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Do you know your family health history? It’s your first step in becoming your own best health advocate. The spring issue of Cancer PreventionWorks focuses on knowing your health background. This story features an accomplished communicator and Internet pioneer who transformed his life through healthy eating and exercise. Make sure to check out the full spring 2014 issue of Cancer PreventionWorks.

As founder and chief executive officer of pulver.com, and co-founder of Vonage and Zula, Jeff Pulver has changed the way we think about communicating in the modern age. He’s never met a start-up he couldn’t lead to success. That includes the challenge of a lifetime, changing his diet and exercise habits to become half the man he used to be. And he feels great about it.

JeffPulver

After years of being the big man in the room, struggling with ordinary tasks like walking four blocks with his children, sitting in coach on planes, or fitting comfortably into restaurant booths, Pulver was tired. “I was tired of living in pain,” he says, “I was tired of not having anything that fit me properly. I was tired of standing out because I was a big guy. My dad died of lung and brain cancer. He was a lifetime smoker. He passed away 16 years ago when he was 62, and I wanted to be around longer for my kids.”

Facing the possibility of gastric bypass surgery, Jeff decided to “bypass the bypass.”

July 24, 2012 was the day that he decided he was going to start living with intention. Armed with 41 books on health and wellness, he started off easy. He focused on not overexerting himself, and doing just enough to make a difference at first. “I had not been in a gym since 10th grade. On July 24, 2012 I started to work out five minutes a day every few days. On August 24th, 2012, I joined my first gym and drove 30 minutes each way to work out. I didn’t hire a trainer until eight months into this. By then, I was able to work out for 75-90 minutes at a time.” Along the way, he started to change his diet and started to eat with purpose.

To date, Pulver has outsourced (he prefers the term “outsourced” to lost, as he has no intention of ever “finding” it again) at least 120 pounds. With the 10,000 steps a day goal in mind, Pulver works out with his friend and trainer three days a week. “My workouts are more intense. In the past year, I have built up my muscle memory. I am able to control various muscle groups. My workouts these days focus on core. I am living in shape for the first time in my life.”

It was through documenting his journey on social media that Pulver began to realize the power of “crowd sourced motivation.” With unlimited access to people all over the world, Pulver had a built-in support group of friends and strangers eager to cheer him on. Each “like,” share and retweet propelled him forward in his journey to a healthier life. In his inspiring TEDx talk, he proclaims, “You are at the center of your own parade.”

Life is too short to live without intention. We hope Pulver’s story inspires you to not only reclaim your body, but reclaim your life. “Overall, life is just different now,” he says.