Keep on Keeping On

A bunch of age-related health issues hit me around my fiftieth birthday. My BMI (Body Mass Index) was well over 30 (obese), my activity level was zero, and the scale had drifted close to 250 pounds. Even my dress pants had elastic waistbands. Middle-age had caught up with me, taken up residence around my waist, and given me brand new man boobs that jiggled when I walked.

A close call with cancer and a simultaneous brush with adult-onset diabetes were a wake up call. My lifestyle was killing me. Unless I wanted to go on disability, wear a shirt for the rest of my life, and ride around in one of those motorized carts at Walmart, things had to change.

Changing everything about my life has been an ongoing process. It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve often quit. But I’ve never given up. Within a day or two–a week at the most–I’m back on the program. I keep on keeping on because I know what will happen if I don’t.

I’ve stuck with my diet and exercise plan for more than a year now. That’s a record for me. Winter usually throws me way off my game. This year, instead of carb-loading and hibernating, I went to the gym. The gym membership enabled me to maintain a high level of activity that kept me from putting on any weight for the first time in at least 30 winters.

Sticking with the program is easy when I’m seeing results. Success breeds success. When I feel like the diet changes and exercise are making a difference, it’s easier to stick to the plan. If I’m not seeing results and don’t feel like I’m making any progress, I get discouraged. What difference does it make if I eat another donut or order pizza?

There’s just no good way to measure the results. Without a good measure, it’s easy to feel like I’m not making any progress. Now I know that if I’m eating the way I should and exercising for an hour or more five or six times a week, my body changes in positive ways that don’t always show up on the scale.

Focusing on the bathroom scale definitely doesn’t work. My weight has hardly changed in the last year. Fortunately, my trainer checks my measurements every three months. I’ve lost inches in my chest and waist and gained them everywhere else and lowered my percent body fat by four percent. My lab work has improved, too–so much so that I was able to quit taking one of my prescriptions.

There are other changes, too. No more elastic waistbands. My BMI is heading towards normal. I’m a lot stronger, I can run for miles, and thanks to Zumba, I can move my hips like few men my age can do.

Tomorrow is my weigh in day. For the last two mornings, my weight has fallen below 220–the glass ceiling I’ve struggled to break for more than a year. I had a good run today and a fun hour of Zumba.  And to make sure I have a good weigh in tomorrow, I’m heading out now to mow the yard here at…

My Glass House

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