Looking For Some Healthy Inspiration
It’s mid afternoon Wednesday, September 29. I have a deadline approaching – my monthly ramblings for the Metro Run & Walk newsletter. I’m lamenting to Bruce about my lack of inspiration, and whining about how even though we’ve pleaded over and over for ideas, our loyal newsletter readers have been silent – hint, hint! ;-)We get to talking about how difficult it is to not only come up with timely, relevant ideas for a monthly article (as I’ve said before, I don’t know how the syndicated columnists do it), but how difficult it is to actually write them once you have an idea. I go on to reminisce about how, as a college student, I thought I wanted to be a writer – and then realized I had absolutely nothing to say, so changed majors from English to mathematics. (Bruce remarked, with a smile on his face, that from what he’d read in my monthly articles, I had a *LOT* to say – I took this as a diplomatic, yet veiled “constructive criticism” of the length of them, so will endeavor to make this one short and sweet!). (EDITOR’S NOTE: The editor struggles with this problem too!)But I digress. In a flash of inspiration, I asked Bruce (who’s also one of MRW’s certified running coaches) what the number one question he and Richard (MRW’s certified personal trainer) receive during MRW’s “First Steps,” “Next Steps,” and “Good Form” running and fitness programs. He immediately responded, “weight loss.”
Eat Less, Move More
I’m 62 years old. I’ve seen just about every weight loss program imaginable come and go. Atkins, Controlled Cheating, Hollywood, Scarsdale, South Beach, high-carb/low-fat, high fat/low carb, protein, grapefruit, chocolate(!), ……, you name it. They all work (to some degree), but the fact that there are so many and such varied diets out there tells me there’s no ideal, perfect diet. And I’ve come to the conclusion that *any* diet will work, at least initially and for some period of time, because it causes one to focus on what they’re eating, probably for the first time in their life. Ultimately, though, I think the “secret” to weight loss is very simple. (Keeping it off is another matter entirely.) In 1999, a young woman named Judy Molnar completed the fabled Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. This isn’t so remarkable – lots of young women finish the Ironman every year. The difference here is that three years earlier, Judy weighed 330 pounds, and was declared “morbidly obese” by her doctor. Reading those words on her chart in her doctor’s office shocked Judy into action, and she began a weight loss program, ultimately losing 130 pounds. Her secret? In her own words, “Eat less and move more.” (Read more about Judy’s amazing story)
Simple Truth: It Works
I can personally attest to Judy’s philosophy. In late 2000, I’d been running for about 25 years and had been participating in triathlons for about seven years. I’d done many races of varying distances, and was signed up for Ironman USA in Lake Placid the following July. I weighed 195 pounds – a weight I’d hovered around for decades. I decided I wanted to “race” (with me “racing” is a euphemism – I more accurately “participate” in races!) the Ironman USA at 175 pounds. (Candidly, I also wanted to be able to fit back into my 34 inch waist Levi 501 button-front jeans. I know my “true” waist size is 34, but 35 felt so good, I’d been buying 36’s!)Between January and July of 2001, I practiced Judy’s mantra. I’d already formulated an aggressive, yet graduated training plan, so added to it some simple dietary changes. Instead of the haphazard eating schedule I’d had for decades, I attempted to eat three smaller, well-balanced meals a day (starting with a substantial, healthy breakfast, and ending with a small-ish dinner). I also snacked regularly throughout the day – fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, juices – and drank LOTS of water. The two biggest changes though, and the two most difficult parts of this “diet” were giving up most alcohol, and not eating my normal 2nd helping of dinner (habits I’ve reverted to since, unfortunately).Over the course of 6-7 months, I gradually lost 20 pounds. As I was very careful and mindful of what and how much I was eating, and as I was doing lots of yoga and cross training in addition to my swim, bike, and run workouts, I lost fat while gaining muscle, strength, endurance, and flexibility. As time went on, I found I recovered much more quickly from my workouts – in spite of the fact they were getting longer and more and more rigorous. I slept better, felt better, performed better (and looked better!). By race day, I can honestly say I was in the best shape off my life since I graduated from Officer Candidate School in 1971, and I finished IMUSA with a personal best. As I’ve said before, we’re all an experiment of one – but I think there are some universal truths in this simple, effective approach.While I offer the usual caveats: check with your doctor and YMMV (your mileage may vary), I honestly think Judy had, indeed, discovered “the secret.”
Train smartly, exercise sanely, and enjoy the beautiful Fall weather soon to be upon us!
Please let us know how we can help you achieve your goals.
- People lose weight with help, free diet meals-studies (reuters.com)
- My Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets (ensight.org)