Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some of my lessons learned

This blog was inspired by my brother Adam. He has a blog that he is using to chronicle his weight loss journey and I thought that this would be a fun way to talk about weight loss, fitness, and just general health.

When Scott was born, 6 years ago, Michelle and I were both much heavier than we should have been. Although our general health was good, it would have been just a matter of time before the obesity caught up with us. Type II diabetes runs in my family and I knew that if I didn't get my weight under control, the odds of having diabetes was extremely high. I also got tired of not being able to tie my shoes without having to hold my breath. Now, six years later, I am 40 pounds lighter and in much better shape. I still have about 15 pounds to lose before I am satisfied. I have learned several important lessons along the way. First, diets don't work. I know more people than I can count who have gone on the Atkins diet or the Southbeach diet or whatever diet and lost weight only to gain it all back. The problem with diets is that they only treat symptoms. The key to healthy weight loss is to change your lifestyle. I am not very good controlling what I eat but I am getting much better at controlling the portions I eat. Understanding myself has been the first step to change. I know that I love chocolate. Rather than cut it out from my diet altogether in a herculean effort to be thin immediately, I have learned to limit the amount I eat. Nevertheless, there are still quite a few changes I need to make regarding my eating habits. I'm working on them slowly. The second thing I have learned is that exercise is paramount. The best way to keep on an exercise program is to do something you love. Although running on a treadmill is an excellent way to burn a lot of calories quickly, it is incredibly boring. I really like to ride my bike. Last year I invested in a very nice bike and it has paid me back 10 fold. I also like group exercise classes. I liked them so much that three and a half years ago, I became an instructor. Now I have a reason to show up at the gym and to work hard.

Weight control and fitness are lifelong pursuits that require desire and self discipline. One of the things I tell my classes is that they should be having fun. I know I do.

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