A Day In the Life With Bill

No one likes to think of himself in any form other than being perfect. While we might not admit to it, we often hide our faults through makeup, clothes, and other vices. So imagine going to the doctor for a physical checkup only to find you are woefully out of shape. You might think there is a way to disguise that, but reality has a way of slapping you upside the head.

September of 2010 will not go down as anything historically happening, but for me a trip to the doctor proved to be not only eventful but life changing. I was told I was about 20 pounds overweight with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The prescription was simple; change your life or make plans to not see old age.

Would I be able to find a simple solution to this simple problem? I had six months to make things right or face a daily dose of medication to bring things back to acceptable levels. The one thing I learned right off the top was that my trying to get healthier wasn’t going to be something I could do alone.

Let’s face facts. Most people when faced with problems try to tackle them head on. Not a bad idea, but not good for the long run. Why? Well, doing anything alone only brings about short term results and no opportunity for feedback. I couldn’t go that route. I knew I needed help so I thought I would take my problem public and see how people I meet or knew could help me deal with attaining my desired goals.

So to set the stage, here I was weighing in at 227 pounds. I couldn’t climb stairs without breathing heavy. My clothes were being bought in the “XL” section of the men’s department. I know that size didn’t mean “eXtra Loving!” Simple tasks were not so simple and to look at myself in a mirror was like watching the Blob on a wide screen TV. The rolls on my body were aplenty. So many rolls that the last time I saw that many were on the dinner table at Thanksgiving. Un-doing 20 years of bad living was going to be a challenge.

 My boss at the TV station didn’t think the story merited a mention on any newscast, but he did give me carte blanche to use the website. His comment about there is no story in someone trying to lose 20 pounds only fueled the fire for me to show that an average Joe Blow like me could succeed in a very common problem that affects about every two out of five people around the country. Being overweight and fighting medical issues isn’t something to be taken lightly, it must be dealt with. So I put together a plan to see what it would take to learn more about food, exercise, and how to make Mr. Bill the “Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine.”

In the past six months I have meet some great people who have leant their time and services to help me. The one major thing I learned is that there is a reason these folks are tops in what they do.

Jenni Purcell works for the American Dairy Association and is a registered dietician. I first meet her through a couple of functions and was very impressed with what she said and how she said it. When I approached her and asked if she could take a look at my diet and help me establish a better way to eat, she said sure. Almost two hours later after our first meeting I saw her reaching for some aspirin. Of course she would repeat that process quite often when I would call upon her with some wild wacky questions. Ok, maybe a stretch on the aspirin, but in truth, Jenni never backed away from the challenge.

Her easy going manner and down to earth answers to all of my questions were something I could have never gotten from a book or brochure. It’s also easy to preach but I never got a lecture from any of my talks with her plus I don’t know if there was anyone rooting as hard as her for me to make my goals. To you Jenni I lift a glass of milk to thank you for your never ending help. {By the way, it is chocolate milk if that is ok!}

I called this lady a Tasmanian devil. That description was based solely on the characteristics of that animal; surprising speed and endurance.  Amy Spensley is one of the Zumba instructors at Lifestyle Family Fitness at 96th and Meridian. When I was first introduced to Zumba I was laughing almost non-stop. If I couldn’t dance, then I for sure I couldn’t Zumba! I was wrong. This activity gave me a better understanding of what it takes to make your body better overall, not just in one area. And despite my Three Stooges moves Amy continued to welcome me back to her class. I found myself at least wanting to keep at it no matter how poorly I was doing. To you Ms. Amy I say thank you for allowing me to wallow around in the back of the room while holding in your laughter. I will be back and will donate a tube of Ben Gay for all of the future aches and pains I might acquire. And don’t worry; I know you are as far removed from the looks of a Tasmanian devil. Even a blind man could see that!

Carol Keller may be one of the members of management at the Lifestyle Family Fitness site at 96th and Meridian. I remember first meeting with her to discuss my situation. I didn’t know what to expect or what might be offered if at all. What I got was a resounding endorsement and resources to make it happen. But more importantly I got a tremendous friend who not only sensed my desire to get better but to stay that way no matter what it took. She listened over an hour to my story when I first meet her and assured me that I could and would achieve and that the facility and the people who were there would help me make it happen. I also had the fortune of being a part of Carol’s Zumba classes a couple of times, and again, despite the laughter I provided at the back of the room, Carol kept saying come on back.  There is no doubt in my mind that leadership starts with great people and Carol, you are tops in that field with no challengers.

Patrick Kelly is one of the trainers at Lifestyle Family Fitness at 96th and Meridian. I remember the first time I was introduced to him was like “wow, this guy could put me in a world of hurt!” Well, to a degree that sometime happened. There were times when I thought I couldn’t go on with the workouts he would put me through. I remember one time looking up from the floor after finishing an exercise and gasping for air. Patrick came over and asked if I was alright and was I going to make it. I looked up from a pool of sweat and assured him I wasn’t quitting then or in the future. Maybe it was that kind of determination on my part and on his that I have gotten to the point I am now in this venture. There was no easy approach to what he put me through, but there was compassion and understanding and realizing that one didn’t need to be beaten down to prove a point. Almost all of what I now know about exercising I can easily point back to what I have learned in my time spent with him through these last six months. To you Patrick I can easily state you are the real deal and my appreciation and respect for trainers now is on a completely different level than what it was six months ago. By the way, guess what, I am coming back, so remember to be kind to my aches and pains.

 There are others who have been instrumental in giving me a hand in some fashion.

Genna Price, the communications specialist for Lifestyle Family Fitness. She was one of my first contacts in helping me find a place to work out locally.

Taking care of my medical needs and concerns has been Doctor Warren Hoyt from the Clarian Medical Group. He has advised me on all of my medical needs and concerns through this situation.

The facilities of Lifestyle Family Fitness located at 96thand Meridian. If there is a better workout site I cannot think of where it would be. The staff always makes one feel welcomed and the equipment and areas of working out are second to none.

Perry Meridian High School has also been a place I have used in an ongoing basis to help augment my workouts. Thanks to Principal Joan Ellis and Athletic Director Mike Sipe for allowing me to use the school to continue in working out.

I would also like to thank my boss, Lee Rosenthal, of WXIN Fox 59, for letting me continue to post my stories to the stations website and to use the station’s namesake in this venture.

There is no finality to this story just yet. A return visit back to the doctor did bring about some desired results with the blood pressure being lowered, however the cholesterol levels were still a bit high for the doctors liking. The shining moment was the announcement of how much weight I had lost during these last six months. Starting out at 227 pounds, I weighed in at 206 on March 1, which equals a loss of 21 pounds!

There is also a noticeable improvement in my overall physical appearance and activity. I can now climb stairs without losing my breath. In fact, I will have participated in two stair climbing events by April of this year. My clothes are getting baggier and I haven’t eaten over 2000 calories in three months. The improvements are there, but the need to get better has to happen. A re-check by the doctor for the ongoing battle with cholesterol will happen in September. If the numbers aren't lower, then medicine will be prescribed. I won’t go that route without a fight.

So if there is the belief that I have achieved all I can at six months, think again. I look forward to updating and encouraging from an average Joe, or in this case Bill, about some of the problems that plague a lot of people. Bottom line is that if I can do it, then I believe most everyone else can too. Stay tuned, another chapter starts tomorrow!