Losing it: It feels good to be back in the game of life

Published: Tuesday, July 24 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

While playing softball last week for the company team, a co-worker asked me when I was going to learn how to hit, field and throw.

OK, he really didn't ask that.

But he did kindly ask how my weight-loss program was going.

Not wanting to brag (yet) or scream "I FEEL LIKE A NEW MAN!!!" in the dugout, I simply told him something like, "So far, so good."

After feeling how much quicker I could move around the bases, a few innings later I amended my understated response to a more positive one. I couldn't help it. It was fun to be able to run. And, overall, I really do feel great.

Four weeks isn't a whole lot of time to judge a life-changing process, but I've dropped 13 pounds since starting Bill Phillip's 12-week Transformation plan (28 pounds since May) and things are clearly starting to move in the right direction.

I'm faster. I'm lighter. I'm stronger.

Just in time for the Olympics!

The fact that I was at a softball game is a testament to improvement — physically and mentally.

A few months ago, I easily found excuses not to play. I had to work. Family duties. The dog ate my glove, you name it.

I was so ashamed of gaining 70 pounds in 11 months, especially after completing an Ironman triathlon in June 2011, that I really didn't want to play sports.

Heck, I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to work out or hang out with friends or, really, just see anybody. More honestly, I didn't want people to see me because I just knew everybody had to be thinking, "Ah, I figured he'd regain the weight! What a shame!"

That's a crummy way to exist. I want to love and live life, not hide from it.

I like that I'm starting to feel in control of my own life again.

I'm enjoying eating food that is healthy, tasty and filling even in smaller portions — grilled salmon, tuna fish, chicken, turkey meatloaf, brown rice, whole wheat bread and tortillas, low-fat enchiladas, nutrition shakes (Right Light chocolate and vanilla) and fresh salads, veggies and fruit. I even steamed and sliced zucchini from our garden to use as the "pasta" with a veggie-packed meat sauce the other night. Yum.

Eating six times a day is a big part this plan, which I'm following (and is outlined in Phillip's book "Body for Life" and online at Transformation.com).

This doesn't mean I'm doing laps around the drive-thru, but our bodies do better when they get regular portion-controlled nutrition throughout the day.

When I have something every two to three hours, I don't get those ravenous feelings of wanting to eat everything in sight, including the kitchen table with ketchup on it. So, I'm enjoying this frequent-eater plan.

It's also good to be moving again.

For the past year, the only exercise I got was dragging my luggage to airports and hotels during the Utah Jazz season. Now, I've made it a top priority to do at least 25 minutes of cardio or weightlifting five to six days a week.

This might not sound like a whole lot, and compared to my grueling triathlon training, it isn't. But the structure of the workouts makes it very effective, and I'm seeing exciting results. Did I mention it's only 25 minutes!?

Junior high girls were pumping more iron than I was at the beginning of my weightlifting routine. I've never really lifted weights before, so to be safe I started out using 10-pound dumbbells. I'm now up to junior-high boy level with 20- and 25-pound dumbbells. I do upper body twice a week and lower body once a week.

Bill's 5-25 cardio workouts include two minutes at a slow pace (walk), two minutes at a medium pace (jog) and one minute at a fast pace (run). You do that five-minute cycle five times. That's it. You can incorporate this method into cycling, an elliptical trainer, stair-climbing machines, whatever. I've been doing the treadmill three or four times a week, and I'm now jogging at the speed I ran at to begin four weeks ago (4.5 mph). Now I'm pushing myself to go 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 mph on my runs, which gives my heart, lungs and sweat glands quite the workout.

I'm also planning and tracking my eating and exercise; reading, soul-searching and doing worksheets to improve my mindset; and making daily goals to help myself and other people.

Or at least I'm trying to do that as much as possible. "Progress, not perfection" is a theme I'm taking to heart.

Though I joked earlier, you won't see me in any Olympic events the next couple of weeks. But I'm off the sidelines and back onto the playing field in my own life. That might not get me a gold medal, but I'll happily take that over making excuses and hiding.

Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy will chronicle his journey in a monthly column in the Deseret News and online at LosingItForGood.com.

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com

TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

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