What seems like a few years ago, which in reality was half of my life ago, I was a bit overweight… quite a bit overweight. When I graduated from high school, I maxed out at 285 pounds. The funny thing about it was I had no idea I was actually overweight. The day it dawned on me was a day in school when someone described me as a bit overweight. It was then I took a look at photos of myself, the stretch marks on my body, and deep in my soul and admitted to myself that yes, I was overweight. The hardest bit to accept was the fact that no one had done this to me but me. No one was forcing food down my throat. No one was keeping me inside my room or on the couch. No one, but me.

The post high school years were quite a change for me. I had taken a more active approach to life. Rollerblading, Karate, bike riding, going outside more, as well as eating less had all started to show a positive effect.  So much so, that two years after I had graduated, I was down to about 175 pounds. People that I had graduated with two years prior weren’t even recognizing me! It was a great feeling.

Then came the Western years. Great years! Most evenings of my first year at Western were spent at the student rec center playing racquetetball or lifting weights. It also wasn’t uncommon to be out rollerblading, mountain biking, or running during the late hours of the evening. The changes in my overall fitness were once again something I hadn’t really noticed. The times I was reminded that I was changing were the times I came home and my family would comment on how different I looked.

Fast forward a couple of years and enter the workouts with Crystal, before and after marriage.

As a salaried flight instructor at Western, we had the privilege of working out at West Hills Tennis Club in Kalamazoo at a rather discounted rate. We were gym rats. Suddenly, we were the people that the gym staff knew. If we hadn’t been there in a couple of days, they would ask us why we had been absent for a while. It was a great feeling.

During this time, we decided to try Body for Life. Along with a group of friends, we started a message board, worked out, ate better, and kept each other motivated. The changes among all of us were amazing. Transformations some may call them. Everyone seemed to have a good time and getting healthy!

Fast forward a couple of years. Crystal and I moved to Portland. Suddenly the closest gym was 30 minutes away. We decided to purchase a home gym to try to work out at home. After about seven months, the Bowflex we purchased was paid for if we compared it to the cost of a gym membership.  It is a versatile home gym that gets the job done. No one will ever get huge working out on a bowflex, but one can maintain muscle and overall fitness.  To compliment the gym and take care of the cardio side of things, we purchased a recumbent bike. The bike has honestly gotten the most use out of the two. It is quiet, efficient, and we used to set it in the living room where there was a constant reminder it was there.

We soon learned that working out at home is nothing like working out at a gym. When one drives to the gym, they are making the drive for one purpose. To work out. There are people in the gym that indirectly motivate you by working out. There are also people there to help push you and take your workout up a notch or two.  When you work out at home, you don’t really have any of this. Another problem with working out at home is that one can be easily distracted.

Enter kids. Suddenly, eating the right way becomes almost impossible (or so it seemed.) Working out? Ha! That down time was spent trying to sleep. Suddenly, the blood pressure and weight are both headed a bit north.

Time goes on. We have a second child. Coincidentally, the room we had been using as a gym now has to be used as an actual bedroom the the Bowflex gets put into storage.

We buy a house and move to Lansing. The wonderful thing about the house is we suddenly have more room than we ever had in the apartment. We are able to set up the Bowflex and the bike in the same room in the basement plus have a whole house to live in. This helps a bit in that when I go downstairs, it is to work out (sort of like the gym.)

This now brings us to September of 2009.  I had a revelation. Something of a “duh” moment. I have never met an overweight runner. Suddenly, I’m thinking I’d like to give running a shot. Running only requires shoes and somewhere to go. Perfect for a workout on the road! It’s something I’ve done bits of in the past, but never really with any consistency.

Doing a bit of research, the Couch to 5k running program/planned seemed to be the most popular option as well as one that I felt would fit me well. The only dilema I had was the lack of a stopwatch. Simple solution would be to buy a stopwatch, right?  Instead, I found some podcasts. In the podcasts, a gentleman named Robert Ullreys tells you when to start and stop your walking as well as when to start and stop your running.  Long story made a bit shorter: by the end of the 9 week program, I was doing a 5 minute warm-up, running for a full 30 minutes, and then a 5 minute cool down.

That program ended for me last December. Since then, I’ve been running 2 to 3 times a week and it’s amazing how that little thing in my life improves my overall mood as well as the fit of my clothes.

In December, I figured I’m already doing the cardio portion of Body for Life, why not hit the weight side of it as well, after all, it had worked well for me in the past. That’s exactly what I did. I started lifting on the days I wasn’t running. The fitness improvements started coming again. The difference from a few years ago is the changes weren’t coming as quickly as they had in the past.

Then January rolled around. I was getting into better shape. I was now able to run a 5k in around 30 minutes. I was able to lift more weight than I had a month ago, but something was still missing… or maybe something was there that shouldn’t be there. Food and beer, two of my favorite things.
Not a heavy drinker, but I did enjoy a beer or two a couple nights out of the week, I realized that every time I drank it was after the kids went to bed, and shortly before my bed time. I was consuming alcoholic empty calories right before bed. Not the greatest of things to do. We were also ordering pizza weekly, eating out three or four nights a week, and snacking on chips and other not so great foods.  All of the things that half of my life ago had put me into a situation I didn’t like. The difference here is I have also been running and lifting so the weight wasn’t racing up, but the clothes hadn’t necessarily fit any more loosely..

At the beginning of January, I started the Eating for Life portion of Body for Life. At least, my version of it. Taking the philosophy, nutrient ratios, and portion sizes, I started eating the part as well as keeping up with the fitness side.

Once again, changes are happening. The belt loop is down to the notch it was back in 2002 (which is when we actually followed the Body for Life plan to the letter),  the miles are being put on the shoes, and the Bowflex, as well as gyms on the road, have seen more visits from me than all of last year.

For me, it’s about small lifestyle changes that are healthy, making fitness a habit and not a chore, and having the energy to enjoy all of my time at home.

In my adult life I have seen the scale range from 170 – 285. I haven’t seen it above 200 in quite a while.. but then again, I decided long ago to judge my healthy on my waist size, clothing size, blood pressure, and overall feeling while not relying heavily on what the scale says.

Some days working out or eating the right way is the hardest thing in the world to do. Sitting around doing nothing or eating that burger and fries sound much more appealing and more convenient. But, for me, if I chose not to lift, I feel guilty the next day. If I eat poorly, not only does my conscience let me know I did something not too great, but my body reassures me it is running on some contaminated fuel.

For me, there is no pill. There is no magic diet. Being healthy is lifting something that is slightly heavier than I could lift yesterday, running a bit faster or further than I could yesterday, and enjoying every moment of today! I do it for my children. I do it for my wife. I do it for me.  After all, it is a decision only I could make.

One Response to Changes – Scott’s Weight and Workout Story

  1. Thomas says:

    Scott, you’re an inspiration. I am at 223, which is about 10 lbs short of my peak and about 45 lbs higher than my target. I am realizing that with my turning 30 in a few weeks, I’m no longer invincible.

    Thankfully, I’ve always been fairly athletic despite my fluctuating weight and sedentary lifestyle, and was able to sustain 8 mph on the treadmill last night for a good 15 minutes. Baby steps!

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