A while back, my niece asked me what prompted me to change my lifestyle. That is, to start watching what I eat, working out, and lose some extra weight. Well, here’s what I told here, the truth of the matter, about two months ago after I started working out:
Well, I first started walking regularly almost two years ago. That was thanks in large part to a Doctor, a Podiatrist. I filled out the initial visit form, put down that I take medication for High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, and Acid Reflux. Then when I answered the question about general health, I chose “good.”
She looked at me and said “so, you’re health is ‘good’?” … and you take medication for HBP, Cholesterol, and stomach problems? [long pause]… well, if you walked a few miles a day and lost 20 pounds, you wouldn’t need all that medicine, would you…? [another long, LONG pause...]…”
About the same time Mom and Dad were down and we took a boat trip up the St. John’s river. Someone took my picture, shirtless. I was not sure who it was when I first saw the pic, I just saw some fat guy that had fairly nice boobs!
About the same time, I read a magazine article that said that men who walk 11 miles a week don’t put one more belly fat (though don’t necessarily lose it either).
All three things prompted me to start walking (the magazine article really tipped the scale, but the doctor was the biggest influence–I can still remember that exact moment) and I’ve done it religiously since. At first a friend and I walked because he was trying to get exercise (and he had a boring job, too). Later he stopped but by then I was hooked. I now walk about 3.8 miles a day at work, about 65 minutes (though I work and eat at the same time, so it’s a wash).
Since then I’ve not really gained any weight. Though I was not gaining weight, I was not losing it either. So that was about it for two years. Not buying bigger pants, but not buying smaller. There were small improvements and my weight stayed within the lower end of about an 8 pound range that it seemed to fluctuate in. Finally last summer I was able to get in some shorts I could not get into the previous summer. So that was a slight improvement. I still have pants and shorts (some years old now) that I can’t get in–well maybe now I can get into some of them.
Then this spring I was talking to a friend at work and she was complaining about her tummy and not being able to get into some dresses. (She’s the ultimate diva, fashion queen, etc…. Looks very good for her about 50 years old, you’d never guess it, but did get a bit of a tummy). So we decided to encourage each other and both joined the health club. It’s very pricey, $58 a month with tax. I’m not one to spend that loosely so am taking it serious. Then I paid for a trainer–big, BIG bucks. And the first day he handed me some things on diet. I ate half a bag of Doritos while I read the stuff. But it all made sense. Lots of the things I eat were on the D and F list, very few from the A list. I’ve always known that diet and exercise go together, just didn’t really practice the diet part. Was eating out too often and too much, too.
Then [my niece] Kirsten sent me a link to http://www.mypyramid.com/ and I read up about food groups and balance in my diet–it was unbalance beforehand, not that many veggies and fruit and whole grains. From there I went to http://www.mypyramidtracker.com and learned I could track what I eat.
So, to make a very long story much shorter, I wanted to look better (vanity, yes), feel better (I do, if only mentally!), and live longer (only time will tell that). It’s 11 years since I quit smoking, now it’s time for another change, and time to get back to what I weighed back then. I figure if I can develop the workout and eat-right habits (just like I now have the walking habit), I will accomplish those goals.
Overall, I look damned good for a 55 [now 56] year old guy. Many people can’t believe I’m that old. And I’ve seen and met quite a few guys younger than me that look a lot worse (and some older that look a lot better). I want to be one of those that the other guys say “wow, he looks great for his age” when they think I’m only in my 40s, and then they’ll be totally blown away when then find out I’m 55–almost 56.
So, that’s my story. Thanks for asking! Hope you enjoyed.
So that is the answer I gave my niece, Kali, when she asked, and now it’s out there for all the world to see.
I’ve been going to the gym since I signed up on March 17, 2008 (my sister Jean’s birthday). I’ve lost about 20 pounds and redistributed more. My “large” size shirts look way too big on me, I had to buy mediums. My old pants are huge, I had to buy smaller. I still walk 3 times a day. I now do weight training four days a week, and cardio the other days. Lately on Saturdays I ride my bike. I can ride a full hour and not feel it. Before, I was hurting after going around the block. Do I feel better? Hell yes? Do I look better? You bet.
As for my friend, she’s not really going to the gym. After a while, I gave up on coaxing her. She’s gained a few pounds and not eating healthy and smart like she should. But, I’ve tried, she’ll have to learn for herself.
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!