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Fitness is not a get rich quick scheme. In my opinion all the fast-diets are fads and often not healthy. Sure you might drop some weight in a cleanse, but you’re destined to put it back on unless the change is sustainable by your lifestyle changes.

An early reader responded on Twitter, "You can’t out exercise a poor diet."

I know fitness is a lifetime journey, not a quick adjustment or a magic pill. It’s also not a "diet" diet, but a choice to move towards healthy real foods and away from processed foods. Of course it’s about dropping sugar from the menu as often as possible. And then when you do indulge, making note of how your body reacts to the blast of calories and empty energy.

I have been walking and playing tennis 3 – 5 times a week for two years. And today, I’m as heavy as I’ve ever been. I was hoping that just by upping my exercise and being consistent I would encourage my body to sluff off some of the extra weight. Um, no, not happening. I can only imagine, if I hadn’t been exercising.

I am my own test case. Through my experience I hope to share what’s happening emotionally as well as physically as I work to make changes in my life.

Of course at 51 (52 in November of this year) everything is changing. I can’t just drop sugary sodas and count on the 5 pound drop that I used to. I can’t just skip desserts and hope for the best. Nope, this is going to require a major overhaul. And it’s a process I walk into with some trepidation and some fear. I don’t really want to give up Ben and Jerry’s.

However, I know when my body is more finely tuned I will be more happy in my body. I will sleep better. I will require less coffee during the day to keep my energy up. I will be more attractive to women who today would see me as "fat." Ouch. I really hate the shame that comes with the bad body image messages that I tell myself.

I was writing a post the other day and as I was describing myself, in my current physical condition, I was likening myself to a nice classic BMW with some body damage. That was a simple metaphor for me to get in touch with the fact that I don’t want the body damage any more. I want to be a classic ’52 with no body damage, and eventually a bit of spit and polish and new tires.

I’m striking out, in an unplanned and unpremeditated way to change my life.

I have struggled with depression and other emotional issues from time to time in my life. But what’s astounding to me at the moment, is I am not unhappy. I am not stressed out. I claim to be happy. So why am I so overweight? Can our optimism and positive attitudes create a false sense of self? Or am I making too much of this fitness aspect?

And then I watch how I look at and measure women as I’m walking down the running trail. From a long distance away I can get a sense if they are in my range, or out of my range, of desirability and fitness. This is about body and proportions, way before I can see if they have a pretty face or a nice smile. I know I do this. And I know I must be doing this with myself. So is the denial, the positivism about my life and well-being, blinding me to my own weight.

I’d have to say, today, I believe my answer is yes. And I’m striking out, in an unplanned and unpremeditated way to change my life. I’ve wanted to do this before, but I’ve always felt like I needed a sponsor, or a business that would "do" me.

Today I AM THE PROJECT. I am my own test case. And through my experience I hope to share what’s happening for me emotionally as well as physically as I work and plan to make changes in my life.

On Monday, I stared a food diary as I started this blog. And I’m consciously eliminating as much sugar as possible from my diet. In cataloging and weighing in from time to time I hope to see the relationship between what I eat, when I eat it, and how I progress towards my goal of getting leaner and more fit.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney


image: shadows on the trail, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

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