Here’s a post that’s a little more personal than my usual travelogues, but with luck it might inspire a reader or two.
Last year, September 5, 2019 (day after Labour Day) I decided it was time to start changing the way I ate. I was careful not to think of myself “going on a diet” as I didn’t want to view this as temporary. I had a goal to lose weight and improve my health through eating ‘better’ and starting to exercise again.
Well, here I am one year later and I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out. In the summer of 2018, my Endocrinologist casually mentioned that I had been gaining 5 pounds a year for the past 4 years. I might have mentioned (or thought) “Hmmm… that’s not sustainable”. So combined with the feeling that I just might live a few more years, I decided I had to do something.
I set a goal of losing 30 pounds to get back under 190. I knew it would take a while, and there was no quick fix. My diet at that time wasn’t all that bad, I rarely ate processed food for meals, but enjoyed chips, cookies and a couple of beer (yes, just 2!) in the evening. Some of these things had to go.
First off, I cut out carbs like potatoes and rice. I started buying Caesar salad packages for dinner. I stopped buying cookies and chips (at home) and replaced an evening beer with a cup of tea. Nothing really dramatic, but change came quickly. By Christmas I had ‘misplaced’ over 20 pounds.
Then the holidays arrived. How bad would it be to partake in an abundance of holiday food and treats. Apparently, fairly bad – as 10 pounds I had misplaced were found in a week.
Oops – back at in January and it’s been slow going, but with continual progress. A lesson learned!
I bought a Fitbit in January and this has really helped. It tracks my steps, but I also log all of my food. I helps keeps me honest and now I pay closer attention to staying active and eating less crap food. I can look back and see that I have averaged 1,646 calories a day last month and averaged 7,295 steps.
This year has been good, I’ve stayed with the new regimen and continued to lose weight. I’ve also started exercising on a somewhat regular basis. I’ve tried to get out for more walks with Diamond and even started to jog a little.
I used to run back in the 80s but developed severe shin splints which came back every time I tried to start running again. This time around, I’ve spent more time walking and stretching to build up the muscles in my legs to take less stress off the shins and my one wonky knee.
Last month we had a couple of long distance cyclists visit with us and that inspired me to dust off my bike and fix a flat. Now I’m trying to get out each day and ride around Chester with the goal of soon riding to nearby towns.
So, here I am one year later and feeling better, having more energy, and strong enough to walk, run or ride short distances.
This is a far cry from a few years back when I was dealing with a pituitary tumour and messed up body chemistry. Thanks to the NIH, that’s all sorted out now and hopefully my days of endless fatigue are over.
So what’s in store for next year? One change I made this week is to drink more water. I’m doubling from 32oz to 64oz daily and just in a couple of days noticed I don’t need my afternoon coffee to keep me going. I plan to increase distances for running and cycling in the coming year. I want to get under 180 and have some room for indulging in my favourite foods. I still grab a donut at Caseys or a bag of chips for the drive home from the grocery store (but road calories don’t count, do they?).
In the end what this all comes down to is that I’m not getting any younger (I’ll be 59 this month) and if I want to enjoy life and do the things I want to do, then changes had to happen.
Time flies as we get older, and I really had no excuses to put off what should have been done years ago. When I found Diamond, I calculated that I would be 74 if he lives as long as Buck did. I want to be able to keep walking him and enjoying life with him. I want still have the energy to get out and shoot photos when and where I want. So it all comes back to staying healthy.
So if you’ve read this far, thanks. I’m not looking platitudes here – just telling a story that I hope might inspire someone else to start taking the easy steps to a healthier, better life.