We are excited to announce our guest blogger, Chris. Chris participated in the Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less program over the Summer and shares his journey- and incredible success. Congrats, Chris!
I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea if Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less was the right program for me. I had heard several people tout its success and the positive impact it had on their lives. Would it have the same impact on my life? Weight has never been something to get me down or hold me back from something I’ve wanted to do. I never saw my weight as an issue. Sure, I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I have been extremely lucky in the fact that to this point I have not had any major health issues associated with my size. I think maybe what I realize now is that luck will only get you so far in life, before it runs out. It’s time for a change. It’s time to take control of my future. It’s time to insure I am around to hold my grandbabies.
My youth was spent as an athlete. I played sports year round. I’ve never been the skinny scrawny guy. I’ve always been bigger. But, I could run 5 miles and not be winded, something that was routinely required by a career Army father. At 17 I was 6’3” 208lbs and joined the Navy. I’d like to say it was the sedentary lifestyle of being at sea, but in the end I know it was my lack of motivation and discipline that led me to reach 315lbs when I finished my 6 year stint in the service.
My weight has never been anything to hold me back. I’ve been able to do like I have wanted for the most part. And I’ve never been one for diets or exercise fads. From time to time I would find motivation and lose weight, look better, and feel better. But, the motivation was always short lived and no permanent lifestyle changes were implemented. I have new motivation now in knowing that my clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before that luck runs out. This program is about lifestyle changes. It’s about forming healthy habits. Those are the types of changes that last. These changes are something that I can incorporate into my life forever and even my children’s lives.
After participating in this program I have learned a lot about myself and how I can improve my health through minor modifications. To me, this program was about behavior modification through education. The instructor teaches you about how your body interacts with certain foods and the effects they have on your lifestyle and health. The good thing for me was that it was not an all or nothing with this program. It wasn’t “you have to give up all of this or that.” It was about making small changes that wouldn’t have a huge impact on your lifestyle. This program is designed to get you healthy and keep you healthy.
My biggest issue is and has always been Mt. Dew. I have never been one to drink coffee. I didn’t drink a whole lot of soft drinks as a kid, but when I was in the service, sometimes you would need the caffeine to stay awake on night watches. I started using Mt. Dew and stayed hooked on it for years. When I started the class I was drinking at least two, sometimes three, twenty ounce bottles of Mt. Dew a day. Anyone can tell you that that is bad. You don’t need the class to tell you that. But, there was a lesson on drinks where the instructor showed you how much sugar was in various beverages. That was a bit eye opening. I still struggle with the Mt. Dew. But, I am down to just a couple per week vs. a couple per day.
Another thing I learned about was orange juice. I love orange juice. Always have. This is what I would always drink as a kid and it may be why it was so easy for me to get hooked on Mt. Dew (it’s made with OJ). I could drink a gallon of OJ in one sitting. I always thought “it’s OJ, it’s healthy”. Fruit and vegetables are supposed to be healthy, right? This class taught me how much sugar is added to orange juice. There is also very little fiber in orange juice so it doesn’t fill you up. Eating a whole orange is much better choice because it is very low in calories, has no added sugar, and it contains fiber so it fills you up. I didn’t know. I try to monitor the amount of OJ I consume now.
A few weeks into this program I injured my knee while having a disagreement with my lawnmower. I had to have orthoscopic surgery and was not able to participate in the “Move More” portion of the program as much as I would have liked. I still lost half the weight towards my goal, just by making small changes to my eating patterns. All this by making baby steps on the road to a healthier me.