I have struggled with weight my whole life, even if I appear to be in great shape now. I almost wish sometimes that I let myself put on a ton of weight before getting into shape to prove that I do have to struggle. It gets old listening to people say how nice it must be to have it so easy. I look the way I do because of choices that I make every day, and things could be very different, if not for an embarrassing trip to the pediatrician when I was ten or eleven. Instead of gently telling me that I needed to lose a few pounds, my doctor pinched my far-from-flat belly in one hand, jiggled it, and with an expression that said Do this or die, told me I needed to take care of that.
I was mortified. I knew that everyone on my dad’s side of the family struggled with obesity, and my dad had warned me on more than one occasion that if I entered adulthood overweight, it would be hard to take and keep the weight off. But I wasn’t worried—I was nowhere near adulthood, right? That doctor’s visit was the first time I felt degraded enough to do something about my body.
If I were to be reincarnated based on my metabolism alone, I would come back as a sloth. So for me it doesn’t come down to just diet or exercise but both. Over the years, I’ve discovered the tricks that do and don’t work for me. For instance, those cute little ten minute workouts don’t work. They simply don’t burn the amount of calories that I need to maintain weight, much less lose.
So when I come across something that works, I add it to my routine. The jump rope was the first tool that really helped me shed pounds, and I’ve used it regularly since my senior year in high school. Then in college I started drinking meal shakes, more out of convenience than anything else. I’ve drunk them ever since, from Kashi to Slim Fast, and now ViSalus. People have teased me about them, but if I didn’t drink them, it would be so much harder to maintain my weight.
I added P90X in 2009, and I love it. I supplement with the jump rope, a recumbent bike, and some circuit training to keep my muscles challenged. Someone told me once that I was crazy for trying an extreme workout. And I have no delusions of being on the next cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition—I’m still going to have knot-knees, no matter how fit I am—but with P90X, I did achieve the best fitness of my adult life. Never before could I do a real, unassisted pull up, but P90X helped me build up enough strength to finally do what I thought was impossible.
With P90X, I became a stickler for logging my food intake, something I only did sporadically before. Whenever I don’t do it, I gain weight because I don’t feel accountable. I finally found an app called SlimKicker that not only counts calories, but it also keeps a log of my weight and exercise, and it has fitness, diet, and lifestyle challenges that keep me on my toes.
I’ve organized my life to make sure that fitness is a priority (one of many). It takes discipline and sacrifice, but I hope to be a good example to my children. More importantly, I hope to be healthy enough to see them into adulthood.