When everything you think you should write about scares you to write about, what should you write about? Yes, that’s what has been banging around in my brainpan this week. I have all these ideas, but they require vulnerability and a willingness to reveal some weakness I have. This week, being “open” doesn’t really set well with me.
So after a lengthy internal debate, I’ve decided I will begin to tell you about my exercise and fitness… struggles… adventures…. dilemmas… whatever you want to call them. I’m not “excited” to share this, but I think the story is getting better. So, here we go…
When I was in high school (every fitness story seems to start in high school) I was a soccer player. My high school was small. To field a team we needed 11 boys. We had 11. This meant that we all ran our guts out almost all of the time, whether we were practicing or playing a game. I was probably in the best shape of my life at that time. I have always been heavy framed. Which is not to say fat, but even when I was very lean, I was not “skinny”. I weighed 175 lbs and was in good health. I drank too much coke.
College rolled around and I got married. My wife is a good cook. I ate well and stayed around 180 lbs. I walked or bicycled all over the place in college so I got enough exercise to keep my soda pop habit from taking over my midsection. I remained in decent shape through college.
I graduated and got a job teaching and started making a good living wage. We did not have children and we were pretty active. Having a good job meant that we could buy “better” groceries, Tillamook ice cream, and real Coca-cola. It was at this time in my life that I really started gaining weight. Teaching, while keeping me mentally challenged, had me slowing way down. Even when I was moving around the classroom, it was not strenuous. I didn’t walk as much and I never rode my bike any more. 4 years in I weighed 220 lbs. Then we had kids.
It’s a strange thing that happens when people decide to have children. Eating is important for the mother. My wife is a healthy eater. She eats veggies, salads, lean meats and she is skinny. I ate more too. Sympathy? I don’t know. but I gained a few more pounds and the baby arrived. I was still teaching all day and sitting grading 8th grade essays in the evenings. Between the sitting and snacking while I was grading, I grew to 235 lbs. I knew I was getting fat at that time and it was frustrating… but not enough to move me to action.
I taught for several more years. We had a second child and I got a master’s degree. Going back to school kind of did me in. I was either reading, writing or grading papers during most of my free time. With the reading, writing and grading came glasses of soda and cookies or other munchies. I knew I needed to be more active so I tried golf, but it was frustrating. My bike sat in the garage unused and deteriorating. I was plumping up. And then I took an office job.
The office job meant that I switched to drinking coffee as it was in good supply at work. Drinking coffee, in and of itself, isn’t horrible. The problematic part is, the perfect complement to coffee is a pastry. Sweet pastries and doughnuts seemed to show up in the office with some regularity. A coffee and a maple bar were a great way to start a fun-filled day of meetings and paperwork. It was during this time that I also discovered beer.
One thing led to another, I became a school principal and one day I woke up feeling horrible, looked in the mirror and I was horrified. There was a fat old man looking back at me. I decided to get out the scale and see what the damage was. The scale broke which was a bad omen. I purchased a new scale and it revealed that I weighed 256 lbs. (the heaviest I have ever been) It was a sad and sobering moment. I was sick, tired, fat, and unhealthy. I had all sorts of bad eating habits and I didn’t really feel like being active. I stood there with tears streaming and a craving a coke. I knew something had to change. That was 18 months ago.
To be continued—