Dear Keith,

Thanks for sharing… Your book has been an inspiration to me.

– Senator Harry Reid, U.S. Senate

Dear Keith,

You should be very proud of how you turned your life around and how you are sharing your story with others. Congratulations!

– Dawn Gibbons, First Lady of Nevada


Thank you so much for your book. It was most inspiring. Kudos to you for changing your life for the ultimate better.

– Oscar Goodman, Mayor, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Keith,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me about physical fitness.  It’s an issue I share your  passion for, and I’m always glad to hear from people who feel as strongly about it as I do….

By setting goals for yourself and remaining dedicated to them, you can accomplish anything.  And no matter what those fitness goals are, exercise and proper nutrition are crucial.  When I was competing, I’d often spend long hours in the gym, and the thing that most helped me overcome obstacles was a positive mental attitude.  If you think you can do something, you can – as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

Thanks again.  It takes dedication to get and stay physically fit, but the rewards last a lifetime.

– Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

It took a crisis for the light to go on for Keith. He is now an amazing champion in the fight for fitness, and I admire his drive and determination.

– Dr. Eric Wikler

A chronicle of the author’s obesity-related illnesses and his remarkable weight loss.

By the age of 45, Ahrens, a Las Vegas businessman who led a sedentary lifestyle and compulsively overate, tipped the scales at more than 400 pounds. He hadn’t had a physical in more than a decade but, when he began to experience frightening symptoms—shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness—he sought medical help. A battery of tests revealed that Ahrens suffered a “Remote Silent Heart Attack,” and his internist, who contributed the foreword to the book, referred him to specialists. They concluded after additional stress tests and an angiogram that Ahrens needed a triple-bypass to correct the damage done to his heart by years of neglect. The surgery and the restored quality of health it brought gave Ahrens a new lease on life. By eating healthily and exercising regularly, he dropped 185 pounds without surgery, turning his life around. The most appealing aspect of Ahrens’ story is the author—he’s just a regular guy, and readers will likely relate to his struggles with obesity as well as find inspiration in his weight loss. Ahrens manages to convey his sincere hope that all who read the book will follow his lead and make positive changes to their physical well – being and health.

Folksy, relatable and ultimately inspiring.

– Kirkus Discoveries, September 2009

A Man Turns His Life Around by Confronting His Demons:

In “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, is confronted by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future, all encounters that, however harrowing, leave him with a new appreciation for, and a determination to make radical changes in, his life.

It is hard not to compare this heart-warming story to the one the author sets before us. For while Keith Ahrens did not wait for Christmas for the events to take place that changed his life–they came upon him unexpectedly in an earlier season–his reaction was similar, and his story could be likened to that of a modern-day “Christmas Carol.” And although, throughout his life, he has been generous to a fault, Ahrens had, according to the interesting account as detailed in “Outrunning My Shadow: Surviving Open Heart Surgery and Battling Obesity,” severely neglected his own physical well-being, to the point where he faced a life-changing choice–whether or not to undergo the corrective surgery to repair a life-threatening heart condition that had developed over years of devotion to work and family at the sacrifice of his health.

As an executive at a Las Vegas car dealership, Ahrens would put in long hours, and make up for his grinding schedule by indulging in culinary delights. Over the years, this habit, along with a sedentary lifestyle, allowed him to put some four hundred pounds on a frame no higher than five foot ten. The figure he cut was awesome, but not in the way we usually like to use the term. By his own admission, chairs were never large enough, nor strong enough, and his unusually large physique drew the kind of attention he would rather have done without. Still, he could put up with all of the inconvenience attendant to an overweight condition, until the fateful day that found him breathless and incapacitated. That led to a doctor’s visit, and a battery of tests that revealed a severe occlusion in some of the important blood vessels that supplied his heart with needed nutrients and oxygen.

After second and third opinions were rendered, Ahrens agreed to undergo triple bypass surgery. This might have been the end of the story, had it not been for his determination to lose the pounds that had left him only semi-ambulatory even before the surgery. The doctors gave Ahrens more ambitious goals than he set for himself, and ever since, a successful regimen of proper eating habits and exercise has left its mark. Over a period of about two years Keith lost 185 pounds and now is able to do the many things that were off limits to a man weighing 414 pounds.

“Outrunning My Shadow” is easy to read. Its content is matter-of-factly expressed, and there are no hidden mysteries or innuendo in the words. The story is simple, but as profound as the Dickens tale. A man can reflect on his life, change course, and turn upon a new path that leads to a future with endless possibilities. All one needs is the courage to take the first step.

– Peter Duveen, August 24, 2009 –, August 23, 2009