For as long as I can remember, I thought it was funny that commercials would show 23 year old models with 10% body fat that would tell you how ‘out of shape’ they were but ‘now that they have been doing (fill in the blank)’ they are losing weight and look better than ever!!
I am not 23. I do not have 10% body fat. I was out of shape, and I still am, but I am making my way back.
Hello, my name is Chris. I am about to turn 50. I am 6’01” and weigh enough that, although I feel fine, the medical charts consider me ‘obese’. The charts say I should weigh 185-190.
I am not the type that joins the gym in January. I am also not the type that joins the gym and then consistently uses the membership to stay in shape. My two favorite food groups are pizza and beer and living in Portland creates quite a few opportunities for me to enjoy both. I have a wife and kids, I am building my business, and I travel a lot for work. All that leads to a lot of great excuses that help me avoid the reality that I need to take better care of myself.
Once I turned 40 I realized that things were different. I could no longer do what I wanted and metabolism would take care of it. My metabolism slooooooowed down and weight began to accumulate. Instead of taking action, I just covered my eyes and pretended that it would all be fine. Well, it wasn’t fine. I continued to put on weight. Slowly, but consistently. I went from an active, baseball playing, 230 pounder, to a sedentary, exercise-avoiding, 255 lbs who no longer felt comfortable in his skin. More than once, when I was 230, I heard the comment “Wow! You’re faster than you look.” It was almost a point of pride that I could carry weight and still be fast. I reached a point, however, where it was hard to breathe when I bent over to tie my shoes.
All journeys start with the first step. One day, I did. It was small but it was a step. I decided I would stop putting any sweeteners in my coffee. This doesn’t sound huge but you must first understand the love affair I had with Crème Brulee coffee creamer.
Just to keep me from going into shock, I did not make any other changes. Once I realized I wasn’t going to die, I slowly began reducing the dependence I had on foods that were contributing to my poor health. My company’s CEO, Dr. Bob Kohnle, told our office about the Ketogenic Diet and all the benefits that it brings. A friend of mine had recently started the same diet and had great success losing weight. They had been encouraging me to start, so I made the decision to continue reducing what was helping to cause my extra weight – added sugar. Once I started reducing my sugar intake I realized that my brain, and my taste buds, were okay with it…so I decided to really start putting effort into losing weight.
I cut out all sugar and limited my carbohydrates to 20g per day for one month to see what would happen. My weight has dropped from 255 to 241. I already feel better, have more energy, and even think clearer. I have found I am no longer dependent on comfort foods as I once was. Foods taste better and my portions have dropped. I am eating differently – but not in a way I feel I am missing out on anything. I enjoy what I am eating, I just need less of it and choose foods that are better for my health. (That doesn’t mean I won’t have a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with my kids occasionally. It just means 99% of the time, I don’t need to.) I still have a ways to go to my goal weight of 205. To speed up the process of losing weight, I’ve decided to add exercise 3 times a week.
The reasons I made this choice was simple. As I gained weight, I kept telling myself it ‘wasn’t that bad’. Well, it is that bad. I knew I felt better when I wasn’t carrying the weight. Either I start losing weight or my family might lose me. Not an option.
My motivation was staring at me every time I came home. My wife and kids are counting on me to be here.
Whatever your motivation is, find it, stare at it every day and don’t back down! You owe it to yourself to start. I am happy I did. I am still on this journey and I invite you to join me to a healthier, happier life!
Wellness Spotlight by Chris Bryant, Executive Business Advocate for Aliat.