John’s Story
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John’s Story

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John’s Story

“Enough Was Enough: A Change in Priorities Lead Me to a Renewed Passion for Fitness”

By John Griffin

Since graduating from college in 1988, I struggled with my weight and sticking to an exercise program. I would workout for a few months, lose some weight, and fall off the wagon and return to where I was before. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Well this has been going on for the last 20 years. I finally, about 9 months ago, looked in the mirror and decided “Enough was enough.” What changed? For starters my wife and I decided we wanted to live a more of a sustainable lifestyle. Our first step was to plant our first successful vegetable garden.

In the past I would drive my wife crazy because I couldn’t do any kind of yard work without stopping every couple of minutes to rest my back. I am not a sedentary person; I played 2 years of college baseball and 3 years of college football. I spent more time in the weight room than anyone, but approaching 43 years old the little aches and pains started to catch up with me.

I realized that if my wife and I were going to have big vegetable garden, perhaps some livestock and be responsible for living off our land, I had to get into better shape or it wasn’t going to happen. Also at this time was 250 pounds on a 5-foot, 10-inch frame. I played my last year of college football at 225 pounds. Since I have displayed zero will power when it came to food, especially sweets, I knew it was going to take a focused commitment to accomplish my goal. I also realized that big, bulky muscles weren’t the answer to a strong body.

The bottom line ladies and gentlemen, I was ready to make a change. I was not ready to make a change the previous 20 years. I told myself I had to lose weight and get into shape, but I was lying to myself. I was not ready to do what was necessary to get the job done end of story.

I discovered body-weight exercises and let my wife talk me into trying Yoga. For all you macho men out there who don’t think there is much to Yoga; try it trust me you will no longer have that opinion again. I was shocked how much strength it took, and I also realized my flexibility had a lot to be desired.

Not only do body-weight exercises and Yoga allow you to gain tremendous flexibility, but they also create “functional” strength, balance and endurance, which can be applied to your everyday lifestyle.

Big biceps aren’t going to help me pick weeds out of my garden or cut firewood. A strong flexible back, on the other hand, will allow me to perform these tasks non-stop and virtually pain-free. That’s what I’m talking about!

This however is only half the story; I had to do something about my sweet tooth. First I started by substituting honey or molasses for sugar or by reducing the amount of sugar. For example, I love making banana bread. I gradually reduced the amount of sugar until I was down to a quarter of the sugar the recipe called for. I canned my first batch of strawberry preserves this summer. The recipe called for 5 cups of sugar; are you kidding me? Believe it or not, that was for 4 -10 ounce jars of preserves. I used one cup of sugar and to my surprise I could actually taste the strawberries, what a concept. I also sweeten my coffee with honey instead of sugar.

Drastically reducing my sugar intake gave me immediate results in weight loss, but further reducing my caloric intake was also critical in maximizing weight loss. I started to measure my portion sizes. I am still surprised how good it feels not to stuff myself to the gills. The other surprising thing about eliminating sugar is the less you eat the less you crave it. Don’t get me wrong I still from time to time crave a Butterfinger Blizzard from Dairy Queen, and I will still get one once in a while.

The great thing is that I have been able to control my sweet cravings, so having a treat a couple of times a month isn’t a big deal in fact I seem to enjoy it more than in the past when I craved something sweet several times a day.

So what does my story really mean? It means I no longer wake up with little aches and pains. I make my wife very happy because I perform the “honey do list” in a timely manner. Our plans for our new lifestyle seem achievable because of my new focus on creating functional strength and flexibility. I have found a lifestyle I can stick with for the rest of my life. Finally my current weight is 215 pounds, down from 250 pounds.

What it came down to is honestly deciding to take responsibility for my life and do what was necessary to make a real change in my life. Don’t look for someone else to blame, change starts in the reflection in the mirror.

-John Griffin

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