I’ve always been heavy. Overweight. Big. Call it what you will.
Back in grade school, my mom would take me to the “husky” department to buy new pants. You know those bell-shaped curves that show your proper weight based on your height? Yup, I’ve always been “outside” the bulk of the curve.
And now, for the first time, I’m committed to losing weight and improving my overall health.
Shanny and I are participating in the Not So “Big KC” Challenge, phase two (NSBKC2). We are among 25 civic leaders who have joined Mayor Sly James and KC Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter in phase two of this healthy living program, powered by BlueKC.
As a member of the KC Chamber Board and CEO of Blue KC’s strategic communications firm, I feel compelled to participate, show personal leadership, and support this important initiative. On a personal level, I’ll feel better, live longer and have less pain. Transcending those responsibilities, leadership simply needs to set a better example.
And that’s the purpose of this post: to educate and inspire you to move further down your own personal path toward a healthier life.
Since the NSBKC2 official kick off on February 5, I’ve substantially changed two fundamental aspects of my life: activity and diet.
“Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”
As Dori said in “Finding Nemo,” my version is “just keep moving, moving, moving…” As part of this program, I now carry a Fitbit, a small device about the size of a thumb drive. Men put it in a pants pocket and women clip it to their bra. It’s amazing technology; it tracks each step, floor, distance and calories burned. It then syncs those stats with your smartphone and uploads to the website. “They” are monitoring me. Daily. This automatic system works. Carrying the Fitbit has changed my behavior.
I now talk on my mobile phone and walk laps around my conference room (obviously when nobody else is in there!). I park far away. I take the stairs. We are supposed to walk at least 10,000 steps every single day. I’ve averaged above 10k so far, and with spring around the corner, I’m eager to continue that trend.
I’ve also started a new kind of movement I call Rhythmic Walking. It’s not really Dance Walking (see this fun video), but I walk in a serpentine pattern along with the beat of great tunes. And every time I see someone as I’m out in the ‘hood with our dog Raia, they smile. Sure, they might be laughing at me, but I choose to think they’re inspired and encouraged to do their own exercise.
Because I have chronic knee, hip and back pain, I reached out to Matt Condon and the amazing team at the Athletic & Rehabilitation Center (ARC) to see how they could help. They’re providing customized therapy to help me strengthen and stretch. If you need any kind of rehab, I strongly endorse ARC.
It’s not a diet; it’s a new food lifestyle.
Diets don’t work. They never last. Once they’re over, people go back to their old habits. That’s why this program is all about healthy living, not dieting. I’ve learned a lot about food in the last six weeks. Here are six quick tips that work for me; hopefully, they’ll resonate with you:
Eat more fish. We all know we should eat fish, but do you know why? Omega-3 oils. Yes, but what do those oils do for you? The science shows that people who eat fish three times each week have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The fish oil keeps your brain elastic. I’m eating a lot more salmon these days.
Nuts are nature’s hunger killer. I eat 1/4 cup of almonds most afternoons. Packed with protein, nuts really work.
Avoid the “great white hazards” – white flour, white rice, white potatoes and sugar. I’m eating whole grains, sweet potatoes and brown rice. Almost exclusively.
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. No more O.J. or apple juice for me!
Stop eating when you’re full. That’s a new one for me.
Drink a lot of water. This one’s easy for me, since I’ve already given up soda.
Many of these tips come from Dr. Ann Kulze, MD, and her Eat Right for Life approach. It’s brilliant and it’s resonated with me…perhaps it will work for you. Visit her website. Read her book. Do what she says. She simplifies her philosophy into five directives:
Not once have I felt undernourished. But I have learned (for the first time) that when I’m a little hungry, that’s a good thing – my body is telling me, “I’ll burn some fat for you now.” Ahhh, music to my ears. And waist.
Obesity is horrific, pervasive and (please pardon the pun) expanding.
The obesity issue in America is horrific, and it’s particularly rampant in Kansas and Missouri, including Kansas City. Here’s a link to a quick presentation that shows the terrible trend line and the correlation to healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP.
Obesity is a business issue. This program will help stem that tide.
Special shout-out to The KC Chamber and its commitment to building an ever-better KC. I’m so proud of BlueKC and of my friend David Gentile, CEO, whose vision and commitment makes this program work, and who personally encouraged my participation. Thank you, David. Also, thanks to the terrific nutritionists, trainers and coaches at BlueKC…they’re top-notch!
When you say you will do something publicly, we all know we’re much more likely to stay the course. So, please check back with me in July when this phase is completed. But more importantly, let’s see how I’m doing in a year. Or two. Or 10.
I will succeed.
Onward and upward.Tagged ARC, BlueKC, Dr. Ann Kulze, Eric Morgenstern, Fitbit, Hitch Fit, KC Chamber, Morningstar Communications, Not So "Big KC" Challenge, Your Wellness Connection