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A Fresh Start, a New Perspective

In high school and college I was a swimmer and lifted weights, and at 6’2”, my weight fluctuated between 225 and 235 pounds. Ever since then, my weight has continued to go up and down, and a few years ago, after completing a health screening offered at work, I learned my BMI was 29.7. Once I knew my numbers, I realized it was time to make a change to achieve a healthier BMI [1].

I knew I had to start making some updates to my eating habits, but I also knew I needed to exercise. I knew a few friends who ran after work, so we all decided to join our company’s Desk to 5K program. I started training using the walk/run plan, and with the support the program mentors, close friends and other trainees, it made it easier to get started and stay committed. And I started seeing progress quickly!

My goal was to be able to run the 5K, but I set an additional goal to lose 11 pounds, or 5 percent of my body weight to work on bringing my BMI down. Between changing my eating habits by adding more fruits and vegetables, eating smaller portions, and exercising with the Desk to 5K program, I saw my weight start to drop. I even ran the SAS 5K and finished with a time of 26 minutes and 21 seconds!

After achieving both my weight loss and exercise goals, I asked myself, “Do I want to stop eating healthy and exercising, and have to lose this weight again next year?” I realized if I went back to my old habits, I’d be right back where I was – needing to lose weight again. So I decided it was time to make a bigger change and let living healthy become a permanent change to my lifestyle.

I changed my goal: lose enough weight to bring my BMI under 28. That meant I had to lose another 12 pounds! And guess what? I did it! By setting these goals I was able to shed 23 pounds and my BMI was down to 27.

We had another wellness weight loss challenge at work called the 5 Ton Challenge, so I wanted to do my part to help reach the goal. I still had a few pounds I could afford to give up, even after losing 23 pounds. I continued to run with friends after work and registered for the Desk to 5K program again. This time my goal was to get my weight under 200 pounds and beat my 5K time from the previous year. However, the hardest part was yet to come: Making healthy living a part of my everyday life.

5K, 10 Miler, 13.1 and Beyond …

I’m proud to say, after two years of making healthy lifestyle changes, I weighed in at 199 lbs and dropped my 5K time to 23:11!

Andy and his daughter at the SAS Championship 5K

Andy and his daughter at the SAS Championship 5K

Best of all, I proved to myself I could make these changes a permanent part of my lifestyle. Last year I ran the Tarheel 10 Miler, and I motivated my daughter (14 years old at the time) to train with me for the Desk to 5K program. It can be a family goal too.

So far, 2015 brought with it some big life changes — including single parenting — and I was working on launching a major project at work. When the opportunity to register with the BCBSNC Jimmy V Team for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon was offered this year, I can’t tell you how many times over the past few years I said I would never run a half marathon, and here I found myself training for one during one of the most hectic years of my life, and it ended up being a great way to help me manage stress.

I continue to manage my eating habits, my weight and my exercise.  None of which are easy to do.  I have to make daily decisions about each, but I’m more aware of the effect of each of those things. If you think you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you can do it no matter your BMI, age, or experience. The first step is to just start somewhere! If you can believe it, I finished the half marathon with a time of 1:52:43, and I had brought my BMI down to 26.6. Last year I also hit a major milestone, turning 50 years old –  I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for past 30 years – and I feel great! I wouldn’t have been able to make these changes without taking advantage of our wellness programs, the support and encouragement of close friends, and my daughter.

Feeling Inspired?

Check out these posts with free training plans and tips to help you along the way:

• Desk to 5K – Anyone Can Do It: Get a free 5K training plans for all experience levels
 How Do You Walk 10K A Day: Check out these tips to get you walking 10,000 steps a day
• 5 Ways to Make Your Smoothies Even Healthier: Try these healthy smoothie recipes from our nutritionist
• How Nefertiti Lost Over 90 Pounds and Gained Her Best Self: Read Nefertiti’s inspiring story about her weight loss journey

 

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/index.html