I Use Fear to Help Me Stay Healthy

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An alternative title to this might be “Making Peace with my Yoyo.”

Some people may not call this a success story but I do. I am a 63 year old man I have kept myself, in what I believe to be, a relatively healthy state for the last twenty-five years. I have done this by looking into myself and facing some truths.

The first truth I had to understand and accept is that I love food. Eating good food is a sensual pleasure and one that would get me in a whole lot less trouble than other things in that category. The second truth I had to face was, like other sensual pleasures, I want eating good food to last a long time. In order for the pleasure of eating to last I would end up eating large quantities.

I know that the best way to stay healthy is to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle and this is always been my goal. I can control my urge to eat for a period of time but I know I can never say never when it comes to food. As a result I have been in the yoyo state for the last twenty-five years. I would eat a great deal, gain up to fifteen pounds and then eat healthy and lose what I gained. I know what you’re thinking, “this guy has had no success at all. He’s doing the one thing that doctors warn against.” Yes I am; but I have minimized the yoyo in a range that is not dangerous and that allows me to maintain average good health.

I think I better add a little history to allow this to make sense. I have always been active. I was in gymnastics forty-five years ago in high school. I worked physical jobs in factories for several years before getting into computer programming. I fell away from exercise for a few years but returned to it at age 30. Then there were the bad years of about twenty-five years ago that I will describe next. For the last twenty-five years I have been active and aware of my physical state. I am now a third degree black belt in Tag Soo Do and go to the gym five times a week with Cathy.

My worst period was a little over twenty-five years ago. I was in a relationship that led me to large eating and a suspension of the exercise routine. I gained over sixty pounds and 238 pounds is just too much for a five foot nine frame. I was killing myself and I finally realized it.

I was 38 years old and I could barely do five push ups. I had to change and I did. It took a year of work but I took off the sixty pounds. There was no magic, just paying attention to fat grams, calories, and exercise. Bare in mind that I was active all of my life; that was a major factor in my ability to shed the pounds. A person with a less active history would have found it a lot harder to take off the weight and keep it off.

Something has to drive you to be healthy; there must be a trigger. Other people can’t convince you. Even seeing a relative or friend suffer or die from an unhealthy lifestyle doesn’t always do it. It has to be something personal, something in you. I had two things, fear, and ego. Ego is pretty obvious I’m not going to get anywhere on my looks; I know that. If I was going to ever be the least bit appealing it would have to be by maintaining a body that wasn’t hard for the ladies to look at. Even after I married the only lady I would ever want to look at me, my ego would not let me get too unsightly.

If it were only ego I’m sure my desire for good food would have eventually overwhelmed my need to look good, but I had something more powerful than ego working for me; I had fear. There is a major history of heart disease in my family. I have had several uncles die of heart problems and both of my brothers have been diagnosed with heart problems. High cholesterol is a family trait and something that always plays on my mind. I am scared to death of a heart attack and any time the belly gets a little thick I remember the relationship between belly fat and heart trouble. This fear puts the breaks on my eating every time, and this fear keeps me hitting the workouts even when I don’t feel like it. If there is such a thing as a good deep seeded fear, this may be it.

So through the year my great desire to draw sensual pleasure from food clashes with my ego and my deep fear of a heart attack. For a while my desire will win out and I’ll gain up to fifteen pounds and then the fear and ego will kick in and I will loose it. Yes it is a yoyo but a fifteen pound yoyo is within the safety limits. I’ve made peace with my yoyo and expect I’ll live with it for the rest of my life.

This really is a personal trek and I am not sure how it can help others. I guess two things I have found to be most important are to exercise regularly and to be afraid of the aliments that obesity spawns. Be very afraid; it’s the healthy thing to do.

Fear is a great motivator. Become afraid of the aliments that obesity can cause.

The more active you have been your life; the easier it is to lose weight.

Be aware of your family medical history.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Health and Fitness
3 comments on “I Use Fear to Help Me Stay Healthy
  1. Dave Wojtowixz says:

    Pete – Thanks immensely for your opine on health issues. I couldn’t agree more. I had triple bypass surgery in 2004 and I too have the family history you mentioned. I am 61 and have type-2 diabetes with increasing feet/ankle neuropathy. Unfortunately since my surgery I have gained 40 lbs. and do nothing to excercise. So, I am initially thrilled to read your advise. I will consider it and hope that the friend you have been and our Pool/Hart Gang bond will eventually get me off my ass and start some small steps toward a healthier life. Thanks Pete.

  2. Dave Wojtowixz says:

    Forgot to notify me of comments via e-mail.

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