Friday, January 2, 2015

Celebrating My Life

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

And, I would also like to acknowledge another year working with the good folks at Meridian sharing my experiences with the citizens of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. I look forward to sharing more personal stories to help encourage all of you to engage in positive proactive health practices.

I just turned the page on another birthday. Sometimes members of my family get a little frustrated with me because when it comes to giving me a gift for either my birthday or for Christmas they always ask what I would like and I always come back with “I’m good, I don’t need anything.”  During my life I feel very fortunate to have been able to live the quality of life I’ve lived. (This has nothing to do with my football life but just being a man.)  At some point (perhaps during my late 40s or at 50) I realized that the best gifts I could ever have can’t be purchased with dollars. The absolute best gifts I have are priceless and are inside of me. Good health in spite of the wear and tear of a long football career makes me one of the lucky guys who played football for as many as 21 years from high school through professional football.  But I am very blessed to be able to maintain my will, focus and determination when I decide to do something or go in a certain direction. Such was the case several months ago when I made a decision to "totally focus" my attention on my own well being and health.

In early September I decided to re-dedicate myself to work out in the gym at least 4 - 5 days a week and eat a more balanced Mediterranean type diet. With that diet I basically eliminated sugar (except in my morning latte), I ate more baked/broiled items like fish and chicken, I ate more fruits and vegetables with olive oil playing a more prominent role in my diet instead of butter. And of course no sodas or sugary drinks but more water as my drink of choice. As a result of the re-focused commitment between September and November I’ve lost approximately 18 - 20 pounds. While I felt good before the re-dedication, I really feel great after the weight loss.

I always schedule my yearly physical around my birthday. That was the case this past year as it was scheduled to take place two day before my birth date. What stands out for me with my annual visit with my doctor was the realization that with the weight reduction, my blood pressure reading was the lowest it has ever been in all of my 30 plus years going to my personal physician.

I am a fan of the musical group The Isley Brothers and their song “Harvest for the World.” In the lyrics of the song a line goes “celebrate your life, give thanks for your children.” With my birthday in mind, I realized that the results of the weight/cardio training and the diet was the best gift I could have given myself to celebrate my own life, to give thanks for my children and grand-children and hopefully live a longer and more productive life.

I see so many infomercials on television promoting rapid weight loss programs or some kind of diet looking to lure people who are overweight or need to get in better physical shape.  I share this personal story in hopes that if you need some inspiration to get off the couch or just to get moving to lose some pounds, reduce your blood pressure and just feel better overall my story will help to encourage or inspire you. My 20 pounds weight loss was not hard but it does take a mind-set of being focused, determined and disciplined to not give in and give up. If I can do this I’m certain that you can do it as well.

By the way, the one and only negative might be that most of my pants no longer fit because my waist line has gotten smaller.  My wife says it’s a good problem to have. LOL….. I agree!

-Harry