This time of the year, you may be motivated to join a health club, buy some home exercise equipment or join one of those clubs that gives you points for eating expensive food you must buy from them. If it works for Oprah, why won’t it work for you? Because we all know that it’s not going to work for Oprah either. So - Don’t do it. Let me tell you my story and a new way to get healthy.
In 1985, I weighed about 255 lbs. I know this because I was in some wedding parties of friends, and in one case when fitted for clothing my waist had ballooned to 45 inches or so. I love to eat - I love to eat chocolate, and although I was trying to exercise 3 times a week, I wasn’t very successful at staying healthy. My pre-bedtime routine each evening was a large glass of buttermilk, lots of bread and honey, something I had been doing all of my life. It was just one of many bad eating habits that had become rituals.
When I started at Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan in 1985 to be trained to become a psychologist, we lived in Spartan Village. It was “over the tracks” side of the University, and we had only one small used car. My wife had the two pre-schoolers at home, so I needed to walk to class so she could have the car to escape our very small and very dilapidated apartment. Walking 2-4 miles a day gradually over time started to help me lose that weight. I wasn’t trying to lose weight; I was just trying to get to class. Exercise was a by-product of some other need, which is why I HAD to do it 5 days a week.
Eventually, over the 2 years I was in residence at Michigan State, I had lost about 30 or so pounds, and to this day haven’t gained that back. I don’t do diets or anything like that; still love chocolate, pasta and the occasional Czech pastry. Now I HAVE to exercise for different reasons that I’ll share in next week’s blog.
Losing weight is about two things, Diet and Exercise. So how did I change my diet? My first step was to replace my buttermilk and honey bread night snacks with a piece of fruit. I didn’t take anything away, just replaced the not so good eating with better eating. I also learned to drink black coffee, and by doing that taking all of that white sugar out of my diet. It only took about a week to get used to black coffee to better enjoy the flavour of the beans. I also learned to eat more healthy snacks between meals, to not really get seriously hungry anymore. I changed my eating behaviour after getting a snapshot of my diet with feedback from a professional.
These two simple steps, Exercising for Purpose and replacing bad food with better food, have kept me on the right track. The thing is that I don’t feel like I’m dieting or exercising to lose weight. I’m just living life and any weight loss is slow and low.
In next week’s blog, I’ll get specific on how you can start with a new way to make yourself improve your Exercise and food habits. When it comes to this topic, I do believe that slow and low is the only way to go.