Hot Corner: Hard work pays off to lose weight
By Rich Palzewic
If you recall from a previous Hot Corner article, the day after Thanksgiving last year, I stepped on the scale in my bathroom, and my eyes almost popped out of my head with the number I saw.
I weighed 198 pounds, my clothes didn’t fit and I was grotesquely out of shape.
I felt defeated and deflated (not literally), and I wasn’t used to feeling so terrible.
I realize losing weight is extremely hard, but I couldn’t recall a time in my 48 years on this earth where I weighed this much and felt this bad.
I committed to a healthier lifestyle at that point.
On Christmas Eve, I first weighed in and was down seven pounds – it was progress, but I still wasn’t eating well enough to drop much weight.
My weight went up and down for the next two months, and I was frustrated.
When I was a sixth-grade teacher in Rhinelander, I used to give up sweets for Lent, and I figured it was a good time to try that approach again.
Students of mine would wave candy in front of my face, enticing me to take a bite.
I’m not a medical doctor, but eating sugar in a processed form is one of the worst things you can put in your body.
Sugar isn’t only in the form of candy, cookies and soda, but it’s also in things like ketchup and barbecue sauce.
Read labels and avoid sugary foods the best you can.
Because eating past 8 p.m. is also a weakness of mine, I added that to my Lenten promise.
My journey began Feb. 17, weighing 192 pounds.
I kept up my daily exercise, increased my water, fiber and protein intake and was diligent.
I quickly noticed – after the sugar withdrawal headaches went away – I felt much better.
My joints no longer hurt, and I haven’t had a headache since Feb. 17.
I was now looking for ways to burn calories – going on early-morning walks/jogs, bike rides, playing pickleball and joining the gym.
I knew I couldn’t simply do all cardio, so I’ve committed to a weight-training program as well, doing some basic machines to keep the (little) muscle I have from melting away.
In short, my body has undergone a dramatic change.
I’ve never been a petite individual, but it’s nice to be able to wear medium/large shirts again and fit into jeans I haven’t in years.
In 47 days of eating as little sugar as possible and not eating past 8 p.m. during Lent, I dropped 22 pounds.
It may seem like lots – and it is – but when you cut out something so dramatic and commit yourself to a lifestyle change, it becomes a game – a fun game.
When weighing myself April 1, I saw the number 169 on the scale.
My eyes almost popped out of my head, but this time, in a good way.
I’m close to the weight I was in Rhinelander, 14 years ago.
I still have a little more to lose, but my goal is within reach.
On another note, I had a yearly physical March 11, 22 days after Lent began, and my cholesterol and triglyceride numbers dramatically improved from a previous check six months before.
Now the hard part begins for me: What’s next?
In the past, I’ve always gradually started to eat worse and gain the weight back, and I don’t want to do that again.
At my age, I’m getting to the point where I need to keep my weight down by working hard and being diligent.
Sure, I’ll enjoy some birthday cake and a little scoop of ice cream occasionally, but I’m not going back to that deep, dark place I was last Thanksgiving.
So far, six days after Lent has ended, I’ve continued with no sweets and eating past 8 p.m.
I’m gaining more confidence each day.
Give it a try – you’ll like the results.