In my previous four books, I have discussed my life experiences and stories about myself and my family. I have also covered my travel and work in two additional books. What I have failed to discuss to any great extent is my physical health. As I stated in the foreword, I have been fighting my weight all of my life. While I have been overweight several times in my life, I have always managed to lose the weight when I set my mind to it. My weight has also never affected my health to any degree. Unfortunately as I got older, my metabolic rate has slowed down and weight loss has become problematic. I have noticed that as I edge closer and closer to the 60 year mark, so does my weight increase.
When I hit the 270-pound mark, my blood pressure became an issue. I am currently on two anti-hypertensive medications. I have also been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. I have always had issues with cholesterol levels in my blood, that is just genetics. Even when my BMI was 18, my cholesterol was hovering around 200. I will discuss that later on in the book. When I hit the 305-pound mark, I started becoming short of breath when I went on the all too infrequent walks with my wife. I also noticed that I was having problems kneeling and getting back up. It was high time that I did something to reverse this worsening trend. A few months ago, I came across an old co-worker of mine. I did not recognize her at first until we started talking. The reason I did not remember her was because she had lost over one hundred pounds. I,of course, asked her how she did this and she told me that she had bariatric surgery.
I had frankly not given it much thought and filed that little tidbit away. I have always had a low opinion on bariatric surgery, thanks to the experiences my Aunt Alida had with the procedure back in the 1970s. Now that my health was becoming a major issue, it was fast becoming my last hope. It is one thing to have to take a couple of medications, it is an entirely different matter when your breathing is involved. This is when it truly became a critical issue for me. I will discuss the surgery and its ramifications in a later chapter. All I will say right now is that having the surgery is not a decision to take lightly. It will affect the way you live the rest of your life.
When I started working out the idea for this book, I came to the realization that the only time I was able to maintain a stable and healthy weight was when I participated in a consistent exercise plan. That meant mainly jogging. My income at least until I reached my forties was never very substantial, so I could not rely on any expensive new fads like Peleton to stay in shape. Running was always the easiest and cheapest activity for me. I ran consistently for over 10 years, and during that time I racked up a few thousand miles and wore out several pairs of running shoes. I ended up completing three marathons and countless 10K races. I found that no matter what shape my physical fitness took, having a goal made motivation much easier. Having an exercise partner can make the grueling hours spent training much more tolerable. While most of the time was spent in solo exercise, I did have a young lady or two that I would go on rides with once I took up cycling. Organized events can also spice up things a little.
A few other issues that my excess weight caused firstly, was that I was refused policies by two life insurance companies. Secondly, I found out that I could not go on some rides in local amusement parks. Thirdly, it was affecting my sleeping. I have always slept on my stomach. Due to my excess weight I had to change my sleep position. That sounds trivial until you think how much time you spend sleeping in your life.
I will cover not only my own experiences with weight gain/loss, I will also spend time discussing our country’s health issues. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country. For the first time in over a century, our life expectancy has actually decreased.