It was five years ago today.
I struggled to sit up in bed, getting my 300+ pounds moving in an upward trajectory was not easy. I sat there and pondered getting up to walk to the bathroom. Pushed myself to standing and turned to Missus and told her that I was starting that day to get healthy.
I was 50 years old and I felt much older. I felt weak all the time. Tired and out of breath all the time. I took my two blood pressure meds every morning. I got winded on the flight and a half from the first floor of our home to the second.
Bending over to tie my shoes was exhausting because I couldn’t breathe when bent over
like that. I had any number of adaptations to my size. All of which only slightly mitigated the difficulties caused by a 48-inch waist and 52-inch chest.
Finally, on December 27, 2011, I reached the breaking point. I finally had enough of being
fat, being physically unfit and being tired all the time.
I finally got tired of waiting to have the heart attack and decided it was time to start living.
Trust me, I am not being overly dramatic here.
Considering the Reasons
Over the five years since I started on my Journey I have thought about this many times,
thought about it deeply and in detail and I have come to the conclusion that I had simply accepted that I would have a heart attack one day and it would take my life and I would be the latest member of the family to succumb to the family curse of heart disease. Having accepted that, I gave myself permission to eat like a ravenous hog and to eat anything I desired. And I desired a lot.
On December 27, 2011 I made a different decision. I decided I would fight against the family curse. I would do what my father and his father and his grandfather before him didn’t do.
I would eat right, I would eat less and I would move more.
I still don’t know what triggered it that morning. I know that a few days before, on Christmas Eve, I had caught my reflection in a floor to ceiling window and I was aghast at what I saw, but that had happened before and it never triggered such a life-change before.
Whatever it was that happened in my head that morning in late December, it stuck. I started to walk, to eat less, to eat right. I learned to cut out snacking, decrease portion size, stay away from fast food, watch my calories and balance my diet.
I had many issues to work through. I still didn’t know what caused me to be the family
member who got fat, why I used food as comfort and security, why I needed food from an emotional level. All of that self exploration and discovery was ahead of me as I sat on that bed that December morning. I had made the decision. I was going to lose the weight. I was going to live a healthier lifestyle. I didn’t know where the Journey would take me. That was many painful lessons to come.
Progress was rapid.
By March I was back on my bike for short rides. I gave up red meat in April. By June I was riding 50 miles at a clip. In November I gave up poultry.
And I kept walking and riding and hiking. In October of 2012 I bought a new bike, in November I climbed a mountain with PGB and MT and there is a picture of me exultant at the top.
And I have kept doing it.
I kept walking right through a torn meniscus in the summer of 2012. I couldn’t ride but I could walk.
I kept riding (foolishly) through a broken clavicle in 2014.
Through the holidays and cookouts, parties and celebrations I kept eating right and I ate less even when confronted with favorite foods.
Where I am Now.
Yes, I have gained a bit of the weight back. 35+ pounds. It is coming off again. I look at that as a step back, not a failure. I am beating the odds. The Odds say I should have gained back ALL of the weight I have lost. I lost 120 from my absolute peak. I have gained back 35. I think that is a victory all by itself but I am not sitting back and basking in the glory. I understand the risk.
I still do not eat red meat or poultry. I do eat some fish. My preference is to stay with a vegetarian diet but sometimes fish enters the equation. When at a restaurant with friends and no true vegetarian dish is on the menu and faced with making a dinner of vegetable side dishes or a piece of fish, I will have the fish.
Last year I only rode about 1200 miles on my bike. Next year I am aiming for 4,500. I may not get there but I have set the goal and I am determined to give it all I have.
I also plan to get back to 210 pounds. I am certain I will do that.
I am determined to continue to, Eat right, Eat less, Move more.
I will continue to write this blog.
I am 55 years old now. I started this Journey at 50. I said then that this was an effort to get lean and fit for a lifetime. Not for the High School Reunion or a nephew’s wedding. Not so I would look good on the beach (that ship sailed a long time ago). This is to stay alive as long as I possibly can.
And there are no dramatics there. Just fact.
Thank you for joining me on the Journey. Your encouragement has kept me going more often than I can tell you.