I am a person with very few vices.
So when I was laid off from my job, my dream job, of being a sports writer in December of 2008 I cranked up the one vice that I do succumb to way too often.
Instead of turning to nicotine or alcohol, both of which I have never had, I went straight to chocolate in my bout of depression.
My go-to vice starts, and usually ends with frosting on my face, with the sweet tooth.
So each night, after putting my then 2-year-old daughter Jyllian to bed, I'd go straight to the fridge and put a class of milk in the freezer for 11 minutes.
It basically was a countdown to my daily binge.
One day it would be a piece of chocolate cake, or Hostess HoHos. Whole bags of Chips Ahoy cookies had no chance. Other times I would make a trip to Dairy Queen and get a Peanut Buster Parfait and put it into the freezer and as soon as Jyllian was asleep, I had that frozen treat gone in a matter of minutes.
I bloated to 221 pounds. At 5-11, it wasn't a good look.
To put that in perspective, I wrestled 119 pounds as a senior in high school. Now that was more then 20 years ago, but 102 pounds is 102 pounds.
I knew I had to do something, I was approaching 40 (and now past it) and it was going to get harder and harder to get back in shape.
I am not a runner and hate going to the gym. That made getting rid of the extra poundage even harder. The two main ways - other than eating habit - to lose weight were not appealing.
Then I caught the P90X infomercial - the one that promotes 12 at-home DVDs and comes with an easy-to-follow diet - for about the 1,373rd time and while it had always intrigued me, this time it inspired me.
I knew it was the one to get me back into shape, even better shape than I was just five years ago when I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out.
I lost more than 50 pounds, and got into the best shape of my life without question.
The little caveat to this was the fact that I was essentially a stay-at-home dad after heading to the unemployment line. That made it easier to work out six days a week when you didn't have anywhere to be and knew you had at least one free hour each day when your toddler took her afternoon nap.
That was about two years ago. I since have been gainfully employed for nearly a year now at the AFN.
All of a sudden deadlines, interviews and games got in the way of maintaining fitness. Throw in a lot of family drama to start 2011 and the weight slowly returned, getting back over the 200-pound mark. I was so angry at myself. Looking at pictures of me as a P90X graduate just made me shake my head.
I not only got away from the workouts, but I didn't learn the lessons from the diet.
Americans eat much more than we ever need to.
Let's face it, why not get the foot-long sub instead of the six-inch sandwich when they are essentially the same price.
It has led to my second run at the at-home workout session and the results are once again good. I have dropped 20 pounds since Easter Sunday when I filled up on enough honey baked ham and pierogies for three people knowing I was back on portion control the following day.
I am not as strict as the first time around with the diet or the workouts, but I am feeling good about my eating habits and the results that come with it.
It doesn't help with Jyllian asking what "treat" she is getting after each dinner (apparently, I passed on my sweet tooth gene) but it is amazing how much better you feel just getting in an hour workout each day while eating smartly.
This isn't a P90X promo, but a reminder that regardless of how low your self-esteem gets - and mine had never been worse - there is always a first step to "recovery."
One portioned control meal at a time.
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