Jeff Byers: Hoping Less is More
It is summertime and the living is easy. Unless you are setting a goal of losing 30 pounds by the end of the summer.
Yes, I am figuring by putting in print, I will put enough pressure on myself to achieve the goal.
I remember being in high school and college and wondering how people could let themselves go. Just exercise a bit, watch what you eat - how hard can it be? Have some pride, I’d think to myself. And now, I can feel those younger eyes looking at me, wondering and thinking the same thing. Damn kids! Where do they get the nerve?
But, hey, I’m busy. Of course, I was going to always stay in shape and be a picture of health. Somehow, life got in the way and I had priorities on other things. I am so busy - my schedule simply won’t allow for workouts and because I’m traveling a good bit, it’s too difficult to maintain a healthy diet.
What’s a bag of chips here going to hurt? It’s been a long day and a pint of ice cream will help me relax. Of course, I want cheese on those fries - might as well do it up right. And hey, I’ll get around to exercising tomorrow. No big deal, I have a handle on things. Excuses and justifications were pretty easy. This was how I came to be overweight, perhaps grossly so.
Sure, some people would suggest to me cutting down on the ice cream. Maybe not so many beers on the weekend. What?!? Ice cream is one of man’s necessities. And beer — well, I mean, come on, it’s beer.
And for a while I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t really overweight - well, at least not THAT overweight. Sure, I may have gained a little weight since college, but it’s not that bad.
But I actually decided to look in the mirror - I mean really look and, well, it was that bad. Then, I stepped on the scale and it was even worse. (I’m told that the scale in question is accurate, but it didn’t have to be so mean about it). My confidence, energy level and overall mood just aren’t what they should be.
So, the summer of fitness has begun. Now, listen, I’m not insane, so there will still be the occasional dish of ice cream, but I’ll try to not have four or five pints in a week. Perhaps a few less beers won’t be the end of civilization as we know it (though I think that is still debatable).
I am not going on any program per se - no Weight Watchers or Nutri System or anything along those lines. I have not even hired a trainer. I think sticking to one of the diet programs or working with a trainer is more than viable, but I also think this is something I can figure out on my own.
There is so much available for those looking to lose weight, but I want to figure out my own path. What I am trying is a simple approach - monitor what I eat and limit the fats and unnecessary carbs. And work out. I will do various cardiovascular work - running, swimming and using exercise equipment like the stair climber and stationary bike. And I will lift a few times a week.
My goal is not just to lose weight but to become more healthy. I realize that at the age of 43, chances are not good that I’ll return to my high school or college form, but it would be nice to be within reasonable access of that level of fitness.
I have friends and family who are marathon runners, triathletes and body builders. I am not setting out to become any of these, though I wouldn’t rule anything out. Well, OK, I am ruling out the body building.
But the quest has begun and I am determined to lose the weight and then keep it off. I have lost weight before but it has slowly - and sometimes quickly - come back and then added even more.
So, with health care costs and my age rising, I am simply declaring that I will not allow myself to gain the weight back this time. I will still eat my ice cream and drink my beer (hmm, a beer float perhaps?) but I will do so in much greater moderation and will accordingly adjust the workouts.
There are a variety of workouts and diets and regimens and anyone losing weight has to find what works and what is comfortable for them. At the end of the day, there won’t be any easy way to shed the pounds, but it will truly be worth it in the end.
So, while it’s not misery, it’s not joy either. Anyone interested in joining in on the summer of fitness, I welcome and encourage you because not misery enjoys company, too.
Now, let’s do this!
- Jeff Byers: Doo-Doo Duties - May 12, 2012
- Jeff Byers: Words We Choose are Sometimes Puzzling - May 5, 2012