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What Fitness Has Done For Me
the age of 53, I found myself having to think very seriously about
my health. I was diabetic (diagnosed at the age of 37) and was taking
60 units nph insulin and a second shot of regular insulin every day.
I was sixty pounds overweight and sedentary. I didn't pay attention
to exercise, and my diet was very unhealthy. I ate out at restaurants
too often and I was making very poor food choices. My diabetes was
out of control, and I was afraid of having to face a third laser surgery
for my eyes. It was time to do something.
I began reading voraciously about diet, exercise and nutrition, and
then I began putting the information to use. I purchased a HealthRider
bike and began to exercise. It wasnt easy at first. In the beginning,
I could only manage to exercise for two minutes without becoming out
of breath. But I persisted, exercising in two-minute sessions six to
eight times per day. My resolve began to pay off. Soon I could easily
exercise for forty minutes at a time. I bought a heart rate monitor
and increased my resistance until I was able to raise and maintain
my heart rate at 70-80% of maximum for forty minutes. When the weather
became warmer, I added variety to my workouts by walking 3-5 miles
I also altered my diet. I became more aware of portion sizes and the
types of foods I ate. I purchased a digital scale to weigh my foods,
and an accurate scale to weigh myself. I followed the Food Pyramid
very closely to make sure I was eating a balanced diet, and I cut down
eating at restaurants to twice per week.
Breakfast on a typical day would consist of oatmeal with raisins and
1-% milk, ½ a grapefruit and a banana. For lunch, Id have
a turkey, tuna, or egg salad sandwich (made with light mayonnaise)
and an apple. My midday snack was usually a piece of fresh fruit.
Dinner would consist of pasta, baked chicken breast, extra lean pork
(fat removed), or extra lean hamburger with a baked potato, and 2 servings
of fresh vegetables. For quick meals, I'd have a Weight Watchers® or
Lean Cuisine® meal, adding a baked potato (with a small amount
of lower fat margarine), and two portions of fresh vegetables. I'd
satisfy my sweet tooth and get a serving of fruit in at dessert with
sugarless Jell-O® made with canned fruit. And when I did eat out,
I'd make healthier choices: At Burger King® , I'd choose the BK
Broiler, at Wendys® , I'd have the Chicken Wraps, and at
Papa Ginos® , the Turkey Club Wrap.
After only six months of following this program, Id lost thirty-five
pounds (about one pound per week), and with my doctors permission,
I was able to discontinue my intake of insulin and take pills instead.
Now, five years after starting my diet and exercise program, I have
maintained a seventy pound weight loss. My waist has gone from
44" to 36", and my cholesterol has dropped from 200 to 142.
I subscribe to numerous health letters to stay informed about diet,
cooking and exercise, and I continue to make healthy eating and exercise
a part of my life. Living healthy has now become a way of life for
me. I can honestly say that by starting a fitness program, I have not
only improved my life, but I may have saved my life as well.
Arnold J. Gold,