Being overweight and even obese is not only very unhealthy, it also becomes extremely frustrating and hard to deal with, as all of your weight loss efforts are either short-lived or just don’t work. And then losing large amounts of weight seems so overwhelming.
For instance, maybe you are overweight 40-50 pounds, or even as much as 60, 80, or 100 pounds and an amount that by definition would make you obese – and it has gotten to the point that the thought of ever getting back to your ‘ideal’ weight doesn’t seem possible?
Or maybe you have tried diet after diet that simply didn’t work, and now you have completely given up on trying to lose weight – and have convinced yourself that you are destined to be fat, and there is nothing that you can do about it?
This is the situation with a tremendous number of people. However, it is very possible to lose large amounts of weight and ‘beat’ obesity, but this clearly isn’t going to happen with another ‘fad’ diet.
Nutrition And Fitness Lifestyle Changes
Effective long-term weight loss and control comes when it becomes a way of life. Or what I think of as a nutritional health lifestyle that includes dietary changes that are more centered on nutrition instead of counting calories, along with the addition of exercise and fitness.
Let me tell you my own story about losing 55 pounds, becoming extremely fit in spite of lower back problems – and keeping the weight off for over 3.5 years now.
I Remember It All So Well
I grew up as a competitive and scholarship athlete, and if anything, I was trying to gain weight when I was in high school. But my eating habits were horrendous – not only did they include very large amounts of sugar and bad fats; I could eat tremendous amounts of food.
I remember the days of eating a 16” pizza myself. And does anyone reading this remember Howard Johnson, and their 9 scoop sundaes, with whip cream, nuts, and hot fudge? I never tried to eat two of them, but eating one wasn’t a challenge.
I didn’t know anything about nutrition and didn’t care; I thought I was very healthy and certainly didn’t have any weight problems – now fast forward:
- A few years after college I started a business. And although I was still very active playing racquetball, it was certainly not the same number of hours and intensity of overall exercise that I had through school.
- My eating was still the same nutritionally, and I kept eating whatever and as much as I wanted – I gained around 10 pounds, but no big deal, I was getting older.
- My business grew and I started a second one, and I also badly hurt my lower back and couldn’t play racquetball anymore.
- But now I gained 25 pounds and still didn’t do anything about it – it wasn’t my fault that I had an injury, and my businesses were doing really well, and that was my priority.
- In 1992 my dad died from complications of open heart surgery, and then the following year my mom also needed open heart surgery, but she got through it fine.
- By then I had gained 30 pounds and weighed 200 pounds, and was doing no exercise at all – I did go to the doctor and found out that my cholesterol was 235, and started taking Zocor to get it back down to around 200.
And Then October 2008 Came
By 2008, I had gained 55 pounds and weighed 225.
I had sold my two businesses and was now making my living as a day trader and money manager. I had become busier and more stressed than ever. And my idea of exercise was walking to the mailbox to get the mail [I obviously didn’t have time to do anything else, and it would hurt my back anyway] – I ‘huffed and puffed’ when I walked up the stairs in our house.
And then October came.
It was around 9:00 am and I was working – and all of a sudden my heart started racing like I had run a marathon. I told my wife what was going on [my office was in our house] and went to lie down. That seemed to help, but when I tried to get up again my heart started beating faster than before – and then the pain came.
911 was called, and an ambulance took me to the emergency room. I apparently hadn’t had a heart attack, but my heart rate was in the high 190s, and the medicine I was given wouldn’t bring it back down. I was eventually ‘put under’ so they could ‘hit me’ with the paddles, and finally my heart was converted back to a normal rate.
When I was stabilized and could talk to the cardiologist, he read me the riot act, which was nothing compared to what my wife had to say:
- The doctor told me that I had Atrial Fibrillation
- He said that was the fastest heartbeat he had seen by someone who remained conscious
- That I was a time bomb for more of these episodes that I may not survive, if I didn’t have a stroke first
- And that I was obese
I was in the hospital for 4 days and had a stress test that had to be done chemically, because I couldn’t do it on the treadmill. I also had a heart catheterization, where I found out that I had two arteries that were over 30% blocked – borderline, but not quite bad enough to have stents put in.
I finally got to go home, amidst a huge number of threats from my wife and 2 daughters – about what was going to be done to me, if I didn’t start dieting and lose weight.
I didn’t know exactly what and how I was going to do what needed to be done, but I did know just how far off base my wife and daughter were – I didn’t need to go on another diet.
My Nutritional Health And Fitness Lifestyle Journey
And it was a journey, but one that never included going on a diet.
I had gone on plenty of different diets in the past, and I would lose 10-15 pounds and then gain it all back, if not more. I had a good friend who wanted me to go on the Atkins Diet with him – he actually lost around 25 pounds, but then put 35 back on.
But what I never had done was really learn about foods and get a good nutrition education.
As I did that, I quickly learned that nutritional health, along with weight and fat loss, was far more about what foods were being eaten, than it was about simply trying to eat fewer categories.
And I certainly had never quit making the ‘no time and back pain’ excuses for not exercising; if nothing else, I was very capable of starting a good walking program.
I was lazy [dumb] and just didn’t want to do it. So I kept making the excuses for why I couldn’t – and like so many other people have done, I actually convinced myself that they were all true – what a crock of ‘you know what’.
Now It’s June 2012
So, it’s now June 2012, and over 3.5 years since ‘my day’ in October 2008 – here is how and what I am doing:
- I have a good [and continually growing] practical education and understanding about nutritional health and fitness. It has become a passion of mine, and if I had it to do over again, I would have gotten a related degree when I was in college.
- I currently weigh 170 pounds, which is 55 pounds less than my peak. It took me around 4 months to lose my first 35 pounds – and it has remained consistent between 168 and 175 for over 3 years.
- My cholesterol has gone done from 235 to 145 – I have kept taking a statin because of my ‘heart genes’.
- I have been off of blood pressure medicine for over 2.5 years.
- I hate to even write this [karma] – but knock on wood, I have not had any more heart ‘episodes’.
- I try to work out for at least an hour every day, and do both cardio and weight lifting. Yeah, I still have back problems, but they have gotten way better as I lost weight and became more fit – go figure.
- My week day workouts are usually 60-90 minutes, starting at 5:30 am – I prefer doing this in the morning before work and having no issues at all with how late I work, or feeling too tired later in the day. And my weekend workouts are usually 90-120 minutes.
- This morning I did a chest and ‘core’ workout for 70 minutes – it included some bench press reps at 170 pounds [and before I am gone, I am going to somehow do at least 1 rep at the ‘magic’ 200 pounds]. I usually split up my weight lifting to 1-2 body parts and also include ‘core’ exercises.
- Yesterday was 95 minutes and 7.5 miles on the treadmill – I usually only spend 30-40 minutes on cardio. I did different intervals including (1) a 3-12 degree incline ‘Hill Trecker’ program at 4-4.5 miles per hour (2) 12-15 degree incline walking at an average of 5 miles per hour (3) 0-3 degree incline jogging for 5-7 minutes at an average of 7.5 miles per hour – I try to keep any of the interval rest periods to 3-4 minutes, and at 3-5 degree walking at an average of 4 miles an hour.
- I am going to be 60 years old in 2 months.
I Have Not Done Anything That Most Anyone Else Couldn’t Do Too
I want to finish this with making what I feel are some important points – sorry for dragging this all out so long
- Like many people, I made my changes because I had no choice because of a health issue – it certainly would have been a far better decision, and far easier to do, if I had done so before I had to.
- My age – and that you can ‘teach an old dog new tricks’.
- Nutritional health and fitness is a lifestyle journey that takes education, discipline, and commitment – it is not about going on a diet, if you want long-term results that continue to last and ever get better.
- I very pleased with what I have been able to do, and also know it has become so ingrained in how I live that I know I won’t revert back to how I was previously.
- But I don’t think that I am special, or that I have accomplished anything – that most anyone else, who had the willingness and determination to change, couldn’t do too.
This whole website is about the things that I have learned, done, and keep doing for continued nutritional and fitness health and education.
I will write more about specific steps that I took when I got started – 55 pounds overweight, and so badly out of shape that the gym I joined made me bring in a letter from my doctor saying that it was ok to work out. But I wanted to get started by stressing that the objectives and results come from lifestyle changes that everyone can make to some extent.
I also want to show you a nutritional health program that has been important to me, developed by a nutrition and fitness expert – that is terrific education, and very effective as an eating program that can be started slowly and added to as you get into it further.
It is called Eating For Energy, and was written by Yuri Elkaim, who became my ‘go to guy’ for nutrition and fitness – you can read my review at:
And you can learn more about the program, and read many testimonials at Yuri’s Website:
Omega-3 DHA Anti-Inflammatory Supplement
And I think it is highly recommended to take an omega-3 DHA anti-inflammatory supplement. A strong natural anti-inflammatory is important to take in any case – but when getting started with losing a ‘lot’ of weight this is even more important, because excess inflammation and fat will have been stored in the body.
My cardiologist had me begin taking this, because of its effectiveness for cardiovascular health. Additionally, omega-3 DHA is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatories known – and getting rid of the excess inflammation caused by a lot of additional fat storage is very important.