Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist trade places.
It happens to 75 percent of the population. My weight gain was gradual. I only have to look at pictures of myself from age 35 to 45 years to see the expanding waistline and double chin. I gained five pounds a year for ten years. Sneaky. Gradual. Relentless.
I was a technician from age 18 to 28 years. I lived a very active life. I began in sales at age 29 and the next year I began coaching youth basketball. My habits changed. Instead of playing, I was sitting. Instead of climbing ladders I was doing paperwork. My metabolism was changing to be sure, but so were my habits. Have you ever heard these “
We are big boned in our family!
(Have you seen skeletons? Their bones are all the same size!)
It’s my metabolism. It goes right to my stomach!
Ladies, insert “thighs” into this rationalization! (It’s your PORTIONS, NOT your metabolism, dude or dudette!)
The things we say to ourselves to make unhealthy behavior okay is astonishing, creative, and deadly. For Americans who are 60 pounds overweight, the chances of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and stroke increase by 60 percent!
Have you ever heard this phrase, “the jig is up”? I researched its meaning:
A ruse or trick that has been discovered; the game is over; the time of reckoning is here!
(A JIG is a sporty or lively dance.)
For me, the jig was up October 2, 2009. I was conducting a team-building seminar in Boston. I went back to the Marriott and went for a swim. Afterward, I stepped on the scale for the first time in years. It read 297 pounds! “What?! That can’t be! The scale must be broken!” (Rational Lie #1). I put my hand on the counter and eased onto the scale (like sneaking up on it gently would somehow change the outcome). It read 298! “What! That’s crazy!” (Rational Lie #2). I went to the front desk and asked for a tape measure. I put it around my waist. Forty-six inches! “No!” (Rational Lie #3). I sucked in my gut and tried it again. Forty-five and one-half inches! “Something’s wrong here!” (Rational Lie #4). I then made a big mistake. I went back to my room, took off my shirt, and looked in the mirror. I could hardly believe my eyes. I was fat!
When the police arrest you, they take two pictures: one from the front and one from the side (at least, this is what they tell me). When I looked at the pictures I had just taken, I freaked out! I was the fat guy in a little coat (think Chris Farley in
). At that moment, the jig was up. The dance was over. The day of reckoning was here. A rising from deep down inside began to emerge like a volcano. I had not been this angry with myself since the eighth grade when I was cut from the junior high school basketball team. Like the five stages of grief, my reactions were denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and action!
I grabbed a 3 x 5 card and wrote, “I feel great at 258! I am proud of my 36” waist. I love to work out five times a week!” On the back of the card I wrote down five reasons I wanted this goal:
- My children would be proud of me.
- I would live longer.
- I would have a great seminar story.
- I would look and feel better about myself.
- I would prove to myself I could do it.
I made up five 3 x 5 cards and put them everywhere: on the dashboard of my car, in my journal, on the mirror where I shave, in the book I was reading, on the toilet tank in my home office bathroom. I began to say my #1 goal aloud 10 to 15 times a day with positive emotion. (We become what we think about.) It became my “Magnificent Obsession.”
During the next few months, a process emerged. I call it
They are Four Steps to Change:
D = DECIDE
A = ASK
S = STUDY
H = HONE
Every great accomplishment in my life began with a DECISION. This I would do, come hell or high water! This was going to happen no matter what! I committed the goal to paper. I attached deadlines (
how much by when?
) I set “waist goals” in six-month increments: “42 inches in three months!” “38 inches in six months!” “36 inches in twelve months.”
I asked middle-age men and women what THEY did to lose and keep the weight off. They told me things like:
I cut out bread.
I started walking every day.
I cut my portions in half.
I cut out sugar.
I bought a belt that reflected the goal.
I read books to learn what I needed to do
Fit or Fat
by Covert Bailey).
I joined a health club.
I wrote all these ideas down in my journal. I began doing what they did. What
I do? What am I
to stick to doing?
I read every book I could find on the topic. I became a sponge for wellness information. I scoured the bookstores and Amazon.com. Here is the short list of books I studied. Some of them I read more than once. They are:
Body for Life
by Bill Phillips
Younger Next Year
by Chris Cowley and Henry S. Lodge
>Fit or Fat
by Covert Bailey
by Rhonda Byrne
The Game of Life
by Florence Shinn
by Deepak Chopra
by Michael Pollan
The Healing Heart
by Norm Cousins
by Andrew Weil
by Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Mathews
The “superfoods,” in no particular order are: beans (navy, pinto, and lentil), blueberries, broccoli, oatmeal, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soybeans, green tea, tomatoes, turkey breast, nuts, yogurt (Greek, non-fat), olives, and spinach. I committed to incorporating these foods into my daily diet.
Certain disciplines and strategies emerged that were contrary to what I had done (or not done) during the past ten years.
Skip breakfast and work out in the morning first thing and wait an hour before you eat. You will change your metabolism.
Success comes in threes. The three things I committed to six days a week were
= Cut my portions in half.
= Salad instead of fries, grapes instead of chips.
= Exercise. Walk four times a week. Swim three times a week. I started slowly and gradually increased distance, intensity, and duration.
Keep what works and toss what doesn’t. A new philosophy emerged. I went from
living to eat
eating to live. I changed my relationship with food!
I began to look forward to going to the gym. I made new friends and gathered more ideas about working out. I started lifting weights again (it had been 15 years). I took a yoga class. Before I knew it, I was working out six days a week for 45 to 60 minutes a day.
My adult children asked me to join them at the gym. Our oldest, Colin, said to me one day, “Dad, you look great. No food tastes as good as skinny feels. Keep up the good work. I am proud of you.”
The result? Three years later, I had a 36-inch waist. I lost 50 pounds of fat. I now had a new jig.
How about you? Is it time for a new jig in 2018? Is it time to add a WELLNESS goal to your New Year’s resolutions?
A waist is a terrible thing to mind
. My sincere wish for you in 2018 is you enjoy
Freedom from FAT!
If this 60-year-old guy can do it, so can you! The best is yet to come, especially if you are fit.