The toughest person you will ever lead is yourself. Self-leadership is the greatest skill anyone can ever develop. This is my story.
On May 8th I visited our family doctor for my yearly physical. This particular visit had special meaning as I turned 50 years old earlier this year. I never look forward to these annual rights of male passage and not for just the obvious reasons you might think. The reason is my doctor is always getting on me about my weight. Every. Single. Year.
I know I am overweight. But my wife loves me, still thinks I am attractive (I think), and I no longer have the athletic ability to be invited to the Atlanta Falcons training camp. So what is the big deal? Plus, I ABSOLUTELY love sweets, cheeseburgers and gravy.
So here we go again. My doctor walks into the exam room, glares at me as he looks over the miniature glasses on the tip of his nose, and says, “Surely I misread this. 253 lbs?” “Same song, 20th verse,” I thought.
And then he said something that rocked my apathetic world. He said, “Brian, if I get two more consecutive readings like this, you will officially be a diabetic.” Diabetic? Not diabetes! I could deal with anything other than cancer or diabetes. Let me explain.
My mom was a severe diabetic. Several years ago she had a diabetic seizure which sent her into a coma for 30 days. Upon finally awakening, she was disabled and placed in an assisted living home in her mid-60s. She was the youngest person in the facility by 10-to-15 years. Her speech and mobility were severely limited. Walking to the lunchroom or picking something up out of the floor were major challenges.
A few years ago, while sitting in a chair which had become form-fitting because she rarely got out of it, mom had another seizure and died while biting off her tongue. She was discovered the following morning by some of the facility’s staff because her dog would not quit barking.
This was the path I now found myself on. It did not end well for my mom and I figured it would not end well for me either. I also have a lot left I want to accomplish. I want to grow old with my wife, walk my daughter down the aisle, play with my grandchildren (several years from now), write another book, enjoy retirement, and accomplish everything God has for me. None of this would happen unless drastic changes were made.
My wife immediately put me on an eating plan. Anyone who says a man’s wife cannot be a good accountability partner never met Sonya. She only bought food which would aid in my weight loss. I was constantly educated on the nutritional value of EVERYTHING I ate. Hopefully, my eyes did not glass over too badly.
And as I began a life of continual hunger, she was my greatest cheerleader.
I also began walking one mile every evening. In the hot, humid Georgia summer heat, this burned off a lot of calories.
Finally, I began going to bed every evening at 10:00 PM to ensure eight hours of sleep. With the exception of the Democratic and Republican conventions, I have done very well with this. It has given me far more energy than I have experienced in quite awhile.
I just did simple things. Basic things. My knees now rarely hurt. And as someone who says a lot words everyday, I never run out of breath when speaking.
Today I went back to my doctor for my 90-day checkup. He walked into the exam room still looking over those glasses on the tip of his nose, but his countenance and tone were completely different. He said, “Brian, all the nurses are talking about you! 228 lbs! You’ve lost 25 lbs! That is great! How did you do it?”
To which I replied, “Walk a mile everyday and don’t eat anything you like.”
To recap, this is specifically how I lost 25 lbs. in 90 days:
- Get scared. I did not want a life of needles, daily injections of insulin, bruises all over my body, seizures, disability, and an early death. This is not being dramatic. Remember, I have seen this story played out right before my eyes.
- Get a plan. My wife developed an eating plan and I developed an exercise regimen.
- Get a cheerleader. Sonya was and is incredible!
- Get ready to be comfortable with discomfort. I am still constantly hungry. When this happens, I just say to myself, “My body is consuming itself.”
- Get ready to spend some money. Healthy food is quite a bit more expensive than fast food. Also, I am having to buy a lot of clothes. But I guess this is still cheaper than insulin and frequent doctor visits.
- Get ready to sacrifice. I have to be honest. I really miss french fries and Dairy Queen Reeses Blizzards. However, I do recommend Wendy’s or Zaxby’s salads. They are pretty good!
- Get ready to have a sense of accomplishment. Let me tell you, writing a book or delivering a presentation in front of hundreds of people is far easier than losing 25 lbs. But I did it and with God’s help, so can you.
Losing weight is theoretically simple. Exercise and don’t eat anything you like for an extended period of time. But oh my, is it hard to do.
Now, if I could just take those 7 points listed above and stretch them into 125 pages, I would be a millionaire. Until then, I will just try to lose some more weight.
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