It’s been almost three months since my move to Boise. It’s the first time I’ve lived on my own since I was 21 years old, when I could eat anything and still stay thin. As a 43-year old, the eat anything diet no longer works and I’m about 20-30 pounds overweight with high cholesterol and blood pressure. I am on medicine for both, but so was my dad when he had first heart attack at age 38. Before I was on this adventure by myself, loved ones would try to help me along by making sure I was eating right or going to the gym enough but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t sneaking a burger or a pizza for lunch or on the way home from work. Even with help from others, fitness wasn’t something that I was overly concerned about. I cared about what I looked like, but I cared about my accomplishments and what my paycheck looked like more, so all of my extra time was dedicated to work. After a recent doctor’s appointment, I was told that my blood pressure, even with medication and even with a new job with less stress, was so high that my daily intake of caffeine through energy drinks or soda made me a very high risk for stroke. I had to make a decision. Either I increase the dosage of my meds or I start getting serious about my health. If you think that this is the point where I made the right decision, you’d be wrong. I was battling a little depression and I honestly didn’t care all that much about how long I was going to live. I figured that eventually we’re all going to die and I even considered helping the process along by not taking my prescriptions. Recently, my kids came to visit me and I realized that I have a pretty damn good life and one that is worth living. My life could be fun, satisfying and all the things that I had hoped for when I was younger, but if I am going to choose to live, something is going to have to change.
Over the years I’ve had fitness highs and lows, the scale would go up and down and I would look good or bad depending on how I was feeling about myself. My wife is a personal trainer and she would try to help me but keeping me motivated was a struggle. I know now that keeping me motivated isn’t anyone’s job but my own.
The reason I couldn’t stay motivated was pretty simple: I am a highly-driven, results oriented person. I set a goal, I work hard to reach it and I move to the next one. There are things that come pretty natural to me and there are things that I have to work very hard at. If I don’t see results, I work harder, especially if it seems like an impossible task to others. When it comes my health, I take shortcuts with my diet, lose weight fast and then gain it all back even faster. Short-term wins, long-term losses, exactly the opposite of who I am in the rest of my life.
With a family that I love, a great job in a city like Boise, and no responsibilities after work, I have no more excuses. I am going into this knowing that it’s going to be hard. I understand that just like with any job, it takes time to lay the right foundation before I will see results and I have to be okay with that. In the end, I will be able to get off of the medicine and I will be able to enjoy my life longer because of the choices that I’m making today.
The reason I’m writing all of this is because just saying it isn’t enough for me. There needs to be a record of it so that I will hold myself accountable for the results. My goal isn’t ridiculous, it’s 30 pounds over the course of a year, 20 pounds in six months, and 10 pounds in the next two months. If I don’t reach these goals, I will readjust them instead of quitting. I will not get so down on myself that I send myself into a spiral of depression and stop doing the work.
With every goal, there needs to be a realistic, actionable plan and here it is: 1.) Meet with a trainer to go over my diet. 2.) Create a system for my eating, filled with proper nutrition so that I’m not getting too hungry and settling for food that I shouldn’t eat. 3.) Work with a trainer once a week to look over the past week’s diet and create an exercise plan for that week. 4.) Go to the gym a minimum of three days a week to do the program. 5.) Take advantage of group fitness classes to supplement what I’m already doing. 6.) Learn to enjoy it. I’ve never been someone that has liked going to the gym but I can find things that I don’t hate and try to have fun doing them.
Next update in one week.