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At the pinnacle of my obese state, I weighed in at 242 lbs. Not exactly slim given my height of 5’-9”. I had high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol readings. A two block brisk walk would bring about heavy perspiration and excessive huffing/puffing. My doctor informed me that I was pre-diabetic and had metabolic syndrome. And worst yet, I ended up admitting myself into the emergency ward with what my family doctor believed at the time was a heart attack. Thankfully, the blood tests, ECG’s, treadmill stress test etc. proved otherwise. Since he was unable to find any markers associated with a heart attack, the cardiologist deduced that the severe chest pain I had experienced was likely caused by indigestion of something that I shouldn’t have eaten or shouldn’t have eaten too much of. In any event, the trip to the hospital served as my wakeup call. At age 49, I had arrived at a fork in the road so to speak. Did I want to continue my sedentary lifestyle complemented by pathetic eating habits and head towards an early grave? Or did I want to smarten up by turning my life around and be in a position to look forward to spending time with my future grandchildren. I opted for the latter.

Since June of 2006, I am happy to report that I have lost 56 lbs. How did I do it? Eating sensibly (as I prefer not to use the 4 letter word DIET) and lots of exercise. The concept of course is quite simple. What is difficult is the amount of determination and will power that is required to stick with the program. One thing that I learnt a long time ago, when it comes to weight loss there are simply no quick fixes. To me, this meant lots and lots of healthy foods. Cut back big time on the red meats, pastas/rice, desserts and in general items loaded with saturated and especially trans fats. Ample servings of fruits and vegetables. Eight glasses of water every day. Eat a sensible breakfast every morning (Not bacon, eggs or pancakes slobbered with syrup/butter). Instead of having the King Kong size burger with supersized fries at lunch, I would order an Oriental Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken together with a supersized Diet soft drink. I also had to conquer some demons. Namely what I refer to as my DANGER/COMFORT foods such as peanut butter and packaged instant noodles. In the past, I could literally polish off half a jar of peanut butter or consume six packages of cooked noodles at one sitting. I’ve managed to overcome my urges for these DANGER foods. In terms of exercise, my regime consisted of a minimum of 90 minutes of Tai Bo mixed in with some elliptical trainer stints. The exercise routine was repeated at least five times a week. In early January of this year, I signed up for a Learn to Run clinic. Thirteen weeks later, I completed my first ever 10K run. At my last checkup, I was advised that I was no longer pre-diabetic. My blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels etc. were normal. My typically resting heart rate is now around 65 beats per minute – a far cry from 85 beats per minute not that long ago. Although I recently turned 50, I have never felt better. I feel (and sometimes act) like I am 20 years younger. In fact, I have signed up for 4 more 10K runs. I also possess every confidence that I will reach my ultimate goals of losing another 26 lbs (to get down to 160 lbs.) AND to run in a marathon within two years’ time.

If I can do this – so can anyone else!

Phil L. - Vancouver, B.C. Canada








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