I was fat, super obese, morbidly obese. Whatever term you want to use, it doesn’t change the fact that at close to 450 pounds I was a big man and sick.
In 2006 God presented an opportunity and I grabbed it like a starving frog grabs a bug. I was sick and tired of being sick. I was tired of watching life instead of participating in life. I hated being on the sidelines, I wanted to live they way we are suppose to live, being activity and happy. I had neither. It hurt deeply to watch my grand kids playing and I couldn’t play with them.
It’s always during this fall season that I always reflect on the past year. It’s a special time of year for me. The journey of my lifetime began during the fall of 2006 and to say I am grateful is powerfully understated. I am forever blessed because I was desperate for change and not afraid of to try when the opportunity presented itself.
Life is truly a blessing, or a curse. I guess it depends on your perspective. I decided to change mine from a curse to a blessing. Regardless of your age or condition in most cases, you can improve your health and fitness. Just a little or extremely, the choice is yours.
In November of 2006 I began a wellness journey even though I had no clue what I was doing at the time. I was close to 450 pounds, diabetic, had high blood pressure, severe arthritis in my knees and ankles, sleep apnea, hives, rosacea and ocular rosacea. I hadn’t planned the journey; it was a blessing that came about while trying to help my wife overcome her debilitating fibromyalgia. This life event pushed me in the direction of nutrition. I am so blessed that it did.
Just so you understand my condition at the time, I couldn’t walk more than 200 feet without severe pain. Additionally, walking more than 10 minutes caused shortness of breath. My ability to exercise was severely restricted. Most people in this condition don’t see a way to exercise because of the physical limitations of their obesity or affliction. It’s certainly understandable. I didn’t believe it was possible but I wanted my life back more than you can imagine. I hated watching my grandchildren playing while I watched. I wanted to be in the game with them.
Of all times to decide to try a new diet or lose weight the Thanksgiving and Christmas season wouldn’t be logical. But this wasn’t a diet it was a life change. An opportunity presented itself and I was not going to wait. I was jumping on the opportunity train! Dieting had gotten me too this point in my health and I wasn’t going back down that road.
My diet at this time was the same typical nutrient bankrupt American diet. However i I started adding nutritional supplements to my daily routine. Within a week my mood was better, my energy picked up and my blood sugar readings were improving. By week 2 my appetite was decreasing and my taste began to change. I am not sure how to explain this but my desire for some unhealthy foods just went away. My wife actually brought it to my attention that I wasn’t having my normal honey buns, ice cream or candy bars as snacks or after dinner. Something in my body was changing.
By week 3 my energy level increased so much I decided to try to go for a walk. I was hopeful that my legs would bear the load and support me in my journey! My first walk was 200 feet. My knees hurt and felt very unstable but my gut told me I had to do it if I wanted any chance to improve my health. I had to just work through the pain. When I got back to my office I made a commitment that was a crucial part of my journey. I committed to walking everyday and making each walk a little longer. I was amazed that my body responded to the challenge by getting healthier. The improvement was evident because my blood sugar levels continued to improve, I started to lose weight, I was able to walk longer each time and my energy continued to increase. In 2 weeks I was walking a mile without stopping.
By the end of 1 month my blood sugar levels were normal and I was walking multiple times per day. My blood pressure started coming down and the weight was really starting to come off. My taste were shifting even more. Without even really thinking about it our meals were changing. We started cutting out the fried foods and went to baked or grilled foods. We started adding a lot of vegetables with a few fruits and beans to our diet and cut out the breads and unhealthy desserts.
By the end of 6 months I was walking up to 8 miles a day and every aspect of my health was improving. It took me 2 and 1/2 years to lose 220 pounds and it was a journey I still walk everyday. In fact, I have no health issues at all as I am sharing this with you.
For the past two years my main exercise of choice is bicycling. I absolutely love cycling. Cycling is fun and a great way to get exercise. Regardless what type of bicycling you choose such as cruising around the park or town, cycling on a trail or a riding a road bike, its fun exercise.
I want to show you what I have been able to accomplish physically over the past year. I am not bragging. This is just to show you how far you can take your health if you really want it.
My bicycling accomplishments for the past year
- 4,126 miles bicycling during the last year
- 132,126 calories burned
- 1 century ride (any ride more than 100 miles)
- 8 metric centuries (rides greater than 62.5 miles)
- 17 rides of 50+ miles
- 26 rides of 40 miles or more
- 42 rides of 30 miles or more
- 96 rides of 20 or more miles
Climbed Paris Mountain 6 times (2.3 miles with an average grade of 7%) The term “grade” is the degree of pitch or steepness of the road.
Climbed the Saluda grade 3 times (a 4 mile ride that averages a 5% grade)
Climbed Callahan Mountain 2 times (a 1 mile ride that averages a grade of 7% )
Participated in the following cycling charity events
- FestiVelo SC 2013 (170 miles over 3 days)
- Safe Harbor Ride 2014 (63 miles)
- The Ride to Remember 2014 ( a three day 256 mile ride across South Carolina)
- Upstate Forever Ride 2014 (42 miles)
- Hincapie Gran Fondo 2014 (50 miles)
- FestiVelo SC 2014* (260 miles over 4 days)
*Upcoming in the next month so it is counted in this years activities
You will never change your life if you don’t change something you are doing. Please get off the couch and out of the fast food restaurants and build the kind of body you want! It starts with your next bite and next step.
Regardless of your age or condition, your health can always be worse or it can be better. You have control over what you eat and how much you move. Even if you are limited in your mobility, there are ways to exercise.
I hope this motivates you to decide to get healthier this coming year. Anything is possible but it takes making changes in your life. You have to want it and I hope you do.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Before exercising get your doctors approval.