For many years “Coach” and I have been good friends and we both had our ups and downs… weight-wise. Throughout our journey there was one thing which never changed: Our support for each other and the motivation that came with it. At some point over these years I started calling him ‘Coach’ because he always did, what a coach is supposed to do. He motivated me and he inspired me and I knew he meant what he said because he was there too. He actually had bigger ups and bigger downs weight-wise than I. He always knew what he was talking about.
We now want to share our experience with you and hope that you will find some kind of inspiration and maybe even share your thoughts, struggles or successes with us here. – Momma & Coach
‘Do you walk?’
‘Has he really just asked me that?! Of course I walk, I just walked in here didn’t I?!’ It was one of these moments when things just seem to slow down around you and it feels like you have time for dozens of thoughts to cross your mind before you even start to respond. The only other time I had experienced that first hand, was when I was involved in a motorcycle accident and I thought I should have enough time to get out of the way of the car that was pulling out into my front wheel. I meekly answered ‘Yes, I do walk’.
The complete picture showed that walking usually involved me getting from a building to a mode of transportation or back or walking within a building. This wasn’t what my doctor was getting at, he wanted to know whether I went walking to exercise, you know, to the park and walk around in the morning before work or in the evening after work. Well, I didn’t; and after that conversation I was in no state to start going for walks either.
When I got home my wife asked me what was wrong and I told her that I had officially become that 40-year-old, overweight guy who’s doctor told him to go for walks to improve his health. Man, that was a tough realization. Like during the motorcycle accident, the internal dialogue started up again, unlike the accident, though, there was no damage done and the only injury was to my pride.
The apparent innocence of my doctor’s question was deceiving: I was never a standout athlete but I held my own playing soccer and tennis, became a tennis coach in my 20s and had been an active person in general. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I was still that same guy and surely could still hold my own with a little bit of effort. You don’t ask ‘that guy’ whether he walks. Of course he does, more importantly, however, he runs, he sprints, he jumps, he scores… So walking?! As exercise?! Wow!
My problem was that my doctor was obviously right and not me, it’s just that my mind hadn’t caught up with reality yet. Yes, I had always been active and yes, I had been a tennis coach at one time. Since then, however, many years had passed and I had progressively become more and more sedentary and while I did train and lose weight over short bursts of time, I never seemed to be able to keep it off, so I’d yo-yo through the months and years and had arrived at where I was that early afternoon where my doctor asked me whether I walked.
That conversation took place about 14 months ago. Since then I’ve lost about 80 lbs from nearly 270 lbs originally and I’m still going. Did I end up going for walks? No, not really, something in me still doesn’t want to go for walks around the neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with walks around the neighborhood, they’re just not for me. I prefer to hike and run. Just like prefer not to go to the gym and do my exercise at home, without machines, my body serves me perfectly well as an exercise device or weight to lift.
Making things work for me, is the approach that seems to be making the difference in continuing on my path to better health: Previously, I’d followed programs and worked through them with resolve but when the program had come to an end, usually so had my willpower and with the same dedication to restraint and had work the pendulum would swing to the other side and I’d overindulge progressively more frequently and stop exercising. Over the past 14 months I’ve tried different approaches and have found that intermittent fasting suits me best in terms of a diet I can sustain as a general way of life rather than an artificially imposed limitation.
No rocket science though: as long as I spend more energy than I consume over a given time period, I’m generally on the right track. The way I’ve spent to majority of my energy since June has been running. I’ve never been a big fan of running and can still find it quite mind numbing, especially over longer distances. And just when I started looking around for my next activity to focus on, I went for my first trail run. That experience, running/walking up a mountain, the views and the thrill and reward of running down the slope, have opened my eyes to a whole new dimension to running which I’ve been exploring ever since.
Because I’m still looking for more trails to run close to home and because I’m stubborn, I completed my first marathon distance run a couple of weeks ago (road running). After the soreness started to subside it felt like I had reached a milestone in my ongoing journey to better health. The win over internal resistance trying to sabotage the effort as it was ongoing made it even sweeter, but that may be a story for another day.