A little over three years ago, I woke up one morning and got on the bathroom scale. Whoa! I was up to 279 pounds. I was ashamed. Here I am the person who travels the countryside talking about servant leadership, and my body was anything but. I had to change and quickly. I have plenty of goals but there was no way I was going to reach them if I wasn’t healthy, so I embarked on the journey to better health. As of this writing, I weigh 182 pounds.
I’d like to share with you eight simple steps that have changed my life.
1. It’s more than losing weight. I have embarked on a lifestyle change and made a conscience choice to become a healthier person. I get in bed every night by 9:30 and usually fall asleep before 10:30. I use this hour time period to wind down and reflect on the day. I try not to read anything too serious or watch anything on television too dramatic (or comical).
2. If it has wings or swims—eat it! I eat only turkey, fish and chicken, and it must be grilled or baked. Grilled and/or baked meats without all the seasonings is like eating little-to-zero calories. I also eat lots and lots of sweet potatoes. For breakfast, I usually eat eggs whites (over well) with wheat toast. Skillet apples are also my favorite. I try to have the mindset that breakfast, lunch, and dinner are no longer the most important event of my day.
3. Little to no salt. This is the tough part because it really takes some getting use to. Early on my food was like eating a handkerchief. I eat out often because of the nature of my work but only at certain restaurants where I know the chicken has a low sodium count. Most of the meats in the freezer section in grocery stores and in restaurants come pre-packaged in lots of sodium, so take extra precaution here.
4. Drink plenty of water. I think this is self-explanatory, although I don’t drink much after 7:00 p.m. Can you guess why?
5. Lifelong learner. I continue to increase my knowledge of exercise and the proper foods to eat. With the Internet, there is no shortage of information. I also read Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect Health. Now, this really helped me a lot. All my life I’ve been told to eat my vegetables. However, according to Deepak, there are certain vegetables that are not good for me. I highly recommend this book.
6. Commune with nature. According to Deepak, the perfect time for me to get in my exercise is between 6-8 a.m. each day. I like to walk but I don’t think of it as exercise. I want to make a point of emphasis here. When I walk, I use the time to pray, meditate, and think. I don’t walk fast. I am not a marathoner. Besides, I want my knees to be in good shape when I turn 70.
7. Splurge but be careful. Yes, I do splurge but I try not to go overboard. I like to eat a good fried chicken finger plate once in a while. For more than two years, I didn’t drink sodas. During the last year I may have had three. I also like sweet potato and apple pie (but notice the fruit content here).
8. Live in reality. I have been fat all my life. There, I said it, but I am talking about a mentality and not a physicality. My dad said my weight problems began when he had central air conditioning installed in our house during the summer of my seventh grade year in school. Weight gain has always been a problem for me. I have been the consummate Yo-Yo dieter, but no more. That is why I don’t look at this as a diet. I will reiterate. This is a lifestyle change. It has to be because I realize I am still one doughnut away from being fat again.
I hope these steps help you.