It’s very cliché to point to a child’s birth as motivation to change unhealthy ways in your life. Well I guess I’m a cliché. I had a bit of a wake up call shortly after my daughters birth, and with a full year having passed, here’s where I stand now.
When my daughter was about a month old, my wife and I were curious as to how she growing. We could easily measure her from head to toe, but weight was tougher. Modern digital scales don’t read 10 pound weights, so our solution was to have dad step on the scale, then have dad step on with the baby. Simple math. What I got staring back at me when I stepped on the first time was a shock. I always knew I was a big guy. I’m 6’5″, and always was heavy, but I had no idea how heavy I had gotten. The scale didn’t lie, 365 pounds. Something had to change.
I told my wife that I was determined to get healthy. I had a family to look after and I didn’t want to make an early exit. “You’re going to have to stop drinking beer.” That was not an option.
My game plan was simple. Cut back significantly in my serving sizes and snacks. Too often, when going out to eat, you’re greeted with a massive plate of food, good enough for 2 meals. So I cut them in half and brought home extras. I cooked only what I would eat for that meal. Most importantly, I cut out fast food, deep fried foods and limited starchy foods, instead loading up on vegetables. All the while I kept drinking my beer.
The plan was a success. I was dropping weight and feeling better. Around the new year I decided to add some physical activity to the mix and joined a gym. Shortly after, life threw me a curve ball in a pancreatic attack. This meant I couldn’t even eat or drink beer, let alone work out. While my plan was halted for 3 weeks, I was able to jump back into it and continued down the road to a healthier me.
In June, as a response to gas prices more than as a health concern, I began biking to work twice a week, again upping the physical activity.
So here I am, one year after I began. Last time I stepped on the scale I was down to 234 pounds. That’s a total loss of 131 pounds. I’ve gone from a 42″ waist down to a 36″.
Now I want to stress that the key to my success was moderation. Since October I’ve been blogging about the beers I drink, and while there is quite the variety of beers, I typically limit myself to 1 and occasionally 2 beers per night. I also limited the food that I ate. As I said, I avoided fast food, fried foods and starches, but this didn’t prevent me from enjoying foods I liked. I still ate burgers, I still had steaks, I still allowed myself to enjoy eating. Eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat a nice dinner. I simply made sure I wasn’t over indulging in these things.
Moderation was also a key to my workout plan. Three times a week for no more than an hour, nothing extreme, but enough to get my heart pumping and help work some of the pounds off. It’s a reasonable schedule to maintain and you won’t burn yourself out.
As beer drinkers we get a reputation of big, fat, jolly guys who do nothing bu eat fried foods and slowly take up more and more space. I just want people to know that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be free of good beer.
I still have a way to go to be considered healthy, but I’m on my way. If you have any questions, please, comment, as I am more than willing to talk about this to anyone interested.