When Jason first asked me, I had no clue what I was going to write. I do not have some inspirational story. I am not overcoming a disability, nor am I fighting a deadly disease. I am also not a fitness enthusiast, I have never nor will I probably ever experience a “runner’s high”. If anything the elliptical machine has shown up in some of my nightmares.
I am simply someone, like so many others, whose health was being taken for granted. There were signs I ignored (easily winded by mundane activities) and some signs (my ever expanding waist line) I joked about instead of taking seriously.
Growing up I was always VERY skinny, to the point where I had trouble gaining weight when it came to sports training. My metabolism and active lifestyle granted me the ability to eat whatever and whenever I wanted without the thought of gaining weight even entering my thought process. This of course came to a screeching halt when I entered my late 20s/early 30s. Like so many before me, my metabolism betrayed me and my life that had been filled with so many activities had been replaced by 8 hours in front of a computer screen and no desire to do anything physical in the evening beside decompressing for a few hours in front of the TV. Compounding this issue of a sedentary lifestyle was the fact I did not change any of my eating or drinking habits. In fact, as anyone with kids will tell you, you tend to eat worse those first few years of parenthood. “It’s 2AM and I have to give the baby a bottle, well I might as well have a snack”. “Ohh you didn’t finish your Mac N Cheese, let me just finish that off”.
It wasn’t until a doctor’s appointment when my physician said, while I am not in any immediate danger if I continued on my current path I would be facing some serious health concerns in the future due to my weight. The thought of missing any of my kids’ future or retirement with my wife, because I was too stubborn to come to grips with my weight issue did not sit well with me. Enter the 60/60 program. I had been a member of the DHAC a few years back, one of my many failed attempts to get into better shape.
You know where you join a gym; go hard for the first week or so and after missing a couple of days the next thing you know you are paying for membership to a gym you never go to! I joined the 60/60 program on June 6th 2013, and for those first 60 days I did the bare minimum of what was necessary to complete the program. It was the summertime and vacations and various commitments had taken up a lot of my free time. I attended the requisite number of weekly visits, with the thought of “Am I really going to stick with it this time?” in the back of my head. At the end of the 60 days, I saw some positive results, as minor as they were. My biggest achievement was sticking with the program through all the summertime distractions. That is when I decided to make a greater commitment (time and energy) to the program.
I increased the number of days I went to the gym per week and the amount of time I spent there. I am not going to lie to you, if was very difficult. It meant a lot of very late nights since I had family responsibilities at home. The commitment was also quite difficult on my wife. She was the one that was left at home alone while I was at the gym. I also made changes to my eating and drinking habits.
It became even more strenuous when my second daughter was born two months early, and required a 39 day stay in the NICU. Another built in excuse not to go, that would have derailed any previous fitness attempt. Yet something different happened. The time I spent at the gym turned almost therapeutic. Instead of life being a distraction from going to the gym, the gym had become a distraction from life. It was a few hours I wasn’t continuously worrying about my little girl.
As time went on, I have seen more and more results and it has even been easier to psych myself up to go to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in a love/hate relationship with the elliptical, which is only made easier with the distraction of binge watching shows while exercising. At just over a year, 371 days to be exact, I have lost ~75 pounds. While I am sure the trainers can tell you how it has affected “my numbers” (blood pressure, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, etc), that is all on the inside and not easy to show anyone how the 60/60 program has changed my life. Besides the need for a whole new wardrobe, there have been numerous benefits:
- No more snoring (which I am sure my wife is truly thankful for!)
- No more heartburn
- Increased energy level
- Increased mobility when playing with my kids
I have even started playing hockey again, a passion of mine since childhood. It had been 8 years since I hung up my skates. My weight gain made it difficult to participate, or even find the energy to go to the rink.
Thanks to Jason, Dodi, Robbie and the rest of the team at DHAC, I feel better than I did 10 years ago. Best of all I have found a program I can stick with and maintain. I have been able to back off the number of days and hours I spend at the gym. Now if I miss a few days because summertime activities have me elsewhere, I know I will be at that next Pilates class or back loving/hating the elliptical.