Today I consider my lifestyle to be in the top 20 percent of Americans when it comes to healthy living. When you consider the way Americans live, that is not a difficult accomplishment and I am working on improving. For now, I would like to reflect on how I got here.
Way back in the mid to late eighties, I took a class in college called Personal Wellness. In that class, the teacher casually mentioned the downside of sugar and instead, focused on the evils of fat. She made it seem like as long as our calories were from less than 30% fat, we were eating a healthy diet. Coke has no fat so it must be healthy. That was message I got, although I never thought Coke was healthy, I just thought it was better than a bacon cheeseburger.
I moved to Florida in 1988 and my son was born in 1989. By the time he was around four years old I noticed he was becoming overweight and I wanted to try to buy healthier food. At the time, my ex did the shopping and was buying tons of crap food like soda and honey buns so I decided to do the shopping myself and I bought what I thought was healthy food. I know now it was really just less unhealthy. It didn’t matter though because my ex put up a big stink about it and the crap food came back into the house.
In 1999 I married Rose, my current wife. She was a bit more health conscious and would usually make nice home cooked meals rather that eat something out of a package. The problem was, about eight years after I met her I had gained over 35 pounds.
One day in 2007, I was listening to a radio show in Tampa Bay where the host was skewing a guy named Kevin Trudeau who wrote a book called Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About. He made it sound like the author was crazy nutcase that just escaped from the asylum. The fact that the host had no medical expertise made me think he was just a close-minded jerk. A few weeks later I saw the book and decided that I could read it with an open-mind, so I bought it.
I must say that it was an interesting and informative book that made a lot of sense but it was written in a somewhat arrogant style that put everything in black and white. This side is good, that side is bad and there is no in between. I decided to do research and found many natural health experts that agreed with much of what was in the book.
My research led me to another book by Raymond Frances called Never Be Sick Again. This was the best book on health I have ever read. The basic premise of the book is that all illnesses are caused by malfunctioning cells and cells malfunction for two reasons: lack of proper nutrition and toxins. So the book is about caring for your cells which in turn will lead to better health.
This made perfect because I had already concluded that a lifestyle similar to our early ancestors is how we were meant to live and everything in this book pointed in that direction. It also talked about all the toxins in our environment and how to avoid as many as possible.
From that point time on I was hooked on healthy living. My wife was interested too but not to the extent I was. This made it more of a challenge, and still does, but I still managed to drop from 222 pounds to 189 pounds in about a year or so. I stayed there until we moved to Myrtle Beach in 2009 when everything changed.
After the move I tried to continue my healthy eating habits but the weight started coming back. Even after moving back to Florida, I continued to gain weight. It didn’t come back as fast as I lost it, but after three years I was five pounds heavier than when I started my healthy eating habits. I should note that even though I gained the weight back, I was still much healthier than I was five years before. I had more energy and never got sick, except for what I would consider the beginning of a cold. My immune system always fought it off before it got bad.
The only thing that was different about my life these last three years was that the amount of exercise I was getting dropped to almost nothing. Before moving, I was walking everyday during my lunch time, but I did not take a lunch break at work in Myrtle Beach. I bought a bicycle to compensate but it is not a bike friendly area. As a matter of fact, there was absolutely no safe way to ride to work without adding too many miles to the trip.
Before I bore you with a long story, I just want to say that since buying my recumbent bike and riding the ten miles to work about three times a week, I have even more energy and the weight is slowly starting to come off again. I feel really good about my future and I plan to improve my eating habits even more.
My motivation to write this was because my weight this morning was 221, under the 222 that I was at before starting my new health habits in 2007 and six pounds less than when I bought my bicycle. I know six pound is not much but I also know the cooler, drier weather is coming so I will be riding almost every day. I will keep you posted on my progress.