Before I start, let me apologize to those of you who look forward to reading this blog each day. Last week I took a spill on the ice. I should tell you I was performing a triple-axel while training for the Olympics, because that story would be a lot more glamorous than what really happened. Suffice to say I was walking into work when my feet went one way and my body went the other. And at the age of 53, the ground isn’t nearly as soft as it used to be. Damage was pretty much limited to my ego, but I spent most of my spare time last week with a heating pad on my shoulder. So for those of you who missed me, thanks for hanging around. I’m back.
An unpleasant side-effect of bodily injury is that it tends to keep you out of the gym. Well, it tends to keep a sane person out of the gym. I tried, but my body got the final vote. The combination of inactivity and a little comfort food took its toll, and I gained seven pounds. Okay, I only gained two pounds because of that – the rest came on over the holidays and it’s still hanging around. Still, any time you can blame weight gain on an injury, I say go for it.
I started my weight loss crusade in October. I’ve tried lots of different diets over the years, and none worked very well for me. The problem with diets is that they all want you to eat less of the stuff you like, and more of the stuff you don’t like. That would be okay if broccoli were an acquired taste like beer, but it’s not. And nothing can take the place of fried chicken.
I’ve tried losing weight for years. And over that time, I’ve heard the magic words repeatedly – eat less and exercise. Okay, eating less isn’t that hard. Well, it is. But moderation is the key there. I’ve learned that I can still eat fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, hot buttered biscuits, and key lime pie. I just can’t have it all in the same meal. Okay, I can’t have it all in the same month.
And the whole exercise thing just never really appealed to me. In high school, when all my friends were trying out for football, I was playing a guitar. Weightlifting, running, and body-building just never appealed to me. And it shows.
But my priorities changed one day last year when I found myself in the emergency room with a sore chest and blood pressure that was higher than Keith Richards on Saturday night. I couldn’t see the blood pressure monitor, but the nurse did. “Let’s get Dave a baby aspirin. In fact, let’s make it two.”
Her voice was as calm as a flight attendant. “Ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed that the engines have gotten silent and we’ve begun a vertical descent. Our final destination has been changed to an alternate location. Thank you for flying with us today. We’ll be on the ground shortly.”
As it turns out, I wasn’t having a heart attack. But it was a wakeup call. So like everything else in life, I spent most of the year deciding to do something about it, then planning a strategy. Finally it occurred to me – I knew what to do. I just needed to do it.
Now, for anybody who thinks there’s nothing funny about being overweight, you need to spend an hour with me in the gym. I make more noises than an old Chrysler with flat tires and no oil. I tried running, but it’s like I’ve completely forgotten how. And you should have been there the day I laid back on an angled bench and tried to do sit-ups. Okay, when I tried to do a sit-up. Thanks for making me admit that. Suffice to say I wasn’t the only person laughing.
But you know what? I’m not there to impress anybody else. I’m there for me. I’m doing it so I can enjoy a more active and healthy life with my wife, daughters, and grandchildren. I may not live any longer, but I don’t want to spend the time I’ve got sitting in front of a TV because it’s all I can do. And I was quickly headed in that direction.
I’ve still got a long way to go before I reach a healthy weight. I was making progress, but setbacks are just part of the game. The key is not letting them get to you. And I firmly believe our best defense against letting things get to us is maintaining a healthy sense of humor. It’s hard to be upset when you’re laughing.
I’ll write more on this topic over the coming weeks. And if any of you have stories you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them. The thing to remember is that any worthwhile change comes with challenges. It’s how we handle those challenges that makes the difference. So lighten up! Laugh a little. It makes the tough spots (and icy sidewalks) a whole lot easier to handle.
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon