AUGUST, 2013 Cruises can lead to two opportunities for those focused on weight loss: a SERIOUS relapse or a SERIOUS opportunity. I was, thankfully, able to choose the later. After leaving my wife and kids in California for a few weeks while I went back to New York to work, I reconnected with my family in late August, 2013 in Seattle, where we went on a cruise to Alaska. Cruises are historically known for a place to binge, but there are a lot of healthy alternatives there as well.
The exercise rooms are pretty good. They also offer exercise classes; the “promenade” deck on large cruise ships creates a great walking opportunity, and there is often a jogging track on the top of the ship.
I made it a point to walk on the treadmill on the cruiseship about 3 miles a day. Nice, slow walk on the treadmill. Lots of fit people running. Oh well. Walk slow. Walk steady. Yes, you can lose weight on a cruise.
JULY, 2013: Can you diet in Disneyland? That was a real challenge in late July of 2013, when my family vacation at the start of my diet brought me to the land of Churros, Cotton Candy, Ice cream everywhere, and just about every type of bad food: DISNEYLAND. The only thing worse than dieting at Disneyland is dieting on a cruise. This picture is taken at the California Adventure park at Disney, outside of Ghiradelli Ice Cream. Later on I remember my wife telling me she knew I was getting very serious for the first time about health when I sat next to my kids as they ate my greatest vice – ice cream, and I had nothing. I guess it was kind of a “change” moment.
At this point I was around 260 lbs. I was walking about 3 miles on the treadmill at about 3 miles an hour. Yes, I was slow. Each day at the hotel I would see people come in the gym and run on the treadmills, while I could only walk. I remember longingly hoping that maybe, just maybe when I come to this hotel next summer (summer of 2014), maybe I would be 175 lbs. It was an optimistic thought I know but you have to be an optimist.
I also remember seeing this young guy jump on the treadmill next to me. The belt on that treadmill was flying. I sneaked a peak and saw he was going 7.5 MPH compared to my 3 MPH. He blew through a 3 mile run. Shocked me. I doubted I could ever run that fast for 1 mile much less 3. Only time would tell.
July 13 – July 15, 2013. After being told the obvious, in June, I was told to try and cut back on bad foods and that I had to take a stress test. I was given my first stress test. The nurse at that test told me she had lost 88 lbs. She was now running 5Ks. Pretty impressive. Not that I knew what a 5k was! She thought they would have me sweating to the requisite level for the stress test in a matter of just 5 minutes (a stress test deals with heart rate so they put you on a treadmill). She was almost right – it was less than 5 minutes. So between two days of cardiology and primary care detailing about just how unhealthy I was, I was told I needed to do three things (yup – same thing my wife and anyone else with half a brain had been telling me, but I ignored them).
So on July 15, 2013, my wife’s birthday, I proudly told my MD I had dropped about 15 lbs in just three weeks. She smiled, but the fact remained – I was still morbidly obese. I was still pre-diabetic. 15 lbs was not even CLOSE to enough, but there was a spark. I was told to do three things that day that have changed my life since then:
1. Try the South Beach diet I was told by the Doctor (nobody had been that specific with an actual before, but it turned out to be the perfect diet for met).
2. Cut out the soda (apparently soda is filled with sugar – who’d of thought that?). Devouring 2 – 4 pepsi’s a day is not actually good for you, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
3. Oh yeah, the most painful part – “when you have access to an exercise machine at hotels (I traveled a lot then), I want you walking slowly on it”, I was told by the MD. THANK GOODNESS – I only had to walk slow – because I was planning on sprinting! What I didn’t mention was that I had access to a treadmill – it had been being used as a clothes hanging machine downstairs for at the past couple of years – did I finally have to use it?????
The good news from the stress test was my heart was actually not in bad shape at all. Morbidly Obese – absolutely. Blood with lots of sugar – big time. Heart was strong though – so that allowed me to exercise safely. . . . So I did.
June 24, 2013. Not words any 40 year old wants to hear. But it was true. While I had been RUNNING a law practice full of stress, with offices spread over 100 miles apart, working 7 days a week, often 10 – 16 hours a day, I hadn’t been doing any actual RUNNING at all. Eating bad in the morning. And in the mid-morning. And in the afternoon. And in the late-afternoon. And – at night. Eating at a desk or in a car. Not good.
So it was those words that I heard on June 24, 2013 – morbid obese and pre-diabetic, that startled me. Everything you never want to hear from a Doctor. Things about not being there for your kids; about not making it to 50. Startling words that shouldn’t haver startled me at all. But they did. I rarely let someone take pictures of me before 2014. The two on this post are ones I thought I actually looked “good” in – and allowed to be taken – April and May of 2013. They are my last “before” pictures. Change was coming.
June 24, 2013. The title of this post is a song by John Mellencamp. It probably can mean different things to different people, but I guess what it means to me is live in the moment and make that moment count toward your future. My future started June 24, 2013 with a wake up call. The wake up call was a visit to a doctor and stepping onto that square thing that measures stress known as a scale. It had been a while since I did that. I didn’t like what I saw. It was over 275, I will leave it at that. For 5’6″, not good.