Support, time key in getting healthier

Published 4:10 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

By early February, most people have already long abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. For the last several years, I always made the resolution to lose weight, eat better and exercise more.

That lasted maybe a week and a half in a good year.

However, following a doctor’s visit last summer, I finally had the commitment to see that goal through. I was just 32 but already on high blood pressure medication and the doctor wanted to start to put me on another prescription to lower my cholesterol.

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I decided that enough was enough and to get serious about being healthy. Since July, I’ve lost almost 50 pounds and as of a recent checkup am off all medicine.

My doctor was floored to see me for the first time since last summer. It was also a nice surprise to see people over Christmas, some I hadn’t seen since the same time the year before. As someone jokingly told me, “You are half the man you used to be.”

I don’t say any of this to brag, but I have been asked repeatedly what I did and what advice I would have to people.

I’m certainly not an expert. My weight loss was due to diet and exercise plus time.

But I do have some tips I would give to people still following through on those resolutions or anyone wanting to get in better shape.

*Don’t try to do it alone. Find someone to hold you accountable. For me this was a friend who worked with at The Demopolis Times who actually lost more than 100 pounds over a couple of years. He had an inspirational story that challenged me to do better. But I also made friends at the YMCA, which I barely had visited before last summer. If you haven’t checked out the Y, I would recommend it.

I’ve told YMCA executive director Ann Murray a few times that I was going to write something about getting in shape.

She’s told me she wanted to check and see how many times I had visited since the summer because I’m usually there at least twice a day.

Not everyone has time to work out multiple times a day, but I think it’s key to find people to support you in making positive changes.

*Don’t give up. Early on, I cheated on the diet a lot. Like almost every other day. I felt bad for doing it but just vowed to try to do better the next day and slowly it stuck.

I didn’t try to give up pizza or Coke overnight. I think any diet or exercise plan that require drastic changes in a short period of time is unrealistic and won’t having last results.

I still have days where I’ll have a fast food burger or a few doughnuts but over time healthier habits do take when you are persistent about them.