In so many ways....I am just like so many of you. I am a Husband, a Father, a Son, a Friend and a Colleague. As a young kid growing up just outside NYC, I had a few things going against me in regard to a healthy future.........A family history of heart issues, a family love of food and eating, an omnipresence of all kinds of unhealthy (but yummy) foods and a mesomorphic body type. I managed to stay reasonably healthy, active and fit until college. In high school, I was an athlete and was fairly active. It was in college that I stopped my aerobic/physical activity and began to put on my freshman 15.......unfortunately that freshman 15 kept adding on year after year through three pregnancies (my wife's) and many other life events. As a fledgling chef I worked long stressful hours where I certainly was not sedentary, but the activity I did get was stressful and not aerobic! It got my heart going in a bad way! Also, I would not eat all day due to the workload until I was off for the night. Only then, around 11 pm would I consume my three daily meals in one sitting! This was my pattern for years.......And so I would gain weight, get fed up and try to lose it......to no avail. Nothing would work. Of course, I did not exercise, so my strategy was to just eat like a rabbit. Very hard to do when you are around giant steaks, bbq ribs, scalloped potatoes and beer all the time!
This pattern of binge eating and crash dieting went on.......for almost 17 years. Two years ago at a routine appt, my MD told me that if I did not take care of my weight and exercise issues, I would be at risk for a bevy of health ailments and would have to start taking blood pressure meds and lipitor for the rest of my life!.....Whoa!
Still, it took me until January of 2007 when I tipped the scales at my highest ever, 290 to have an epiphany. I did not want to break 300 pounds and thanks to my local Krispy Kreme....I was headed there fast! For me, it takes a lot of self-loathing to get motivated to lose weight. A Stanford co-worker whom I did not think of as "healthy" invited me to go work out with him one day. I was feeling sorry for myself and this perked me up. I thought, "If this guy is going to the gym, why the heck aren't I?" At first it was a struggle....I hadn't even been IN a gym for 20+ years! I wanted to lose 100 lbs in a day. I had to restrain myself from thinking this way, opting instead on focusing on the bigger picture. What are my goals for today? For next week? 3 months? A year? 5 years? If I can set attainable goals and reach them, I would be able to extend my goals. After a month of 5 day a week, one hour cardio workouts...I was utterly and completely hooked. If I missed a day at the gym, I would feel bad and promise myself I would make it up on the weekend with a walk or trip to my neighborhood "Y". My eating habits changed too. I wasn't eating like a rabbit, I decided that I would eat whatever I wanted, just not as much. If this meant not losing weight fast, so be it....food is not the enemy...I love food......and eating.....I just would not let my desire for food overcome my goals. As I went on...I found that my desire to eat pork, red meat, donuts and ice cream diminished...as I got fit, I did not want to put these things in my body as much anymore! I began losing weight....and I felt healthier.....my fear that the scary Elliptical would give me a well deserved heart attack did not come true. In fact, I was kicking that machine's ass!
After 6 mos of cardio, I added weight training to my regiment. I asked "Dr." Phil at Arrillaga to recommend a workout and he obliged in stunning fashion.
My weekly routine is this;
-5 days of cardio; 30 min elliptical, 20 min treadmill
2 days of upper body resistance/weights
1 day of lower body resistance/weights
This takes about 1.5 hours a day total.
Now......as a result of my commitment to health, my cholesterol is down, my blood pressure is 120 over 80 every time and I have lost 45 lbs on my way to my goal weight of 200 lbs. I can also see the results when I look in the mirror, in people's faces when they see me, on the scale and in the gym. Although, this story is not finished, I know now I will be the best Husband, Father, Son, Friend and Colleague I can be for the rest of my life!
The funny thing is.....you can too if you put your mind and body to it!
What an amazing, inspiring story - thank you so much for sharing it! I know there are so many people out there who felt the way you did and showing what's possible by just taking small steps in the right direction will no doubt be an inspiration. People think you have to change it all immediately, but it's the slow, gradual change that time and again is proven to work. I have NO doubt you'll make it to your goal. Enjoy every step of the way!
Thanks for sharing this with us, Jeff! Success stories like this are very inspiring - I am sure many members will benefit from this. Looking forward to hearing more from you as you continue to make progress towards your goal.
I love the title, "If I can do it, so can you" because I'm sure there are some people out there who will read this and think they cannot do it. It's also great that you are not only doing this for yourself, but your friends, family, and co-workers. Keep up the great work!
Jeff, keep it up! I think the most captivating thing about your entry is the fact that you are everyman, and that's the thing that some people forget - it's not just the bodybuilders and marathon runners that are interested in being healthy - we all are. In this country, so much of health care is waiting until something is broken to fix it - so important to take care of yourself and exercise preventative care! Keep up the good work!
So many times we want an instant fix for our weight. We want to believe those 10 lbs in three days promos on television. The truth is, that we put it on over a period of time and we have to take it off the same way. Thanks for sharing!!!