How to Get Back Into Shape once we Figure it Out
Some people might be asking the question another way. Why is it so hard to get in shape in the first place? There are those among us who have never been in any type of good physical shape. Perhaps they are better off for it. If there is a man or woman out there who has never exercised, but has maintained the same body weight for decades, that must be better than a person who has been in great shape, but fell out of shape and then tries to get back into shape. Multiple times, maybe tens of times. I am an expert in the latter.
The first meal that I can remember in my life was, guess what? A weight watcher pizza. A weight watcher pizza at 2 years old? Who feeds a kid a weight watcher pizza? In those days, which was before points and celebrities touting the benefits of weight watchers, the people promoting weight watchers were mostly the mah jong partners in Pomonok and Electchester of weight watcher founder Jean Nidetch. While the incessant chatter during the mah jong game exceeded the volume of the mah jong tiles banging against each other, the majority of the conversation was about how much weight everyone lost, had to lose or were about to gain because of an upcoming bar mitzvah or vacation.
The irony was that Mah Jong was my favorite night of the week, usually rotating the hosting home among the players, when it was my Mom’s turn, I was ecstatic. Why? Because I learned the recipe of how to make a weight watcher pizza? Because I learned how much weight Gerty or Sylvia lost? With or without their wallet when being weighed? No. Because Mah Jong night was apex on Nosh heaven. Mah Jong night was as if a candy store had been opened in my home. While the players were all talking about getting into shape or getting back into shape or losing weight, the smorgasbord of nosh, of snack, was endless. In between commercials of Get Smart and Star Trek, I came into the tiny dining room of our project apartment, making a mad dash for the latest offering of the ‘food’ that I so loved. Snickers, Oreos, Pretzels, Chips, Licorice, Donuts, you name it, it appeared on the nosh table.
“Richard, don’t take so much Nosh”
Repeat between 20 and 30 times. Mah Jong went on for hours, maybe 3 or 4 hours, who knew, but I was one happy camper on my endless sugar high.
The morning following Mah Jong was always one of more motivation. The players all egged each other on to do well on their next weigh in at weight watchers. As a result, I distinctly remember my first meal ever. Perhaps I was 2 or 3, not sure, but I do remember the english muffin, american cheese, ketchup and oregano, and voila, you have weight watcher pizza.
By the time I was eight, I was already husky, rolly polly with a jelly belly. I will tell about visits to my Grandma in Brooklyn another time, but suffice it to say that I was already quite plump before I was 10.
“Why is Richie so fat?”
are the main messages that I remember from my childhood. Of course I remember that there was some hope that I would become a Doctor, which would make for great conversation at the mah jong table, but for sure, losing weight trumped everything. There was nothing more important than being slim in my house. The conflicting messages of “Eat” and “Why are you so fat?” I think might resonate with many people, not just a kid who grew up noshing on as many mah jong nights as possible.
Since I never did make it to be a Doctor, I cannot back up my theory scientifically, but I will back it up based on my own decades of experience.
When I hit 12, I discovered exercise. When I discovered exercise, I found a remedy at that age to all the noshing. I played handball, did situps, pushups, even some college sports, and I remember being eighteen and 150 pounds at six feet tall. During that time, I mainly had meals once a day, some juice in the morning, maybe my favorite faux pizza and I would not eat again till after I came home from the gym late at night. The great thing was that even after a big dinner, the next morning it was all gone. Awesome.
So, this was the pattern I believe which led me to get into shape, get out of shape, get back into shape, get out of shape ad infinitum.
1. Skip breakfast
2. Eat too late at night
3. Rely on ten hours of exercise during the day to burn off the calories
4. Not be aware of real foods. For most of my child hood, I thought the carrots and peas in the Swanson frozen tv dinners were real, that they grew that way.
Here is my new four point model of how to get back into shape:
1. Do not skip breakfast.
2. Eat more often during the day and stop eating late at night.
3. In fact, stop eating by 7 or 8pm. Is an 12 hour window for eating enough for us? From 8am to 8pm, you can have six meals spread over those twelve hours with two hours in between each one.
4. It is impossible to exercise ten hours a day when you are an adult, so be consistent with at least 30 minutes to an hour.
5. Eat real food as much as possible.
If you have struggled with weight loss and gain during your life, why do you think so? How did you gain weight in the first place? How did you lose it? How did you get into shape or get back into shape? Where are you now, maintaining or still struggling? Thanks for Sharing.
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