It took the eye of the lens to give Eric Rouzee the perspective necessary to change his ways and regain a healthy lifestyle. Seeing a picture of himself at his peak weight a few years back jolted him awake.
That image and an annual doctor visit revealing high blood pressure for the first time in his life gave Eric the impetus needed to reshape his life.
As an avid sailor and skier, Eric had always been relatively active during his adult life. Then, personal upheaval caused him to go to the gym and exercise less frequently, and to focus less on his fitness overall. The weight began to creep on — until he saw his blood pressure results.
Eric’s first step was to set a daily weight loss goal. He knew himself well enough to know that bigger, long-term numbers would leave him feeling defeated, and so decided on half a pound a day instead.
As he weighed himself daily to track his results, Eric kept in mind that weight can fluctuate despite your best efforts. He didn’t allow himself to get discouraged when he was up a couple of pounds one day as opposed to the next.
Eric didn’t go on a diet, per se, but he did try to stick to his favorite healthy foods and cut down on portion size. Although he loves pizza and wine, he allowed himself two small slices instead of three large ones, and just one glass of his favorite Pinot instead of three. Logging his daily caloric intake was also a great way to be honest with himself about what he was consuming.
The next step was to begin exercising again, starting with morning walks before work. He increased the distance until he was up to 4 miles each day. Soon, he was walking that same route every evening.
Next up was joining his local gym and starting a rigorous routine that he felt he could maintain weekly. Eric found the elliptical machine to be a great cardio workout that is also easy on the joints. Resistance training with weights was also a part of his plan.
[Related: Guide to Weight Loss for Baby Boomers]
Lastly, Eric decided to enter a sprint triathlon six months away. This gave him an objective to motivate himself to get ready for.
Hacks that work:
- Set attainable, yet challenging goals to keep you in the game.
- Get up and do something each morning, even if it’s just a brisk walk.
- Remind yourself that temporary pleasure is not worth the added weight.
- Weigh yourself regularly.
- Log your daily calorie intake.
- For immediate victories, set attainable, daily goals instead of larger, long-term ones.
- Limit your serving size rather than denying yourself your favorite foods.
When asked what the hardest part of his approach was, Eric said that staying on top of the calories consumed was a challenge. Luckily, his conversation with himself kicked in for the win:
“Is the pleasure that you’re going to get out of one more glass of wine worth the pounds you’re going to put on because of it?”
It’s an ongoing conversation he has with himself to stay focused on the long-term goals. Apparently he is winning the discussion!
The key to success was sustaining all of this for around six weeks to build a new set of habits. After that time frame, he was automatically eating and exercising as part of his healthier habits. It became a lifestyle instead of a temporary effort.
[Related: Creating an Active Lifestyle: How to Do It]
Nowadays, Eric views himself through the accurate picture of a more trim, fit, and healthy self. He is experiencing healthy blood pressure, more energy, and none of his previous joint or foot pain.
What picture do you have of yourself, and how can your self-talk help improve it?