Looking back at “big Jim” now reminds me that when I was that size no one close to me ever really acknowledged the fact I was overweight to my face. Friends and family used to say all the clichés (you’re not fat; just big boned, you’d look silly thin etc… and I believed it).
But then we bought a video camera and I heard what they really thought, on playback, through some off guard derogatory comments and mickey taking on a day out at the beach. The only honest person was my 7 year old nephew who said: “You’re quite portly, Uncle James!” it was then I realised I really should do something about it. Something to think about …
So what did I do …?
I decided to retrain my palette and brain to disregard crisps and sweets as food, replacing them with fruit, eating a big breakfast but filling up with soup or salad at lunchtime, learning how to manage hunger by snacking on nuts, and reduce portion sizes whilst maintaining a balanced and enjoyable diet with plenty of healthier treats.
Optimising available time to put in cardio-vascular exercise wherever possible, creating a new routine and habits (I think that’s the secret; a quick jog or walk before breakfast, keeping some dumbbells in the under-stairs cupboard for a quick 10 minute workout, making a bit of time to take the family swimming at the weekends, reducing alcohol intake by a half, swapping red wine for white and making red wine an occasional treat). Having said that, I firmly believe that a little bit of exercise will make a little bit of change but a BIG commitment to exercise will make a BIG change.
So, I made this big commitment to cycle to work. I’ll admit that is a bit obsessive and perhaps, with a 47 mile round trip, a bit excessive but it doesn’t really negatively impact on my life other than an extra hour’s travelling time per day, however I was already spending the best part of two hours in a car anyway. The positives FAR outweigh any loss of time. These positives include reduced motoring costs (significant reduction in fuel costs, reduced tyre wear and low mileage). In terms of health and quality of life benefits I get loads of fresh air, appreciate nature and the seasons more and burn over 1600 calories a day, giving my body a real cardio workout.
Because I’m “bike fit” though my commuting I can also really enjoy long social and recreational bike rides;100 mile rides present no problems and although I’m not going to win any races I can hold my own competitively with experienced cyclists several years younger than me (road and mountain). I now have a new circle of friends and 38 other cyclists following me on ‘Strava’. I cycled over 10,000 miles last year and I’m forecast to compete 12,000 this year.
My kids now think differently of me since I got fitter and shed 1/3 of my body mass. I can now confidently take them out for swims, runs and bike rides. My youngest (10) told me I was “awesome” the other day and my middle daughter (12) has really got into sports to try and keep up with me and even my eldest (14) has a begrudging respect. I think my wife quite likes her “Slim Jim” too, especially as I’ve stopped snoring; yet another benefit!
You can’t do better than that! I should write a book! I have a few tag lines such as “Jim’s Gym” of course and I’ve managed to get “fit for 50”.