|Hey fat people . . . listen up!|
|Cassandra won't understand how much a day like this means until she's older . . . like her father.|
Notes written on a 59th wedding anniversary card that I'll never get to give . . .
If you are a fat person, this column is for you. If you are offended at being called fat, do something about it. But before you get ticked off and quit reading, bear with me a little bit longer. You might find it's worth it.
Let me tell you about my Saturday.
It began with heading to the office a little earlier than usual. That's because I had to be in Atlanta, Ind. by 9:30 a.m. and I wasn't entirely sure you could get there from here.
Why was I going to Atlanta, Ind. early on a Saturday morning? Good question. It's one I kept asking myself over and over. You see there was a 2.5 mile "fun run" beginning at 10 and the oldest and I had agreed to run in it.
Back to fat folks.
I am a fat folk. Officially, I weigh somewhere around 253.8, give or take a few ounces. Any way you slice it, that's still fat.
It's also not the point.
The point, dear friends, is that eight months ago I weighed a bit north of 300 pounds, give or take a few quarter pounders. With cheese. The idea of taking part in a run was indeed fun, or rather funny. I couldn't have run 2.5 car lengths, let alone miles. I got winded walking through a mall. I wish I was kidding.
A heart condition I have lived with for a few years was getting worse and the amazing thing was, I was doing nothing about it. Well, nothing positive. The only thing shoddier than my exercise habits were the ones involving eating. And drinking.
I got lucky that a silly idea to raise money for our local United Fund turned out to be a success. Not only did the company I'm fortunate enough to work for raise about $13,000 for MUFFY, but it introduced me to a truly wonderful group of people. There's Denise Reese, the extraordinary manager at Athena Sport & Fitness. There's trainers Jenny and Tonya - who I call demons but are really angels. And there's a great group who has stuck together and spurred each other on.
I don't believe any of them really understand how much it has meant to this fat guy.
A lifetime ago, I wasn't a fat guy. I was actually an athlete and one who was blessed with enough talent to briefly make a living plying my trade. (Wasn't much of a living mind you, but it counted.) Working out was part and parcel of everyday life.
What I understood then - and had forgotten in the ensuing lazy decades - is that when it's all said and done, keeping in shape is a very individual and personal decision.
That's not to say that being in the group isn't a good thing. Not at all. Being part of this group has helped me more than I can say. But that's the thing. The group can only help. Ultimately, it's about the moments when you don't want to work out. It's about the moments when you are laying on the floor staring at the wood slats in the ceiling that used to be the CHS gym trying hard to remember to breathe. It's about being on that treadmill or maybe a road outdoors somewhere, sweating, hurting, wanting to quit.
Those are the moments when the tide turns.
One way or another.
For some, you want to succeed bad enough to keep going. For others not so much. I can't tell you all the details because they are different for everyone. All I do know is this. Put in the time and it works. There are no miracle cures. Operations? Unless life and habits truly change it won't matter. Pills? Don't waste your money. Put in the time. It works. Put in the time.
For me, it's been eight months of putting in time. Saturday, I went to a fun run. I got to spend 2.5 miles with my oldest doing something I didn't think I'd ever be able to do again. It was a great day.
I'm still a fat guy. Not as fat as I was. Hopefully, fatter today than I will be in a month. I'm putting in time and enjoying it more than I ever thought I could.
* * *
By the way, for those who are still reading and wondering what the heck the first sentence was all about . . . today would have been my parents' 59th wedding anniversary. They've been gone a while but it still feels important to this son to let them know I remember.
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