My weight loss journey began in mid-March 2021, when I was 61 years old. My weight was strictly a symptom of laziness, not blockage.
When my wife showed me a picture of me sitting, I decided I was tired of being tired. At that time, I weighed over 300 pounds.
I had tried some diets from time to time, but I always ended up being heavier than before. This time, with the help of my wife, Nancy, I decided to eliminate almost all sugary and processed foods.
I gave up my favorite sugary beer soda and stopped my daily trips to Starbucks to buy a caramel frappucino — with extra caramel. I was a walking heart attack, just waiting to happen.
When I was younger, I had a lot of energy. What child doesn’t like it? But as an adult, that energy diminished simply by doing nothing. We’ve all heard it: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, for me that’s what happened. All I did was sit there.
After changing my diet, I noticed an immediate change in my energy level. Now I always had energy, but not my normal sugar level, which was always followed by a low.
In early June 2021, at my annual physical, my weight dropped to 255 pounds, just from the change in diet. I was thrilled that I was able to lose over 50 pounds from this alone.
For me, my journey is really about changing my lifestyle and being consistent with my exercise.
I work with Fairfax County on their before and after school programs. We offer these programs for children in support of parents. That summer I was enrolled in a school with a track across the street.
A very dear friend of mine has spent the last year walking, exercising, and following a strict diet. It was because of her that I started walking.
That first day, June 13, 2021, I started walking slowly, first with two laps – half a mile – and then I gradually went up.
Eventually, I was walking more than 20,000 steps a day. The more I walked, the more energy I had. Some days I would walk five or six hours. My wife put up with my absence a lot. She was, and still is, very patient and understanding.
Now I still have days where I walk for several hours, but it’s all about maintenance. I’ve lost ten pounds in just the last two weeks by increasing my steps. I also try to maintain a calorie deficit.
At that time, I hadn’t started any bodyweight exercises. The weight was coming off, but I was still in terrible shape.
Growing up, I did push-ups with my dad, so that was my favorite exercise. However, I was still so out of shape that I couldn’t get up off the floor.
So in school, every time I had a break, I would find a wall and do wall push-ups, I started with 20. Eventually I was doing 1,000 wall push-ups a day. Then I started doing push-ups on the couch and finally on the floor.
Push-ups are now part of my daily routine. I start at 30 or 40 in the morning and work my way through the day.
I then started adding boards and raking in my yard daily. I know. It seems funny when a man in his early sixties says he is crawling. I find that I feel as comfortable on all fours as I do walking, and sometimes walking seems more difficult.
In August 2021, I hit a wall. I was frustrated and didn’t know why I was doing all the work. I felt one hundred percent better, but something was still missing. At that point, I was 209 years old. I had lost almost 100 pounds.
Then, on that first day of school, one of the physical education teachers, Kenan Brod, came up to me and said, “Mr. Everett, you look like you’re in good shape.”
I’ll never forget about this. She had seen me at my heaviest, and now for her to say this was the boost I needed to continue my journey.
My life is completely different. I have boundless energy and – as long as you don’t ask me to hang from a bar because I have shoulder problems – I can do anything. Well, except running; I was never a runner.
But when it comes to losing weight, I think I’m exactly where I want to be.
Everett Gooch is a teacher at SACC who works with children.
All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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