BATAVIA – Tim Christian had hit an all-time low.
After his dream of becoming a professional football player slipped from his grasp, his world started to crumble.
His girlfriend had broken up with him. His pet was dying. Feelings of despair and depression lingered for months and suicidal thoughts started to surface, he said. The pain became physical, causing constant tension in his back.
“I was letting all this just overwhelm me, internalizing it,” he said. “I couldn’t help it.”
But Christian, 43, of Batavia, turned it all around. His transformation is the subject of his first book, “Behaviors of Change,” which focuses on creating meaningful, positive changes in life. The book is a framework for changing your life in a positive way, he said.
“Long story short, the book is about my experience and the behaviors of change that are required to not only change, but to sustain change for the rest of your life,” he said. “I make a big point about the decision to change. It can be a 50-year-old deciding to go back to college – celebrate that, mark it on the calendar and celebrate it for the rest of your life.”
Christian’s story began about 20 years ago. At 6-feet, 3-inches, Christian was a 310-pound NFL prospect playing for Ball State University in the 1990s. He said his goal of becoming a professional player was his focal point at the time, and agents started noticing him in 1992. But things came to a head in 1993 with a looming spring draft.
“My childhood dream was coming to fruition,” he said. “I was just at the top of the world. That was my life. It was all going to happen – all the things I was going to do to help my parents. They were blue-collar; their dads were coal miners. My dad grew up sleeping on a dirt floor in Virginia. I had fully invested my heart in this process.”
And then it happened – a well-known agent had signed him, he said. But as quickly as things started falling into place, they unraveled.
The agent started backpedaling because professional teams weren’t showing as much interest in Christian, despite him being rated a top-30 guard, he said.
Christian decided to turn to his faith, which helped him accept reality. And then he met someone who helped steer him even closer to his faith. That person invited Christian to a Bible study, which happened to take place in the exact same apartment complex – and in the exact same apartment – that Christian had lived in while at Ball State just a year ago, around the time depression took hold, he said.
“It was like a full circle,” he said.
After his second attempt to join a professional football team had failed, Christian decided that those opportunities had surpassed him. But by then, with self-reflection and faith, he said he felt like a different person. So, he changed his focus to losing weight and becoming healthier.
“I lost 10 pounds a week,” he said. “From June to August, I lost 120 pounds.”
His physical transformation, paired with stronger faith and a new attitude, set the foundation for sustainable change that still applies to his life today, he said.
Christian now is an executive for a Fortune 500 company and lives in Batavia with his wife, Sara, and his two daughters, Hanna, 8, and Ellie, 5.
“Behaviors of Change” is his first published book, and he’s planning to sign copies at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at The Bookstore, 475 N. Main St., Suite 100, Glen Ellyn.
He said he hopes those who read his book are inspired to shift their lives in a more positive direction.
“My hope is that it makes [readers] think about their lives, and the discipline and balance they need to sustain change,” he said.