Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Back to the Basics.

Last month. my Dad celebrated his 74th birthday!  When I called to wish him a Happy Birthday, he asked about my Health Coaching business which led him to tell me a story about some changes that he made when he was younger and wanted to lose weight. I asked him if he would share his story with my readers and he agreed.  Here is my Dad's story...

It was 1960 and my friend and I decided to weigh ourselves on the scale in the bathroom at work.  My friend, 2 inches taller with wider shoulders, was 'overweight' in my mind and weighed in at 219 lbs.  Then I stepped on the scale and I weighed in at 214 lbs!  That's when I realized I was the overweight one. 
From then on, I reduced my food intake by quite a bit, not drastically but still a lot.  Instead of 2 sandwiches, soup, a piece of cake and 2 small whole milks, I had 1 sandwich, soup and 1 milk with occasional dessert.  After a night out, I would go to the diner with my friends and I would drink coffee instead of having the meal I would have normally consumed (2 eggs, ham or bacon, home fries, toast, coffee and a glass of whole milk).  
I started losing weight slowly, more so at first.  I also started playing more handball, basketball, softball, etc...  My habits regarding eating changed markedly, especially as to volume, but I knew I still had too much fat, sugar and salt in my diet. Gradually, from then on, I reduced my consumption of these items as well. 
I am not a health "nut" but I am still careful as to what I eat.  For ex. I would be happy (if only temporarily) eating Hagen Dazs ice cream every day but I know this isn't healthy for me so I have it every week or so and then only a small portion.  I have kept the weight off for all of these years and I am certain my overall health is surely better at age 74 than if I had not made some changes all those years ago.
After a year of reading lots of books, weekly classes, tests, and trainings + certifications to become a Health Coach, I learned that my Dad had already figured out the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle... getting back to the basics:  motivation, moderation, smart choices and reason. I am sure my Dad has told this story before but I didn’t really hear it until now… when health + nutrition is always top of mind.
When I think about it, my Dad and Mom always knew that going back to the basics was the answer. Growing up, I remember my Dad working in the garden in our backyard where we grew corn and tomatoes and where my sister and I ate fresh peas on summer mornings.  We picked apples from the tree on the hill and also had fresh eggs from the chickens we kept in the coop by the garden.  My parents have recycled for as long as I can remember and have composted for even longer.  My Mom always packed our school lunches and they were gauranteed to include carrot sticks and a handwritten note wishing us a good day.   I literally grew up surrounded by these healthy habits.  I realize how lucky I am and I want to thank my parents for being such wonderful and healthy role models for me and for my sisters.
Happy Birthday, Dad!  Here's to many more healthy and happy years.  Cheers!
Have a healthy day!
Family Photo from my Dad's 70th Birthday Party

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