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  Week of 11/15/2012 - Featured Board Post

My Journey

I have finally arrived at a BMI that puts me into a "healthy" weight range. Although I have not quite yet met my final target, I want to post this as a reflection on a journey that started 6 months and 75 pounds ago. I have done some things right, some things wrong, learned a lot, gone forwards, backwards...perhaps in reading this, someone can learn something that might help them, or learn what not to do.

I am a 5'8" 40 year old man who, in April, was 240 lbs (obese using any measure you like), and had BP and cholesterol problems as well as aches, pains, and chronic back issues. As of this post, I am at 167 lbs, run 8kms or rollerblade 18kms five days/week, play rec sports, have ideal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and have lost 12 inches around my waist.

As a caveat, I don't and have never believed in a one-size-fits-all to health. If anyone claims to have the key for everyone, be very skeptical. The lessons learned for me below are applicable to me and my body...and may not apply to you and your body, or your psyche.

Some random reflections:

- I had to hit rock bottom to do what was necessary to get healthy. "Not a G.D. pound more!" is what went through my head when I saw 240lbs on the scale, after going through much of my adult life around 160lbs.

- I have a very supportive wife, who never pushed me or guilted me into anything. Without her, I'm not sure this would have been possible...or at least, it would have taken much longer.

- I had to block out the chorus of voices telling me "everything in moderation"...at the beginning. Yes, this is a good approach in the long run. But until I saw serious results, "moderation" for me was code for "slacking"...I could easily 'moderate' myself right back to the couch and into the Hagen Daas. So when a friend said "ah címon, just one bite" or "ah címon, just one beer", I stuck to my guns for the first couple of months...and am glad for it.

- I didn't realize the body could recover from years of abuse. But it can. Cholesterol levels, BP, fitness, muscle tone...it all gets better. Never think that mountain is too big to climb.

- Track everything you eat. But don't lie to yourself. You can lie to your boss, your friends, your family, but don't lie to yourself. If you ate a candy bar, write it down.

- I didn't know that I could get myself off of salt. Salt was like crack to me. But now I can barely stand restaurant food, for all the salt. This was a shock.

- I now love the taste of veggies without dips, sauces, dressings, or even seasoning. It just took some time to train my taste buds.

- Restaurants are the devil. Of course, because of social rules and just plain fun, they can't be avoided. But for the most part, when my plan went off the rails, I could trace it to restaurant food (yes, even the 'healthy' options). I have to plan around my restaurant visits, being diligent before/after in my other food.

- The more decadent the food, the more slowly I have to eat. I had to be very very conscious of this...because otherwise I could inhale 4 of my Aunt's butter tarts faster than you can say "trans-fat".

- I live life all-or-nothing. It is who I am. It often doesn't serve me well, but like a weapon, it can be very helpful if aimed in the right direction. This will be my battleground in keeping the weight off...if I try to deny it, I'll be back to 240 in a year.

Click here to read more of Stephenís reflections! ›

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