I read that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps eats an estimated 12,000 calories per day. Even with this large consumption of food, Phelps has a hard time gaining weight because of his intense training schedule and super metabolism.
I remember those days when I could eat anything and not gain a pound. I didn’t gain my freshman 15 until I was out of college and only because I started lifting weights. When I reached my 30s, the fairytale was over. Work, family and other commitments kept me from the gym and years of office work and expense account meals helped to expand my waistband. Today if I were to eat as many calories as Michael Phelps does, I would have to have my own zip code.
I was in denial about the amount of weight I was gaining. Sure, I had to go up one pant size, but I chalked it up designer’s cutting their clothes differently. Of course, I got the snide remarks from family members about how fat I was getting (ya gotta love family), but I ignored them by rationalizing that they were just used to seeing me very thin.
I had gotten so lethargic that I wouldn’t even play with the kids in the backyard no matter how much they begged. It took two events to make me do something about my personal fitness and weight.
The first was running into a colleague, whom I had not seen in over a decade. I said hello and he stared at me blankly. When my face finally registered, he said that he didn’t recognize me because I had gained so much weight. I was shocked. The next motivator was my 20-Year high school class reunion. In high school, I weighed 125 lbs soaking wet. I had to look my best when I walked in the door.
To start the weight loss process, I stepped on the scale with much fear and trepidation. When I looked down, it read 188 lbs. I couldn’t believe it. I convinced myself that the scale was wrong. A subsequent weigh-in at the YMCA proved that it was right.
I immediately changed the way I ate, no more fried foods or sodas, and kept an online food journal. I know that the journal sounds a little anal retentive (my wife calls me the food Nazi), but it kept me on track by telling me where my calories were coming from. I also started exercising again. It was painful at first and I hated every bit of it. After a few weeks, the workouts became easier and I looked forward to them.
So far, I have lost, and kept off, 25 lbs. I won’t burden you with my before and after photos (although, I am really tempted to take off my shirt and show off my new bod). Suffice it to say that I am fitter and stronger than I have been in a long time. The BMI chart says that I should lose a few more pounds. That’s not gonna happen. As long as I can remain between 165-170 lbs, I’m good.
If you’ve been considering losing weight, I encourage you to go for it. Let me warn you that it won’t be easy. There will be several occasions when you’ll be tempted to revert to your old ways; however, when you start to see the numbers on the scale go backwards, you will feel more energized and committed. And when you finally reach your target, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. I certainly did.
Now instead of sitting on the couch with the remote in my hand, I spend evenings practicing soccer with my son, jumping rope with my daughter, or playing “Tag” with the both of them. No begging necessary.
Question: How do you stay fit?