|By CDC. via Wikimedia Commons|
I committed permanently to lose weight in my early 40's. While then leading a largely sedentary lifestyle, and enjoying the nutritional intake more appropriate to my former high school swim team days, I accommodated my ever-growing waist line by periodic shopping trips for new clothes. While aware of my weight, I wasn't concerned until I was shocked by the sales clerk who informed me that he didn't carry "my size", and in turn I'd need to go to a "big and tall men's store". Finally realizing that my 50+ lbs. of surplus weight would force an expensive change in my complete wardrobe, I was also reminded of the likely consequence of my continued lifestyle through observing my obese father's painful hip surgery and recovery. So, with a double dose of fear, but the inspiration and encouragement provided by a long-time friend's successful loss of 65 lbs. I made my commitment on that day. In the subsequent six months, despite a continued lack of exercise I was nevertheless successful in reaching my 165 lb. goal weight owing to my continued determination and motivation.
Upon reaching my goal weight a colleague made a statement then asked me a question - the combination of which helped determine my more important subsequent success: "While it's great that you've reached your goal weight, it's a shame that you're almost certain to re-gain it all. I know you're not a runner, but why don't you join me tomorrow morning for a run?" While I initially felt angry at the perceived slight, I was well aware that the vast majority of Americans who lose a significant amount of weight, but who don't make a substantive and permanent increase in their activity level, in fact do re-gain. So, with a quick trip to the sports store for the necessary equipment I did take him up on his suggestion and ran the next morning. Now, nearly twelve years later, with well over ten thousand pleasurable road and trail runs under my belt I'm even more thankful for that friend's timely input. I've found through the sport of running a fun activity which I enjoy year-round that has provided me many friendships, positive life experiences and a tremendous amount of stress reduction - with absolutely certain positive health benefits far surpassing merely helping to effectively control my weight.
I encourage all runners to quickly read through the shocking F as in Fat report and to then use your influence to increase the awareness of others to this vital problem. It affects ourselves, our families, our economy and our society - both in the short and long-term. Here are two short but good motivational and informative videos entirely on-topic: