About four years ago I weighed 257 pounds (although I carried it well :-). I didn’t hate myself, but I knew I wanted to live a long life so I set a goal for myself: I want to dance at my grandkids weddings. This meant I would have to live a long time and arrive there in good shape.
This started me on a path toward working out and changing how I look at food. Like most people, I like to eat. On second thought: I LOVE TO EAT. It’s so central to who we are as people and since I love hanging out with people, enjoying company over a great meal makes the experience even better. So in all of that hanging out, I packed on some pounds.
Sometimes the thing you want MOST will require you to give up something you like A LOT.
Thankfully I didn’t have to give up social eating, I just had to change the way I did it. I started doing Weight Watchers on my phone, got serious about working out and learned what it meant to stop eating when I was full. That might sound funny to some, but I regularly ate until I was stuffed (hey I’m competitive). Now I haven’t been in full fitness mode for the whole last four years. It’s been a journey and sometimes I get serious about it, other times I slack off and plateau. In January I was 223 pounds. I had plateaued there for a while between 218 and 222.
So in January at my church, we each chose “one word” for the year. A single word to provide focus and direction for the year and mine was “press”. Part of that “press” for me was to choose a physical goal for myself so I chose to enter a jiu-jitsu tournament in May. I had never done jiu-jitsu before but that’s another story. I decided to enter in the 200 pound weight class so I had about 4 ½ months to drop 22 pounds.
The reason I’m boring you with all of this is because yesterday was a milestone for me in a couple of ways:
1. I turned 45 years old. Man, I have had a blessed life, I have a beautiful wife and some amazing kids. I am surrounded by great friends and family, I pastor a great church and I have more than I’ve ever deserved. I also have many friends who didn’t make it 45 times around the sun so I don’t take a single day for granted. I’m happy to turn 45.
2. I weighed in at 207 pounds. That puts me at 50 pounds lost since I began this journey. I know I still have a way to go, but I’m glad to be where I’m at today.
This whole fitness thing is a journey. For what it’s worth, here are a couple of things I’ve learned:
1. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Make small changes that you can sustain over time. Next time you go to the grocery store, buy a few healthy things you can munch on when you watch TV. Start out with some kind of exercise you enjoy. Don’t kill yourself, just focus on a small sustainable change. If you change a little everyday, over time that equals a lot.
2. Don’t beat yourself up. You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made. Just accept it and move on, don’t dwell on it. Don’t revisit it. From here on out, you will make better choices, not just for you but for your spouse, for your kids. Decide you will dance at your grandkids weddings (maybe even on the bar!)
3. You’re probably not exhausted, you’re just uncomfortable. If you’re not used to exercising at all, one walk around the block will seem exhausting. But chances are: you’re not exhausted, you’re just uncomfortable. When you’re uncomfortable, you have a choice to make: will I quit or will I push past this, even just a little? Exhaustion is rare, but being uncomfortable is going to happen, EVERY WORKOUT. So learn what that feels like and push a little past it every time. Over time you will find that line moves as you get in better shape.
I hope this encourages somebody. Thanks for reading, talk to you soon.