Entrepreneurs absolutely do not like to lose. We’re winners at heart. But there’s one kind of a loss that is actually an enormous win. Give up? Let me give you some background. When I got married in January 1974, I was 19 years old; was 6’4” tall and weighed 150 pounds. It took many years before I “filled out.” But something else happened. The filling out didn’t stop. In August 2012, my weight had ballooned to 289 pounds! I had actually begun to make healthier choices in the years preceding this date and at one point had dropped to 245 pounds. But somehow the pounds I had lost were found again.
Carrying too much weight had a number of unsatisfactory consequences for me. My cholesterol and triglycerides were higher than they should be. My blood sugar was elevated and when I vacationed in the Colorado mountains, I huffed and puffed (and wheezed) just walking into a restaurant. My left knee had been weak for years and the extra weight exacerbated the issue. Finally, my clothes fit tightly and the size of my stomach was an embarrassment. A little voice in my head began screaming, “You are a prime candidate for a heart attack!”
To change a destructive behavior we usually need an “aha” moment. Sometimes it IS a heart attack that provides the wake-up call . . . assuming that we wake up afterwards. In August 2012 my “aha” moment was not so dramatic, but it was just as powerful. My oldest grandson was six years of age at the time and his daddy isn’t in the picture. He definitely needs a father figure in his life – a role that I had been filling. The realization that I might not be around when he needed me most hit me like a sledgehammer. But I knew that a diet would not work. And I knew that if the pounds came off too fast, the weight loss wouldn’t last. Thus I embarked upon a complete lifestyle change that has become permanent.
I have always exercised and in August 2012, I was lifting weights three days each week and about 30-minutes of cardio five days a week. Today, in August 2014, I exercise seven days a week for a total of 10 hours. My cardio consists of walking at a pretty good pace – last week I walked nearly 32 miles. A personal trainer adjusts my weight lifting routine every five weeks – something I still do three days each week. And I’ve become addicted to the Fitbit®, a wearable device that tracks my steps, calorie burn, sleep pattern, etc. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps each day – I’m usually achieving 14,000 – 16,000 steps daily.
I love the way I eat. I gave up sugar in 2006; have eliminated dairy, and am mostly gluten-free. The biggest difference maker was cutting out the carbohydrates – mainly the simple carbs. I eat a lot of protein – a cardiologist told me I could eat as much red meat as I wanted – provided I continued doing everything else I am doing. Thanks to the Fitbit® I am able to log everything I eat into a computer program that calculates the number of calories I am consuming. The awareness of calories in vs. calories out has helped me fine tune my food consumption. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a medical professional who specializes in blood chemistry and prescribes an extensive regimen of supplements based upon my blood work every four months.
Today, I now weigh 218 pounds – a loss of 71 pounds in two years. I am within eight pounds of the target weight my doctor and I agreed upon. I feel stronger and healthier than at any time in decades. I’ve made excellent progress with my blood work and have been able to eliminate several prescribed medications. My knee doesn’t hurt anymore. My bank account is smaller as a result of the constant tinkering with my wardrobe – stuff just doesn’t fit – but that’s I problem I can live with. My stomach bulge is nearly gone. People who haven’t seen me for a while tell me that the change in appearance is dramatic. A recent scan showed an exceptionally low plaque build-up in the primary arteries of my heart muscle. I have seemingly dodged the proverbial bullet. And my chances of being around for a long time to support BOTH of my grandsons seem pretty good.
I’m glad I paid attention to my “aha” moment. I’m glad I found the way to be healthy that is just right for me. I’m glad I found the tools that I needed to help me with my journey. There’s no turning back. I’m not the least bit concerned about any backsliding because my LIFE has changed permanently. Perhaps you have something in your life that you want to change permanently. I’m a walking testament to the truth that you absolutely can.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.