Archive for Thursday, February 14, 2002

Doing battle with the beer-belly blues

February 14, 2002

Working in The Eudora News office from time to time, the pulsating rhythm of booty-shaking dance music can occasionally be heard seeping through the walls.

When that music is playing, people on the other side are hard at work at the latest cardio workout. Blood is pumping, sweat is dripping, hearts are racing welcome to the great battle.

According to CNN, a recent study said at least 47 million American adults, or more than one in five, have a disorder that often includes a beer belly, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol readings and high blood sugar.

Oh sure, the experts say the syndrome might be caused by genes. But these same experts agree that lifestyle, "including overeating and a lack of exercise," are more than likely the most important factors.

Woo woo. Tell me something new.

It's still hard for me to believe, but in the 17 months after my college graduation in December 1999, I managed to pack on an extra 40 pounds of "insulation." It didn't come overnight, but when one gets into the same day-in, day-out routine, it becomes easy to let things slip. My routine was easy no exercise, a daily fast-food meal and limiting my water intake to when I brushed my teeth.

Eventually, everything you do comes back to either pat you on the back or kick you. I got the boot. My clothing sizes jumped while my energy and self-esteem levels dropped. Worst of all, my health was taking a nosedive. I was sick a lot. I was out of breath after short walks or quick bike rides in my neighborhood. I was depressed.

My perception was I couldn't do much about it. I don't come from the "smallest" of families and I thought my "genes" determined my fate. It was easier to come up with an excuse not to change than to make the effort. Then, I decided something had to give. So, I looked to a health-conscious friend for advice, and he got me started.

It turns out, I was wrong about a lot of things. Thank God.

Now, an organized exercise plan is part of my daily routine, minus one day a week to rest up. My eating habits have changed completely. Water is my newfound friend and I manage to take in enough to put the Culligan man on retainer.

My regret is I didn't do this sooner before hitting rock bottom. What did I miss out on? What more could I have done had I been healthy enough to enjoy it? But thankfully, I'm on the right track. I'm still cynical, but not depressed. I may not be an Adonis, but there are 31 pounds of fat floating in the universe and they're no longer attached to me.

So, if you're feeling the same way, I believe anyone can improve. What better way to show someone you care on Valentine's Day than getting in good health? Get started! Consult a doctor, consult someone who knows what they're talking about regarding fitness and get moving. Even if you stumble, keep going. What have you got to lose, a few pant sizes?

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