Why health is so important.
We take our health for granted until something goes wrong. The body requires very little to give you lifelong happiness but we are all subject to advertising and environmental conditioning.
I never realised how exciting it is to have my body back. After being overweight (obese) for the last 15 years it wasn't until I got my life back on track that I realised how much damage I was doing to my body.
Even after all that when I started to focus on regaining my health it was incredible at how resilient and quickly it repairs itself.
How am I going to tackle this?
I had started many diets and failed miserably at all of them. I didn't have the willpower to follow through with all the plans I had been given. They require a lot of time, effort and were no fun.
This is where my major mistake was made. It isn't any fun following a discipline. It does require willpower. I would love to say it's as easy as popping a pill. But it's not.
First, I had to make a serious decision, did I want to be healthy and was it worth the effort?
I thought about this for weeks while I munched on a bag of potato chips, yum!
My life was very comfortable, I had a couch, a TV and food in the fridge. Why change?
I don't even know why I wanted to change this life I had got used to. Yes, I did! I am 62 and thinking that it wouldn't be long before I would end up in a wheelchair and not have an independent lifestyle.
That was not going to happen on my watch. I needed to tackle this health problem head on.
Why I started running.
Most people start with their diet. I decided to start with exercise.
I was not ready to change my eating plan but I could exercise more. Even though I know exercise does not really help you lose weight but it does get the organs working more efficiently/better.
Running may seem a bit radical for most people but what I started with could not be called running. I basically started shuffling. Not walking but definitely running even though it was as slow as walking.
Lifting my legs up slightly higher than walking and looking to all intents as though I was running even though fast walkers would overtake me. I was not out to prove myself, I wanted to do something that would raise my heart beat and make me feel I had had a workout.
People might have said that I made a mistake by running 7 kilometres (4.34 miles) as a first run. I would tend to agree but never-the-less I did it!
The most amazing thing happened after that run. Apart from aches and pains, lol. Afterwards, I was euphoric, I felt on top of the world. It was a major, major achievement.
Could I do this again?
The next day there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be running today. My body groaned and complained. No, I was not going to run today or possibly this week.
But next week is another story.
In spite of probably overdoing it, I remember how I felt after that first run.
I have to tell you, I hate running, have done since I was a kid.
Then you might ask why did I start running? It's free and I can do it anywhere, I don't need any equipment (apart from running shoes).
The following week.
I thought I would give it another go. I really didn't feel like going for a run, again. But I had decided that I was going to get fitter by hook or by crook.
Interestingly enough, all it takes is a firm decision to work on your goals. Mine was to get fit and get back a body I had lost decades ago.
There is something that happens in the brain when you make a commitment like this. This was no ordinary decision, this was a decision born out of necessity. It was this or the wheelchair.
So I did the same course again. Again, I hated it, it was gruelling and punishing, to say the least. But did it, I did!
Again, euphoria! Although my knees went to jelly at the end of the run.
Where to from here?
I have been running for over six months now.
Has it been easy? No, it hasn't. I have struggled daily with this and wanted to quit so many times.
The results were not forthcoming. After four months I was still fat and it was then I decided to focus on my diet. I figured that I would cut back on my food. Which is hard when someone cooks a meal for you every evening.
Food intake revisited.
For breakfast, I went with fruit salad. Lunch-time I ate whatever I wanted and I stopped eating before five pm.
Eating fruit for breakfast was hard for me. After a few weeks of doing this, I actually enjoyed it more than the full breakfast I always had. I didn't think that it would be possible.
Also not eating after five pm was a struggle which I failed at numerous times. Now my body is used to it, I don't crave anything after five pm.
Like I said earlier, the body doesn't need a lot of food to function. Now it's down to quality. Quality food (ie organic) is expensive but you don't need so much. You feel more nourished and content with ‘proper' food.
I stopped eating my favourite potato chips, stopped drinking sugar drinks (now I just have one as a treat every now and again).
Funny thing is, healthy food looks unappetising when you are unhealthy
These things came as a result of running. As my body started to get more efficient it started to dictate to me what it needed.
Do I miss my old self?
You would think by reading those last paragraphs that I am depriving myself of all that life has to offer. When I read what I have written I too think WOW! I must be suffering.
The truth is, for the first time, in I don't know how long, my body is feeling ‘electric'. I walk up stairs and hills with barely a puff. My brain is alive. I wake up in the morning refreshed and vital.
This has made such a difference to my life that to go back would be a tragedy.
I have lost 15kgs (33 pounds) now. I am fitting into shirts that 6 months ago I couldn't do up. I have put on trousers that I wore 20 years ago and hadn't seen the light of day since then.
This has been the best journey of my life and I still have 15kgs (33 pounds) to go. But I am more optimistic than I have ever been. I didn't think I would have stuck it for this long, especially as I could not see any results after 4 months.
But stick with it I did. I can't tell you how different my body feels because it's the difference between chalk and cheese.
Can I keep this weight off?
This is a biggie. I think because I have taken a long time to get this far, I am looking at ways to maintain this weight loss. Something I know I can stick with. I know I will have to work on this.
I don't want to lose what I have gained so I know I will have to be very vigilant.
If you are having your own struggles with this please feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will do my best to help you.
At the end of the day, it's all about mindset and realising that you have the opportunity to have the body you want in spite of your history with diets.
This was how hard it was for me to start;
Take care and look after yourself.