Make time for yourself. Your life depends on it.
A little over three years ago, a lifelong friend began stopping by a couple of times a week. My friend had a drug and alcohol addiction. He had lost everything: his wife, his home, his job, and nearly his life. I realized I was asking him to stop the drugs and alcohol when I was drinking soda pop from morning to night, and lots of it. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, I was 75 pounds overweight, I never exercised, and I was eating anything and everything. I talked my friend into going to a rehabilitation program. When I dropped him off at the hospital I told him while he was changing his life I was going to start changing mine.
I made an appointment with Nick Feder, the health coach at Whirlpool. I figured Nick would offer me some type of a diet plan. But Nick didn’t do that. Nick flat out told me: You’ve got to stop! No more sugar! No more unhealthy food!
I started by quitting the soda pop and nothing else––a positive change but still not enough.
I work with Amy Lieske who is physically fit and always seems happy. She would occasionally talk about this exercise class called Zumba. I decided I wanted to know more, but at the same time I thought to myself, I’m a middle age fat guy with two left feet, no rhythm, and I’m going to a class for women. The first night I showed up at class with Amy, she made me feel welcome and comfortable. I took many breaks that first night and moved like I haven’t in years, but when it was over I felt good. I enjoyed the music and the dance part was not as hard as I expected it to be. I also found out that it wasn’t only for women. I became hooked on Zumba, a sort of euphoria, a sense of happiness when I worked out.
I was getting my life under control, losing weight, and now I was smiling too!
Finding time for me and taking care of myself isn’t always easy. Friends and family are always saying just skip Zumba tonight and go ahead and drink that one soda pop; it won’t hurt you. A key moment for me was when my friend came out of rehab and was wanting to have a drink. I told him that if he took a drink of alcohol I was drinking soda pop. The guilt I placed on him was to much and he didn’t have that drink. Today my friend is drug and alcohol free and I am sugar free. We continue to help each other every day! Life is good.
It’s been a year since I started this part of my journey. My Zumba family continues to help me every week. My cholesterol is near normal. I have lost more than 40 pounds and my health continues to get better every day.
Today, Nick continues to give me advice about eating healthy and it’s effect on my body. Amy does the same but also pushes me at Zumba class and is always offering workout support guidance on the correct way to exercise.
I continue to stay active. I plan to lose 20 more pounds and my goal is to run a 5K on June 12th at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio.
My advice is to just make changes one step at a time. Always look forward and do it for yourself. Make time for you and only you. Your life depends on it.