Our sons played travel soccer together. So I initially believed that the phone call from Scott was soccer related.
It was much more serious than that. He wanted to meet for lunch to tell me that he suffered a stroke also. We were the same age and Scott thought talking about our health set backs would be beneficial to both of us.
Scott suffered his stroke in the spring of 2016. I was just out of the hospital still trying to grasp what happened to me when we met at Uptown Grill in the fall over Michigan chicken cherry salads.
Scott looked great. He’d dropped about 50 pounds and was all toned and looking good. He changed the way he ate and the way he worked out.
“I am hoping that you become that fit guy everybody talks about,” Scott said. “You can do it too.”
I wasn’t so sure. I just wanted a normal life. But Scott inspired me that day. We swapped stories and talked about living a long life for our families following stroke rehabilitation.
I am motivated for better fitness because I want to live a long life for my family. But Scott also acted as an inspiration. Here is a guy who went through the same thing as I and he left the tunnel of darkness a new man.
Since our meeting last October I’ve dropped 43 pounds and more importantly have my blood pressure and blood sugar under control.
Let me pass along Scott’s words.
YOU CAN DO IT TOO.
I go to the gym five days a week for 60-90 minute work outs. And I have eliminated pop and processed foods from my diet.
I did not set out to lose 40 or 50 pounds. Instead my goal was to lose five pounds, then lose five pounds again and again and again. It did not matter if it took me four days or two weeks, I was always on track and never got discouraged. I knew I’d lose the five pounds eventually.
I began my journey at 227 pounds. I am now between 183 and 186 pounds.
I wanted to dip below 200 pounds and then 195. But I was motivated and stimulated and got into the 180s. My nickname became “Skinny” although I encouraged some of my friends to call me “Slim Goody.”
I felt skinny although the body mass index indicates that I am eight pounds overweight. According to that wacky formula 90 percent of Americans are overweight.
You need small victories to keep you going. That is why the goal of losing five pounds, then doing it again, was so attainable. I wanted to drop my waist size from 38 to 36. I am now a 34 in the waist and wear large shirts rather than the oversized XXL’s which were a bit too big but I thought made me look slimmer.
So here is how I did it.
I led a busy life between working at The Detroit News and at 97.1 FM The Ticket. Often my favorite stop between newspaper assignments and radio work was fast food. Now my go to stop when I am rushing is Panera.
Between the salads, sandwiches and low sodium soup I have a variety of foods that are enjoyable to eat and are healthy.
I am not on a diet. It is a lifestyle change. My dinner usually consists of grilled salmon or bass, grilled or steamed vegetables, fruit and water. I gave up pop, which was difficult but necessary if I was to get better.
I do not go to bed hungry.
My other go to stop if I don’t have time to cook is the Henry at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. I can pick up salads, grilled salmon, grilled and barbecue chicken and vegetables. Meals are usually low sodium and are packed with flavor and I can pop them in the microwave and eat at home.
That’s it. There is no magic food or magic formula.
But I’ve made sacrifices. From Sunday to Friday night I don’t eat pizza, fries or drink alcohol. I enjoy Mexican or another treat Friday night with my son. And I splurge again on Saturday, although I mix in healthy meals on both days.
Five days a week I pop into Planet Fitness in Commerce Township for three miles of tread mill and free weight exercises.
I don’t kill myself. I began my treadmill setting at 2.7 and have worked up to a 4.0 in part because until recently I was physically unable to run.
I am surrounded by people both young and old in different stages of improvement. Always remember you are not competing with them. You are only trying to complete yourself.
You can do it too. Just take it five pounds at a time.