Reasonable Fitness: Introduction

Why am I writing a fitness and wellness blog? Really? Just who do I think I am?

Photo by George Baldwin
Well, first off, I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a biologist.

However, I understand people--one of my graduate degrees is in counseling--and I love to eat. I think I get it--the struggles people have with weight management.

In 2006, I was 44 years old, 5' 11" tall, and weighed 230 pounds. My doctor was not pleased. My blood pressure was pushing high levels and my cholesterol was out of control. I went to bed every night and fought acid reflux desperately.

Waking up one night after partially regurgitating in my mouth because of the reflux and my perpetual over eating, I ran to the bathroom to recover. I spit into the sink and saw blood.

Enough! It was time to change.

I had gained all that weight slowly, over the years, and it was wrecking havoc on my quality of life. I was not living well, not enjoying life as much as I could have.  I did not need a short-term fix--everyone knows about yoyo dieting and busted New Year's resolutions.

I decided to change the way I lived, not for the next 60 pounds, but for the next 60 years.  I had to find a way to manage my weight and increase my ability to enjoy life--a practice I could adopt that would be doable for the rest of my life.

That is what I am going to share in the sections that follow. I call the approach Reasonable Fitness. It is just that--a reasonable approach to being fit, well, and healthier--something EVERYONE can do for the REST OF THEIR LIFES. If I can do this, anyone can.

I lost 60 pounds, then gained 15 pounds back, then have lost and gained 5 pounds repeatedly ever since. In February of 2013, a few weeks past the half-century mark in my age, I was able to more than hold my own against college guys in half-court 4 on 4 basketball.

I am, at the time of writing this, not in "athletic" shape, but I get by quite nicely. I can do a few chin-ups, some pushups, and sit-ups, too! I can stand on one foot and put a sock on or take a sock off the other foot. I can put my palms on the floor while standing. Sometimes, I can throw a spiral with the football. I can walk as far as I mentally wish to walk--an hour or so if I'm motivated and in good company. I recently did an indoor climbing wall, and managed to ring the bell at the top of the pitch. I take the stairs if I remember to do so and can reach the fourth floor without laboring too much. My doctor isn't freaked out about my blood pressure or cholesterol levels, either.

My approach to weight management and wellness (I intentionally do not call Reasonable Fitness a weight loss plan, but it definitely, for most people, begins with weight loss.) was NOT to start "a diet" or commence exercising. Not as a gimmick. Not as short-lived change in behavior. My approach was to change the way I live--how much I eat, what I eat, and how much activity I participate in.

The result of my changes is a much healthier me and the formulation of the principles I share here. Reasonable Fitness is a sustainable--though not trivial--approach to weight management and wellness.

The principles of Reasonable Fitness do not exclude any foods, nor do they require you to eat things that taste like sawdust, strange exotic plants, or buy anything special from niche companies. You won't need to "eat" through a straw or buy any special appliances. You can do this anywhere you are, anytime, and for the rest of your life. You won't be enslaved to the gym (unless you want to be).

It is not trivial, however.  Following the ideas of Reasonable Fitness requires dedication and intentionality at a very high level. There are physical habits you will need to change. Adjustments to how much and, probably, what you eat. You will have to think about what you are putting into your body perpetually, without cease. But all the demands of Reasonable Fitness are sustainable and completely doable.

Along with weight management will come some improvements in overall health practices. Yet, don't mistake this approach for any kind of ubber, hard-core fitness program. While it is certainly NOT counter to body-building or training for a marathon, it is not at the core, a program like that. The principles here can be layered on top of those kinds of programs, naturally.

Reasonable Fitness is intended to be a lifestyle of wellness, wholeness, and is intended to lead to quality of life gains. Weight management is a big part of this, but other concepts will be addressed as well.

Coupled with my own personal experiences, I'll also be drawing from that graduate degree in counseling. As I worked on creating a sustainable weight lifestyle, I borrowed a few things from there.

Then there's that Master's degree in recreation that I earned... That has to count for something...

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