How I got started
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The before picture (March 2002) here is from my daughters wedding - not exactly the image I like to see preserved for my grandchildren. a few months after that, I decided I had to take drastic measures and get my health in line. My blood pressure was high - I was on blood pressure medicine. My cholesterol was entering the danger zone. My Dad had died of a heart attack in his 30's. My Grandfather had years of type 2 diabetes. My mother died young of colon cancer. I was facing my mortality.
My Dr gave me tremendous help and support to do what was necessary. It was hard to ask for the help I needed and it felt like a weakness to not be able to do it all "on my own" . What I learned from this is that it is ok to ask for help, because in the end - I did the work I needed to do needed myself. So, I can take pride in asking for the help I needed and doing the job I needed to do.
It took about 15 months but I lost about 130 pounds. It was hard, often frustrating. I had to be careful to watch every thing I was eating and to learn new eating habits. I had been a fast food junkie - I'd stop at McDonalds on my way home from work before I made dinner. I'd breakfast on a Coke and a bag of M&M's ( "the breakfast of champions" I would joke. ) I had tried many diets and lost some weight and always regained it. What I hadn't done in the past was learn to live in a new way.
I decided at some point to treat my body better. I was raised to clean my plate whether I wanted it or not, whether I needed it or not. What I have decided for myself is that throwing food in the trash can is not wasting it any more than throwing it into my body when I dont need it. Cleaning my plate for the sake of not wasting is just using my BODY as the trash can.
I have always been an emotional eater. I still struggle with that - and I think I might always continue to sometimes want to eat for emotional rather than nutritional reasons - But I am better. I went through a period of very high personal stress and managed to regain about 15 pounds in a very short time. I neededhelp, and I did what was necessary to get the help I needed to get it under control. I got the weight back off and work very hard to be more aware of my emotional status and address stress in the approriate ways. I did not do all that emotional work alone - I had the help of a very supportive therapist. Another lesson learned - asking for needed help is a strength, not a weakness. Spark people also has some excellent articles on emotional eating and getting it under control.
I have learned to substitite other activities - such as riding my beloved (or d@m&d bike depending on who in my family you talk to ) bike. I found that and some other activities that can reduce stress and make me feel like a free little kid again.
I have learned that diets just don't work - they create a false sense of a temporary fix but maintainence is forever.
Now that I am at a healthy weight for me - I could choose to go back to my old habits - too many people do - I could go back to McDonalds for breakfast, Wendy's for lunch, pizza for dinner and cookies all evening. Some days the drive thru does still call my name even several yars later. I could easily sit down and eat a whole bag of potato chips - they are light and not very filling. I could, but I just don't. I learned my high fiber/ high protein cereal keeps me full all morning. My snacks of greek yogurt and fresh fruit are hopefully preserving my bones. My lean chicken and vegetables are preserving my muscles and keeping me healthy and maybe reducing my chances of dying from a heart attack too young Like my Dad, or getting colon cancer like my Mom.
I am also enjoying many new things - I recently went horseback riding on a vacation. Before I would not have made the weight requirements to ride, I was so proud sitting on that horse and riding through the rain forest.
My beloved Grandson just made it to 54 inches tall. You may wonder, what does that mean? Well, that is the height requirement to go on the big roller coasters (think Batman, Superman, the Viper) at 6 flags so he and I went and had the time of our life going on as many roller coasters as we could that day. previously - I had not been able to ride the Batman ride - I was too large for the seat belt to close.
I found a great enjoyment for working out. When I first started the process in July 2002 I hired a personal trainer for a few sessions to ge tme started on my way. It was a huge help. I also read books and used the inspiration from spark people along the way to learn more as I went along. Not everyone can hire a trainer, I was very lucky to be able to afford a few sessions, but if you can't, this website has some great whole body work out plans and not just a list of exercises but video demonstrations of the exercises to help you do them properly so you can minimize the risks of inury. It also has info on warming up, stretching and cooling down to make your work out safer and more effective.
I more recently decided to take some classes at my local community college in personal training for my own personal benefit and to see what I could do to improve my workouts. I finished the classes - learned so much ( a big giant thank you to my teacher who also really helped pump up my self esteem and confidence as well as teaching me a ton of great information. ) I also decided to take the next step and get certified as a personal trainer and passed my ACE certification exam earlier this year. I haven't yet worked as a trainer, but who knows what the future may hold.