s from those moments of being broken that we can choose how we handle being broken. Do we hide it from the world, wear a mask and pretend that we’re not broken so others will like us, or do we embrace being broken and show our broken selves to the world as a strength?

In this post, I’m going to share the short version of something you’ve all wanted to know for a long time-why Lynn and I got divorced.

This week, is my 100th episode of The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience podcast, and I wanted to do something special for my 100th episode. This episode is where I will share the FULL story, so you’ll definitely want to tune into that.

But for now, I want to use this post as a way to give you all a heads up so you’re not super shocked and caught off guard when the episode goes live in a couple of days.

Writing this post and recording the podcast makes me feel open and vulnerable and raises a lot of “what ifs,” but I believe that not only will it be healing for me to share my story, but I believe that it will help someone out there.

My desire to help others by sharing my story, how I healed and grew from my mistakes, moved past the shame and became the man I am now so proud to be-that desire is stronger than any fear of judgment. There’s more at stake here than a few people being disappointed in me.

I am not going to be diving into details on this post, that’s what my 100th episode is for, and also, if I went into everything here, this blog post would be 20 pages long. What I want to focus on, is give you some context and then the lessons I learned from that experience. For a more in-depth experience, make sure to tune in to my 100th episode, airing Wednesday, August 16.

 

Here we go…

The Beginning of a Porn Addiction

A lot of this has to do with my perception of how I was raised. I grew up in the Mormon church. Very strict, very conservative. My perception as a kid both in the church and at home was that I needed to be perfect all the time, or I was “unworthy.” If I messed up, if I “sinned,” I was “punished” in the church or at home. In the Mormon church, it’s called the “repentance process” and I wasn’t allowed to participate in certain church activities. Every time I would go to my church leaders to confess a sin, I wouldn’t be allowed to partake in the sacrament of bread and water. So when everyone was receiving the sacrament, I had to pass on it because I wasn’t worthy of receiving it. It was humiliating because in church, everyone can see who does or does not take it, and as a kid, I felt so horrible thinking here everyone was judging me and seeing I had weaknesses and had sinned, and was not being “perfect.”
So for me as a kid, I started to develop a very unhealthy habit of hiding all my mistakes, weaknesses, and my sins as much as possible, so I didn’t look weak on the outside, or risk being judged and seen as a failure.

In the church, it was taught that pornography is evil but here I was a normal kid, being exposed to it all the time.

It created this “forbidden fruit syndrome” for me.

I knew I couldn’t touch it, but man it seemed so exciting when I did see it. I didn’t know how to control that excitement.

If you do look at pornography and do masturbate, you’re supposed to go to your church leader and confess your sins. Because I didn’t want people to see that I had sinned, I started to lie to my church leaders. I decided I would just deal with it on the inside. I thought that maybe If I beat myself up enough, hated myself enough, and had more discipline, then I would overcome it. It was just willpower I thought. I just needed more willpower.

I tried to use hate and shame to “will” myself to make better choices.

As you can imagine, that didn’t work.

As a teenager with raging hormones, despite trying so damn hard, pornography and masturbation were too strong for me to overcome. From a very young age, I developed an unhealthy habit of keeping it inside and beating myself up for it. I felt so guilty, so dirty, and so ashamed, every time it happened. I spent most of my days being disgusted with myself. Just like everyone with an addiction-I would say that I wouldn’t do it again…and then I would. I started to perceive myself not just as weak, unworthy, and a disgusting human being, but also a failure.

Eventually, as you’ll hear in the podcast, I did overcome the porn addiction. I actually went to an addiction recovery program through my church that helped me a lot. The other men there weren’t some gross, perverted weirdos. They were every day, average joes, ordinary men like me. It helped me to see that a lot of people struggle with this and that I wasn’t alone.

I also learned to change my perception of what pornography was. It was just pornography. It wasn’t evil or good. It just is. Once I realized that I am NOT my thoughts and learned that I am the observer of my thoughts it helped me to not be as reactive.

Lessons Learned: You are not alone. Whatever struggles you are going through, it doesn’t make you a crappy, weak human being. It makes you human. When we keep our problems inside, hidden from everyone, they grow. They get bigger and stronger, and their hold over us WILL cause us to spiral deeper and deeper and to make more significant mistakes that hurt us (and others) even more. Find someone to talk to, find someone who you know will not judge you and realize that you are a normal, human being, struggling with something that most likely affects a lot of other people as well. You’re not alone. So don’t go through it alone. Once you learn to develop a better relationship with yourself and learn to love yourself, you start to choose to do those things that bring fulfillment rather than temporary happiness.

The Affair.

Lynn never knew about my struggles with porn or the fact that I thought of myself as a total piece of shit, unworthy of being happy. She never knew how much I hated myself and my deep-rooted fear of being seen as unworthy.

Over time, I grew to hate myself more and more and more. I think you guys know this-fear is hates fertilizer. Hate gets more and more powerful when we feed it with our fearful thoughts.

A few years into our marriage, I took a job that had me gone for 6 weeks. I won’t go into the details of the circumstances of what happened, but I cheated on Lynn. I had an affair.

In my hearts of hearts, I truly believed that I would never do that to her. I loved her very much and couldn’t imagine hurting her like that, but my reaction was, “I have to hide it. There’s no way I can tell Lynn about this. She’ll divorce me, she’ll be heartbroken, she’ll take our 2 girls and my life would be over.”

So I hid it.

Just like I had been taught to do since I was a kid.

I kept it all inside and instead, reminded myself every moment of every day, what a disgusting human being I was. How could I possibly do that to Lynn? How could I love her and still cheat on her? I had this hate self-talk on loop all day long. I deserved to live with the guilt. I deserved to live with the shame. I deserved to hate myself.

I kept all of this from Lynn for about a year, until she found an email and confronted me.

She was devastated.

It was one of the hardest, darkest and lowest moments of both our lives. All I could say was “I’m sorry.” I couldn’t even tell her why I did it because I didn’t know why myself.

I couldn’t figure out why I had done it, and so that was equally as hard for Lynn. She believed we had a good marriage, we were both active in our church, we had a great family, great jobs, a healthy sex life, why would I go do something like this?

At the time I didn’t have any answer. The answer came later.

I was trying to do everything I could to stay married to Lynn, to earn her trust back. Despite the fact that we went to counseling, the trust was gone. The damage had been done.

At the time I thought if we prayed hard enough, had more faith, went to church often we could get through this. I thought I was doing this to save our marriage but I realize now, I was putting in all that work, forcing Lynn to stay married to me so I wouldn’t be seen as a failure. I created this story in my head that if other people found out, we would get a divorce, I would be seen as failure and I would be this miserable, unworthy fuck up for the rest of my life.

Lesson Learned: When you don’t face your fears when you don’t address, confront, and heal your issues, you fall deeper and deeper into depression and start to believe that that is who you are. That is all you will ever be. Your thoughts rule your actions. Your thoughts become your reality even though they don’t have to. Your painful and miserable thoughts will lead you to make actions that affirm this is who you are.

But it’s not.

You can change your thoughts which change your actions. You do this by getting help from someone you trust. You do this by choosing to believe that you can be more than just these addictions, or problems. You CAN do something about it.

 

Getting Help

Lynn and I stayed married for a few more years, and we tried to make it work. Eventually, Lynn met a life coach named Kathryn from Clarity Coaching in Salt Lake City and loved her so much she signed me up for a session as well. I had one session with Kathryn and broke down. I cried for 3 hours straight. For the first time in my life, I had finally opened up and talked to someone, with no judgment, about my issues. For the first time in my life, I was being vulnerable, open, and asking for help.

The biggest thing I took away from working with Kathryn, was that she finally taught me for the first time, to learn how to love myself. I couldn’t learn that through religion, through family, through friends. I had spent my entire life HATING myself, ashamed of being weak and human. It wasn’t until I worked with Kathryn that I finally saw the importance of loving yourself.

Kathryn taught me that when we live in other people’s business, worried what they will think of us, wondering why God made us this way, why we have these faults, will people ever forgive us and so on, we stay miserable and can never truly move forward, heal and get past it.

I came away from my sessions with all this weight off my shoulders and realizing I didn’t have to define myself based on the mistakes I had made. While that was the part that was consuming me at the time, it was also a small piece of who I really was. I was more than just my mistakes. I’d looked at myself as being a failure and not being good enough my entire life, but now, I could see that I didn’t have to let that define me. I could grow past this, and be the kind of man I was meant to be…and I didn’t have to do it alone.

Lesson Learned: You are not your past. You are not your mistakes. You don’t have to let your past rob you of your future. Yes, I made mistakes, yes I fucked up royally, but I was doing the best I could with what I knew. I was raised in fear. I thought asking for help was going to destroy me and ruin my life. I thought no one would ever understand. The shame made me feel like I was some disgusting, perverted, sick freak who was a failure as a human being. While yes, some people will judge you and won’t give you a chance to explain yourself, there are tons more who will hold space for you, listen to you, guide you, and help you change your life. I thought that if my “sins” got out, I would be labeled as this cheating, porn addict for the rest of my life. That I would be defined by my mistakes. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am not that same man anymore. I made those mistakes, but by seeking help, I was able to evolve into the man I am proud to be today. My past happened, mistakes were made, hearts were broken, trust dissolved…but who I was then, is not who I am now. And neither are you. You have the opportunity to change the course of your life. You have the opportunity to be MORE than just your past mistakes.

Why I Cheated

Working with Kathryn helped me realize why I ended up cheating.

It had nothing to do with Lynn. I truly did love her. It had nothing to do with how I saw Lynn, it all had to do with how I saw myself.

Here I was, seeing myself as a failure my entire life, as a fuck up my whole life, so why not go cheat? I’m already a failure so why not have an affair? It was exciting, and the infatuation was there, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. It was like a drug. The front of my brain shut off and I was thinking primal at the time. It had nothing to do with how I felt for Lynn. It was really interesting for me to finally discover that the affair happened because of how I viewed myself. Those bad thoughts we think? Yeah. They rule our actions.

I discovered that if I truly learned how to love myself, I wouldn’t feel the need to do things that reinforced my false fear of being a failure in life.

I grew so much in my sessions with Kathryn that I finally got to a place where I knew I had to let Lynn go. I could tell that she wanted to get a divorce and this was affecting her health and well-being, but I was forcing her to stay in our marriage, not only for fear of what family and friends would think of us, but all of this happened during my Fit2Fat2Fit experience. The whole world was watching us. We both had to pretend to be this happy, in-love, perfect couple with no problems.

After working with Kathryn for a while, I realized that I had to let Lynn go. So we agreed to get a divorce.

To this day, Lynn and I are still friends, business partners, and co-parents and we get along just fine. That is thanks to both of us, putting in the work to heal, grow, forgive, and strengthen our relationships with ourselves.

Putting The Past Behind Me

When you’re in a good place, and you have a good relationship with yourself, you are in control of what you want. You no longer make mistakes based on reinforcing hateful thoughts, and you take action based on who you truly desire to be, what brings you happiness, and what is fulfilling.

Life is too short. I want to spend my time doing fulfilling things like being with my kids, traveling, creating content that helps people, seeing the world, working out, being in nature, meditating, being with close friends and family, etc.

When you accept and love yourself, you have a fulfilling life, you don’t crave or make the same mistakes over and over again. My choices are no longer fueled by shame, fear, or self-hate. Instead, my actions and choices are fueled by love, respect, and what will fulfill me.

I want to close this out by saying that I am who I am, I love who I am now, and I continue to be a better man every day.

If you’re someone suffering, with any addiction or emotional struggle, you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you can learn to embrace vulnerability as a strength, your life will completely change. And yes, it sucks and it’s hard going through it all, but you will get to a place where it no longer has power over you, and you no longer live in guilt and shame.

We’ve been taught that it’s not manly or cool to talk about your feelings, it’s not ok to talk about your weaknesses, but if you can really open up and have someone to talk to about these things without judgment, that’s a great first step. The more you talk about it the less power it has over you.

Life is a journey. Life is crazy. There are so many ups and downs, but I truly believe that everything that happens to us, happens FOR us. How is this going to make me a better person? Better dad? Better leader? If we look at the situation we go through that way; it will be so much easier to get over the pain and heartache and move on with our lives.

I’m Drew Manning, and that was my story.

Thanks for reading.

 

Key Takeaways:

[03:50] Drew grew up in the strict, conservative Mormon church where pornography was deemed sinful.
[08:46] The unhealthy habit of guilt and shame.
[09:41] The defining moments that caused Drew to hide his struggles.
[15:11] In 2009, Lynn discovered Drew had cheated on her.
[22:15] A life coach taught Drew how to love himself and to live in his own business.
[26:15] So, why did Drew cheat on a wife he truly loved?
[33:03] Overcoming his addiction to pornography has made Drew more authentic.
[42:14] Be grateful for everything that happens to you.

EP099: How ‘Going Against the Grain’ Can Make You Happier

A healthier diet can help balance your hormones.

Drew welcomes the talented Anna Vocino to the podcast. Anna is a voice over talent and stand-up comedian, she is the co-host of the Fitness Confidential podcast and the author of the cookbook, Eat Happy. Anna discovered she had Celiac disease and had to abruptly change her diet. After going gluten-free, she started to gain weight. She had to ‘go against the grain’ of traditional diet advice and find a solution to work with her specific condition. Anna shares her story and her favorite recipes which are designed to help you get healthier and happier.

If you like this podcast subscribe & review it on iTunes | Stitcher.

 

Key Takeaways:

[04:27] Anna describes how she discovered she had Celiac’s and how her body reacted to the change in her diet.

[14:35] Eating gluten-free doesn’t mean the food is healthy and you can gain weight.

[18:32] How Anna deprogrammed herself from believing traditional diet advice.

[23:55] The Fitness Confidential Podcast is about being a fitness trainer for 30-years.

[31:53] Anna’s cookbook is a mixture of tried and true, hearty meals which lean towards a keto diet.

[39:07] What common sauces contain gluten?

[47:41] Anna shares her favorite voices and acting substitution parts.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Anna Vocino 

Eat Happy Cookbook

@AnnaVocino on Instagram

Fitness Confidential Podcast

Transform with Drew’s Fit2Fat2Fit 6-month Program 

Fit2Fat2Fit

Fit2Fat2Fit on A&E

Fit2Fat2Fit on Facebook 

Fit2Fat2Fit Book

Drew on Social Media: @fit2fat2fit

Email Drew: [email protected]

098: How to Get Healthy When Food is Making You Sick

The Paleo Chef tells her story.

Drew welcomes The Paleo Chef, Mary Shenouda to the podcast. Mary is also the creator of famously delicious Phat Fudge. Mary was riddled with physical ailments when she was a child. It wasn’t until she took her health into her own hands and made important dietary changes, that her wellness started. Her paleo cooking was noticed by major athletes and celebrities who enlisted her to be their private chef. Mary shares her story of transitioning from a  corporate employee to becoming the self-funded, successful entrepreneur she is today.  

Drew is a dedicated fitness professional but also an accomplished public speaker. If you would like to have Drew share his intimate experience with empathy at your next corporate event or outing send an email to [email protected] and if you like this podcast subscribe & review it on iTunes | Stitcher.

 

Key Takeaways:

[08:27] After spending much of her life in pain Mary realized removing certain foods from her diet alleviated her ailments.

[16:54] People ask for a one-solution-fits-all diet program but it should be based on the individual.

[22:42] Mary was able to get hired for positions a normal high school dropout couldn’t.

[31:06] Mary is surprised at how little marketing she needed to do to get clients for her business.

[33:14] How Mary accidentally created Phat Fudge and a growing business.

[44:41] New products on the way from Phat Fudge

 

Sponsors:

Organifi – Use the code ‘Fit2fat2fit’ for 20% your entire order

Dollar Workout Club

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Paleo Chef

Phat Fudge

The Paleo Chef on Facebook

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Transform with Drew’s Fit2Fat2Fit 6-month Program

Fit2Fat2Fit

Fit2Fat2Fit on A&E

Fit2Fat2Fit on Facebook

Fit2Fat2Fit Book

Drew on Social Media: @fit2fat2fit

Email Drew: [email protected]

EP097: Food Freedom Forever

How to remove the guilt and shame you have around food.

Drew welcomes Melissa Hartwig back to the podcast to talk about her new book, Food Freedom Forever. This new book goes beyond Melissa’s Whole 30 Diet and delves into the mental and emotional challenges related to making a true lifestyle change. Melissa offers up ways to overcome a food addiction such as the ‘one bite’ rule and how to change the language you use to describe your relationship with food.

Both Melissa and Drew have first-hand experience with the struggles of transforming their minds and bodies, of looking inward for happiness, and that it doesn’t matter what other people think.

Drew is a dedicated fitness professional but also an accomplished public speaker. If you would like to have Drew share his intimate experience with empathy at your next corporate event or outing send an email to [email protected] and if you like this podcast subscribe & review it on iTunes | Stitcher.

 

Key Takeaways:

[08:21] Melissa tours the US in support of her three books plus she has two more books on the way.

[16:40] Food Freedom Forever addresses the mental and emotional aspects of making a true lifestyle change.

[24:00] The infamous One Bite rule allows you to taste a food and then decide if it is worth it to eat the whole thing.

[28:14] Melissa describes her experiences with over-consuming and then hating herself for it.

[30:59] Changing your language about how you engage with food is key to a true transformation.

[34:11] If your message is true for you others will understand and relate.

[38:43] Happiness comes from the inside.

[48:20] Discipline equals freedom

 

Sponsors:

Organifi – Use the code ‘Fit2fat2fit’ for 20% your entire order

Four Sigmatic – 10% off your order with this link

Dollar Workout Club 

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

The Whole 30

The Whole 30 Fit2Fat2Fit Podcast with Melissa Hartwig

Transform with Drew’s Fit2Fat2Fit 6-month Program 

Fit2Fat2Fit

Fit2Fat2Fit on A&E

Fit2Fat2Fit on Facebook 

Fit2Fat2Fit Book

Drew on Social Media: @fit2fat2fit

Email Drew: [email protected]