Something To Smile About: Losing 67 Pounds

  • Friday / July 27, 2012
Something-To-Smile-About

Something To Smile About: Losing 67 Pounds

© Alex Solla Photography They say I’m on a journey. But my legs aren’t even tired. Though I did travel some three thousand miles to get here. And strangely enough, I’ve been here before, both historically and logistically. In the parlance of Take Shape For Life Optavia, the optimum health program I’m currently using, this process of losing weight is part of that journey. And I must say, I have arrived!

Some ten years ago, I decided to go back to the gym, shape up & lose weight. I decided sometime before August of 2001 to buy a Jack LaLane membership. I also decided that my goal would be to be under two-hundred pounds by my forty-fifth birthday – January 20, 2002. So the number I chose was 195 pounds. I worked diligently towards that goal. Throughout the time I was doing this, I had a few trainers and learned some valuable routines. And low and behold by my 45th … I WAS 195 pounds! Amazing!

This is where, in a film, sinister music would start welling up in the background. There would be flashes of doctor’s offices and MRI machines, and x-rays of lungs, and many other filmic devices to show something sinister was certainly afoot. It’s called Sarcoidosis. And I had it. I still “have” it, but thankfully I’m asymptomatic. But I digress.

The short version of this is, I lost a bunch of weight, was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease, and any gains I made in those five months would slowly disintegrate. I eventually, over the course of years, put back all 50 pounds I’d lost and added, at the worst, another 30 pounds. Ending at a nice rotund 275 lb at my weight zenith. Oi! Between having Sarcoid related lung issues and other Sarcoid related symptoms I was no longer able to work out. I was given steroids at time to help “combat” the symptoms. In all that doom and gloom of the disease and all its consequences, there is a silver lining. Really? Yup! I just had to wait it out.

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Fast forward ten years.

It’s November of 2011. I’ve just moved to Asbury Park, NJ. After having lived in Seattle for 16+ years it was time for me to move back to the east coast. A 10 year relationship had ended & we short sold our condo too. So I had nothing to lose by moving back & it felt like the right thing to do.

In the months between November and March I developed Type II Diabetes again. This is the silver lining? Actually. yes! I visited the Asbury Park Visiting Nurses Clinic because I was feeling so lethargic and was drinking gallons of water a day. It seems I ate myself right back into diabetes.

My blood glucose was 425. I was put on a bunch of meds for that and high cholesterol and advised to see a nutritionist. I did. I was able to get an appointment for a week later.

It was nutritionist Janet Blum, who also worked from the clinic office,  who turned me onto the Take Shape For Life program. It took me about another week to wrap my mind around something that sounded too good to be true. I finally decided to “drink the Kool-Aid” and order my first batch of Medifast food through Janet’s Take Shape For Life website. Within two days it was at my door and I started the program.

I am now in my 17th week of TSFL. I’ve lost 67 pounds so far. I reached my goal weight of 195 pounds last weekend 7/21/2012. It was an incredible weekend all the way around. It was the annual Hoover Hootenanny weekend. A long time friend Alex Solla and his wife Nancy were down from Ithaca, NY visiting. Alex is the one who took the photos you see in this post. It was also the weekend I got together with my long time friend and fellow Human Element member, and drummer, Fred Bennett, to play a set of songs (Freedom, Angel, Dangerous Curves, Walk Tall ) I’d written for the Human Element back in 1986. The weekend was full of import and most of all joy. To be around the group of close friends both old and new that weekend and have reached a goal I thought had long passed me by was incredibly fulfilling and intoxicating.

Part of being on TSFL and losing all this weight has brought me back full circle to the gym again! I L.O.V.E. going to the gym and working out. I’m amazed at what my body is allowing me to do at age 55! I even had my first surfing lesson just a few weeks ago. Thanks Chuck for the gift!

I’m feeling better and looking better than I have in a long long time! So something amazing came out of something so bad. Oh yeah … I’ve been off all diabetes and cholesterol meds since a month after starting TSFL! My blood glucose is well in the middle of the normal range as is my cholesterol! All in all it’s been a life-changing 17 weeks! And it doesn’t stop there.

My next goal is to get down to 175 pounds. That’s a pretty good BMI for my height of 5′ 11″. It could happen by September or October of this year. Once that happens I’ll be even happier? Could I get much happier? Um … I think so! It’s all part of this journey … my life. And I know I will not be going back down that road again. I’ve given away all my size 44 pants & XL shirts and jackets … pretty much all the clothes I owned. And have been buying new things here and there. I bought my first size medium and small shirts this past week. And boy does that feel good!  I bought a pair of size 32 shorts too. I haven’t seen size 32 since I was in my 20’s!

As long as I keep working out and finding new ways to be active, and challenge myself however I can. I know I can keep the weight off. And as I become more and more comfortable with my new old body … maybe there will be room for another significant other in my life. But I’m not rushing anything. My new saying these days … “It’s all good!” A far cry from where I’ve been. But a clear indication of how I see the future!

I’d say that’s something to smile about!

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Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

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