This year, my wife and I celebrated 23 years of marriage. A lot has changed over the course of time. We have moved numerous times. We have welcomed three children into this world. We have seen one of them get married this year. We have each held a variety of different jobs. We have seen good times as well as hard times. We have been involved in different ministries and churches. We even started a church and filled in at another while the church was without a pastor. All in all, it has been a wonderful 23 years.
One thing that has not been so wonderful is what has happened to my body over the course of the years. When I first met my wife 27 years ago this month, there was a bit less of me than there is now. I weighed in at 165 pounds. I was within my weight range and felt pretty good. Unfortunately, over the course of time and due to behaviors within my control, circumstances outside my control, and the joys of growing older, that weight has crept up to the point that I now weigh in at a whopping 275 pounds! OUCH!! This has prompted me to ask the question: “How did I get here from there?”
Let’s be honest, the biggest reason (no pun intended) that I am where I am weight-wise is because of my own choices. I love to eat. I am not an emotional eater for the most part; I just love the taste of food. I too often eat because something tastes good or sounds good, not because I am hungry. I was also brought up in a home where you were taught to eat everything on your plate. This is a good practice, by the way, but when coupled with a Hungarian mom who loved to have you eat as much as she loves to cook (and usually cooks for an army, some have said), meal times always saw plenty of food and a good variety of it. Eating a lot was not a problem growing up, because we were growing kids who also remained fairly active. We had chores to do and, since we only got one television station, we spent a lot of time outdoors making up our own fun.
However, as I got older and went away to college, my activity level decreased and my vertical growth naturally slowed. My eating habits did not change though, and the vertical growth I once enjoyed began going horizontal. By time we got married, I had gained 10 pounds. By time we had been married another 8 years, I had crept up another 25 pounds (an average of only 3 pounds per year)! I would try to diet, but most of these were self-created and extremely restricting which ultimately would sabotage my success. During our eighth year of marriage, I was in a head-on collision that resulted in injuries that hindered me from doing much of anything for a month or so. This would see the addition of another 15 pounds. Over the years that followed, I would get motivated for a while in losing weight and then lose focus. I tried self-made diets, packaged programs, and old fashioned calorie counting – All of which would show some success until I got frustrated or side-tracked and, before long I would be back to where I was … and beyond.
So, what has negatively affected my ability to get the weight off and keep it off? There are always a number of factors. The two biggest ones for me have been, first of all. looking at the changes I need to make in my eating patterns as a “diet” rather than a “lifestyle change”. Diets begin and end whereas lifestyle is just that: a style for life. The second problem is that I have treated the process more like a 100-meter dash than a marathon. Like so many people, I start out “full-speed ahead” trying to run a race in terms of days to overcome an issue that took years to get into. I try to make too many changes all at once, most of which have been unrealistic. Too many changes equate to too much to have to keep track of, which builds frustration and sets one up for failure.
I am setting out to make some lifestyle changes and hope that a side effect of that will be the loss of 100 pounds to get me back to where I was when we got married. I am looking for some people to join me in the challenge. This is NOT about weight loss, though that is a part of it. It is about eating healthier, making better choices, and being more fit overall. We are not out to deprive you of “real” food or make you into a jock. I just want to get healthy to facilitate my ability to live life to the full, and to help you do the same.
We are going to do this one step at a time, taking it easy but steady. We will start off initially with a few steps and then add one step each week to help us on our journey. Tips offered will be tips I myself am taking that week. I would like to hear the steps you are taking as well – whether they be the same or different.
Will you join me?
Here is what I need from you to get started in this free challenge:
1) Take your measurements. Weigh yourself. Measure your neck, waist and hips. The reason for measuring more than your weight is that, later as you increase activity, you will gain muscle which weighs more than fat. This will cause the scale to go unchanged even though you may be getting slimmer. For the record, my measurements are 275, 20.5, 54, and 50 respectively.
2) Begin a daily food log. Now, before you tune me out, let me explain. This is perhaps the greatest tool you will ever use. There is one basic law to weight loss: calories out must exceed calories in. A daily food log will help you manage those calories. You may be surprised at the calories you ingest, like I was! Now, before you tell me that you do not have time to count calories, let me put that myth to rest. We always seem to be able to make time for the things we really want to do. How bad do we want this? And now, with the advancement of the internet, it is easier and quicker than ever. Sign up for a free account at sparkpeople.com or myfitnesspal.com and, in the time it takes you to type in a food, your calories will be automatically calculated — as well as your protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake. You can also set the sites to automatically calculate any other elements you want to track, like sodium intake. Both of these web sites also have apps for your smartphone to make it easy to do at work, restaurants, on vacation, or anywhere else you do not have a computer handy. Or you can always do it the old-fashioned way with pen, paper, and calorie counter book.
3) Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are joining me in the journey. Include your desired goals along with your measurements. I will, in turn, send you a link to a private facebook group for this challenge where you can contact me anytime and interact with others participating in this challenge. In the facebook group we will share helpful tools and tips, and hold each other accountable to what we say we want to accomplish. Tamara will be sharing some of her expertise as a registered nurse and health coach, too!
Haven’t we all waited long enough? Join today! I am looking forward to partnering together with you!