I am not sure why it clicked this time, but it did.
On December 19th I was at the gym I belong to in Wakefield, RI. It's called Riverbend. It's a simple gym, with lots of mid-age and older people, and a smattering of young URI students to make the rest of us envious of the days when we all had 5% body fat. On this December day, I got talking with a guy in the locker room. This is unusual, because typically I enjoy my anonymity. As we talked he told me about a book he’d read called, Younger Next Year. Sounded good, I bought it, read it and then bought the follow up book, Thinner This Year.
The message of the book is basically, exercise everyday and don’t eat crap. We’ve all heard this message before. We all know we should…. but we don’t. Why it hit me this time, I have no idea? Perhaps it was seeing so many people lately who are overweight, eating bad food, others who are frail. Maybe it was news that I’m going to be a grandfather next summer. Maybe it was hitting my mid 50’s and starting to feel a few more aches and pains. Maybe it was the pounding messages from Portico, my health care provider. Maybe it was the annual physical where the doctor said, “you know Jim, and you could…” I’m not sure what it was, but I made a decision this past Christmas, that I was going to give a gift to myself, my family, my friends, and yes, even a return thanksgiving to the Spirit of God. That was a decision to get healthy, not just pretend healthy like I’d done for years. Easy stuff at the gym, you know just enough to say, ok that’s enough, then stop a Starbucks for a Cookie and a Mocha Frap with Whip Cream and Chocolate drizzle.
So, I’ve been at it for five weeks now, going on six. I’m exercising hard every day, ok, at least six days a week. I mean exercise till my t-shirt is soaking wet. Real exercise. The Thinner this Year, book has a great exercise plan for strength training as well. You can do it without a gym. My knees are shot from basketball and years as a 6’7” guy, so running is not an option. But, I’m walking on those treadmills or out on a country road.
I’m also done eating crap. Sorry coffee hour folks at churches. No more cake and cookies. Put out that fruit tray and I’m all over it. I’m focusing on fruits and vegetables, along with fish. Yes, I’ll have some chicken, but no more red meat. OK, I lied, I had meat in the Lasagna last week, but now that’s the exception not the norm.
What difference does it make?
I’ve lost 4 lbs.; my goal is to get down 20 lbs. by summer. That’s a pound a week. That’s doable at this current pace. I clearly have more strength in my legs. As my quads have strengthened my knee joint pain has reduced. Wow, stairs are not a problem for me. In only 6 weeks!
Best of all, I’m sleeping solid every night. I don’t crave snacks in between meals – when I do, I drink water. I’m also feeling better from head to toe.
Yes, I got a cold like everyone else in the middle of this new routine, but I blew through that pretty quick.
So this post is a note of encouragement. Read the book; learn why this is so essential, especially for people age 50 and up.
Yes, I’m a bit of a convert, a zealot if you will. For me it’s all connected to a whole life stewardship that includes a healthy body and soul, a healthy attitude of thanksgiving and generosity and a sense of purpose in this crazy mixed up world.
Here's that nudge of encouragement. You'll thank yourself, and you'll thank God.