A Weight Loss Anniversary

Posted: July 27, 2013 in Health
Tags: , , , ,

scale-150It was one year ago today that I finally reached my target weight goal which I had struggled for a long while to achieve.  Those who have known me since childhood may remember me as an underweight guy who doesn’t have any issue with extra pounds on board.  Growing up, I was the skinniest kid in the class.  My nickname from some best friends in high school and college was “Runt.”  I weighed only 113 pounds the day I got married a week after graduating from college.  Things had changed, though, 30+ years later as I’m sure many from my age group can understand.

In late 2011, I put on nearly 20 pounds in a relatively short time period.  The Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season was the main stretch of time in which I threw caution and good sense to the wind and reached what was for me a lifetime high weight.

I didn’t like the new, bigger me very much in a few ways.  The extra weight slowed down my running game considerably.  I didn’t care for the noticeable gut.  Who likes having to buy bigger clothes, too?  Not me.

While I was able to lose a few of those pounds over the next several months, they weren’t all coming off nearly as quickly as I wanted, and certainly not as quickly as they appeared.  So I was glad when my company, Humana, began a 100 Day Dash in June 2012 for all associates who wanted to participate.  The competition was to get as many steps in and tracked via pedometer over 100 days beginning in early June.  I set a goal of reaching 15,000 steps per day – about 7.5 miles.  Fortunately, I was able to average that throughout the 100 days, logging over 1.5 million steps during the period.

About the mid point of last year’s dash, on July 26, 2012, I finally hit my weight goal.  I’m glad to report that on today’s one-year anniversary of that occasion, I have been able to weigh in at or below that target weight with no exceptions.  That means I had to eat less junk food and more reasonable portions of healthy food.  I had to control myself through the holidays and while traveling – times when it is easy to stray from a healthier eating plan.

I also did something that most advise against, which is to weigh in daily.  I did it to help me determine how much I might eat each day.  If I weighed in at my limit in the morning, one solid meal was probably all I could eat without being above the goal the next day.  Weighing in below the goal gave me a little more flexibility in what and how much I ate for that day.  That may not be the ideal approach nutritionists would recommend, but it has worked for me, so I’ll stay with it.

We are again this summer in the middle of Humana’s 100 Day Dash.  This time I have a goal of averaging 17,000 steps per day and so far I’m on track.  I’m on a great team of ten people (including the CEO) who are doing well at encouraging one another throughout the dash.  The dog is happy from all the walking, and I know the nine flights of stairs up to my office at work like the back of my hand, having only taken the elevator a single-digit number of times since early June.  It helps that Humana painted encouraging and motivational messages on the steps and posted attractive, informative, and motivational posters and paintings in the stairwells.

When I weighed in this morning, I was a few pounds under the goal.  That’s a good thing since I’m spending tomorrow at my parents’ farm – days always filled with lots of food choices.  I’ll be able to enjoy myself within reason and not worry about surpassing my limit when I weigh in the next day.

All of us know people who struggle with weight loss, or who struggle with maintaining previous weight loss.  If you have never had to share their struggles, consider yourself fortunate.  Losing weight takes hard work, dedication, and usually a lot of time.  I haven’t had to deal with the issue anywhere close to the extent many others do every day.  Still, I can at least vouch for the satisfaction that comes from reaching a weight loss goal regardless of the quantity of loss, and of keeping it off.

So let me say a public “thank you” to my company, Humana, for their constant efforts among employees to promote health and wellness in all aspects of life, and especially for campaigns such as the 100 Day Dash which add a little fun, excitement, competition and reward to healthy behaviors.  Humana, you are a great partner in my wellness.

To others struggling with weight issues, I encourage you to set a reasonable goal, determine to do what it takes daily in terms of diet, exercise and improved behaviors, and perhaps solicit the help and encouragement of friends, family or coworkers willing to accompany you on your journey.  Uphill struggles are easier when you’re not alone.

Reaching a goal is very satisfying.  Being able to maintain it and not go back to unhealthier conditions is even better.

Happy anniversary, me!  I’ll see you again the same time next year.

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