You’re Never Too Old To Learn New Tricks
This is one of my favorite blog posts to date. Is it because someone else basically wrote the whole thing for me? Probably. Nothing like the sweet satisfaction of having someone else do your work for you. In addition to that, it’s another person is telling you how awesome health is. I am the ultimate ranter, raver, preacher, and arm waver when it comes to health related topics. I’m sure you have been in a scenario where you unload your wise, experienced, enlightening suggestions and advice on someone and they just don’t listen. Parents, I have a feeling this happens to you approximately every three minutes. Then someone else comes along and tells the person the exact same thing and they listen. Cue internal combustion. As exasperating as it is, at least they got the message, right?! So, this message is for all of you who hear me yammer on about fruits and veggies this, and get up and exercise that. Now you get to hear it from someone else! Maybe it will be what you need for that glorious “AHA!” moment. This story gets me so jazzed up because this person (who wanted to remain anonymous, so I will call him Frankenstein. Probably a mistake to let me pick your alias for you) is almost 60 years old and made some drastic life changes. Frankenstein was a consumer of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Sweets, eating out, no exercise, and booze sprinkled on top. He is now down 75lbs and has a new favorite food to satisfy his sweet tooth. Here is my interview with Mr. ‘Stein:
How old are you?
What made you decide to get healthy?
I had just gotten fed up with what I had become physically. I had been thin most of my life. Skinny as a rail as a kid through my twenties. Gained a few pounds in my thirties but nothing near being overweight. When I hit about my mid forties I started slowly gaining weight. 3,4 or 5 lbs a year isn’t that noticeable at first but after about 15 years of that and I’d become heavier than I ever imagined I could be. It was not genetic either but strictly lifestyle in my case. It got to the point where I had simply had enough. I didn’t feel like me anymore.
What was your attitude about health before vs. now?
I really didn’t have one. Never thought about it. I mean I was certainly aware that I was not in the best shape but I didn’t care. My lifestyle was all about indulging in anything and everything. Whatever felt good – do it. Of course that all eventually led to not feeling good.
Has it been easier or harder than you thought it would be and why?
Initially very hard. At first I was just completely changed what I ate and how much of it. At first I added no exercise at all. I started counting calories. I went to websites where you could calculate how many calories you should eat to lose weight based on your age, height, weight and activity level. I bought a food scale and started measuring portions. I completely cut out junk and sweets. That was hard considering my gargantuan sweet tooth helped get me to where I was. I haven’t had a piece of candy, chocolate, cookie, donut, potato chip, french fry, pizza, or anything like that in about 8 months. It got easier all the time though. After a few months I had myself completely trained to eat a certain way.
What are the biggest differences in your daily routine then and now?
Being much more physically active. After a few months of just dieting I started walking. I hadn’t walked any more than was absolutely necessary in years. At first I was walking about 1 to 2 miles at a time and thought “Wow. look at me I walked a mile”. Now, 3 months later I walk a minimum of 3.5 to 4 miles during the week and 5.5 to 7 miles on the weekends. Usually I walk about 6 times a week.
What is the biggest change you’ve made that you thought you could never do before?
Again, probably the walking. I actually look forward to it and get bummed if it’s raining or something else keeps me from it. Anyone who has known me in the last 20-30 years knows what a big change that is. Also, no sweets. I was always a chocoholic and haven’t touched any in months.
I will say that once I get down to where I want to be weight wise I plan to once again eat some of the things I have been doing without, just less of them.
Have people in your life been supportive of your new habits? Has your social life changed?
Yeah, eveyone thinks it’s great. I can’t really say that my social life has changed that much except for what I do and don’t do when I’m out.
What are the biggest benefits you have seen?
The obvious physical change. I look like my old self again, albeit an older version. When you are way overweight your self esteem is pretty much gone. You start to feel pretty worthless and that has changed . Also, my energy level is way up and that had been almost non-existent. I used to be tired all the time.
What words of encouragement or advice would you have for men and women your age to change long-standing bad habits?
Sounds cliche but, It’s never too late. I had been telling myself for years that I needed to do something about my weight and just never did. I just slowly kept getting bigger. Once you make up your mind to change it’s great. It gets easier everyday. I really never thought I would do what I’ve done. Most of my life I’ve been the poster boy for unhealthy living. I was drinking too much, smoking most of my life, eating too much and eating the wrong things. You name a vice, I probably had it.
Did you start out with a specific weight loss goal?
Honestly, I really started out just wanting to lose enough weight so my clothes fit again. Once I started seeing results though, it made me want to keep going. The more I lost, the more I wanted to lose. I am now down almost 75 lbs in a little over 8 months. I am almost where I want to be.
What are your new, favorite healthy foods?
I do have a new obsession. Watermelon. Since I always had a sweet tooth and HAD to have chocolate or something after a meal, this has become a great replacement. I have it everyday. The great thing is you can eat a huge bowl of it, it fills you up and it’s about 200 calories. I LOVE it.
Do you feel that your healthier lifestyle is more expensive?
No, not at all. The only real expense so far has been a good pair of running/walking shoes. Oh, and the new clothes I’ve had to buy, which is a welcome expense. I buy a lot less at the grocery store also.
Isn’t being healthier the best thing ever?
I’m getting there and yes, it ain’t bad.
You heard it from Frank, folks! It’s never too late. Whether you are in your 20’s and never kicked the Freshman Fifteen, or are later in life with decades of bad habits literally under your belt, you can ALWAYS do something about it. The other thing I love about this interview is that Frankenstein didn’t have to spend a lot of money to get healthy. Some internet research (be careful on that one, you gotta wade through the garbage), a new pair of shoes, and a food scale were his starting points. You don’t have to spend tons of money on a gym- the great outdoors is free as well as about a gazillion free YouTube workout videos. The toughest hurdle is your own mind. So, hats off to you, Frankenstein! A true inspiration for many people out there, including me!
Do you want to get healthier but don’t know how to get started? Email me! Chelsea@feedhealthandwellness.com