Health and fitness?

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.

Me (256 lbs)

Me in white @ 256 lbs.

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—

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  1. Pingback: Getting a grip… | One Sure Chord

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