It took the death of both his parents for this Brookwood alumnus to start taking care of himself. Now he urges others to avoid that mistake.
Like many who struggle with forming new habits, Scott Greenhut spent most of his life feeling powerless to create change. Then, in December 2017, a lightbulb went off in his head.
It was four months after his father died on August 10, 2017. Walking into his hospice room and seeing his father’s lifeless body, Scott knew he was headed down the same path unless he did something to change his health drastically.
And change he did. Since December 2017, Scott has lost 110 pounds — going from 268 to 158 pounds. At the time he started his transformational journey, Scott set a goal to do the elliptical machine every day for 365 days, and he ended up not missing a single day of exercise in 370 days. He now spends anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes on the elliptical every day and hasn’t had a dessert, fast food, or fried meals since February 2018.
Scott’s new goal is to establish a career as an inspirational speaker. Using his story and the platform #PleaseJustStart, he hopes to inspire others to take a leap of faith and start taking steps to achieve their goals, whatever those might be.
“I like to go 1- 0 every day, that’s kind of my mantra now,” Scott said. “And it’s not necessarily about my weight loss, but people wouldn’t have given me the opportunity to speak unless I had lost the weight.”
On February 1, 2019, his older sister, Melissa, passed away after an eight-year battle with Ocular Melanoma. They spoke on the phone the December prior, and Scott took a day off from his exercise routine to deal with the impending loss of his only sibling. “We were close. She always had my back,” he admitted.
At 33 years old, Scott is the last surviving member of his immediate family. His mom died when he was 12, and the recent losses of his dad and sister made it all new.
“I just can’t imagine having been through everything I’ve been through and all my immediate family gone at age 33 and not share . . . I don’t want to say wisdom, but my perspective,” Scott said. “Everyone has a perspective. We all go through struggles. This is just what I deal with.”
His own path has been unusual, to say the least. Scott didn’t start anything trendy like the Keto or a carb-free diet. He just did what felt right for him — lots of salads, grilled chicken and vegetables. He found he didn’t even have to avoid his usual spots so long as he stuck with his new mentality. “I started thinking about food as fuel, and I didn’t want to eat all that other stuff because I know what that did to my body.”
And then in June, Scott was diagnosed with Crohn’s, a rare disease caused by inflammation in the digestive tract. Per the doctor’s orders, Scott had to give up many of the foods he had grown accustomed to — lettuce, greens and certain vegetables. With the new medications he was taking, Scott faced a setback in his exercise routine and had to take a break from the elliptical for 22 days.
“Now, I’m taking everything in stride and realizing it’s just part of my story,” Scott said. “Because I’m taking everything one day at a time, everything else just falls into place. That’s how I have to live my life now. I have no one to answer to.”
Slowly, Scott is tapering off his medication and building his strength. When he started exercising again, he was happy to complete four miles on the elliptical. Now he’s averaging five miles a day between two 25-minute sessions.
But Scott’s platform is about much more than physical fitness. Recently, he made T-shirts and business cards to share his campaign #PleaseJustStart which he explains through a message printed on the back of his T-shirts. It reads, “Don’t wait for something negative to happen in your life for you to make the positive change you always think about.”
After sharing his weight loss story with the AJC in 2018, coaches from Brookwood High School’s Varsity Basketball team and Buford High School’s JV Basketball team called Scott and asked him to speak to their athletes. And in March, Scott was invited to speak at the 2019 ENLIGHT Conference where he spoke to his largest audience yet.
Now that he’s had a taste of the public speaking world, Scott can’t get enough. He’s been working with mentors to create new PowerPoints and agendas to speak to various crowds because, in Scott’s opinion, his story is for anyone.
“My message is that you’re stronger than you think you are. I don’t like that I’m finally thriving without [my family] here, but I guess they gave me the strength to do it,” Scott shared. “Melissa always told me I was stronger than I thought I was . . . I always came up with an excuse. So, my story is about not having regret. That’s why I want to get up and speak — to remind people that life is short. And I encourage you to call your parents and siblings just to see how they’re doing and tell them how much they mean to you. I wish I could do that.”
This fall, Scott hopes to schedule engagements with athletic programs in colleges and high schools in Gwinnett and beyond. His ultimate dream is to talk with Ellen DeGeneres and appear on Big Brother. “That’s a real goal. I don’t know how obtainable it is, but that would be great,” Scott said.
Stay connected with Scott on IG and Twitter @scott_inspires. Booking inquiries can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.