Teenage

Huffing and puffing up the stairs

Donovan GRANT

Monday, November 18, 2019

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Dear Donovan,
I'm a bus driver who just became a dad, and at 290 pounds when I was unable to climb some stairs at the hospital to visit my wife in the maternity ward, my mortality finally started staring me in the face! I was huffing and puffing and almost passed out from the exertion, never mind the fact that added to the weight I have this huge belly, which was quite a trial getting through the door of my wife's room, and it's been quite challenging holding my baby. I didn't really care before but now I do — I want to get healthy for my family. I need your help! I am 5'8” and I am quite the adventurous eater — I eat any and everything! I also drink beer with my best buds every Friday night... and on game days, and on Sundays. Can you help me with a meal plan and some exercise tips? My wife didn't complain about my chubby body before, in fact she says I'm her teddy bear, but this is getting ridiculous now. I am willing to exercise and eat well, but you've got to help me start. I have no health problems that I know of.

Sometimes in our personal lives the mist is suddenly removed from our minds and we become frightened and aware of some of the poor habits we have developed. In a moment we suddenly realise that our habits are ridiculous and we need to make changes urgently. In your situation you suddenly realised that you (teddy bear) couldn't climb the stairs properly to see your wife and newborn child. In addition, you can't even hold your child properly and your gut is a total disaster.

This is your wake-up call and I am very, very happy that it happened. Mentally you are in a much better place to make the changes that will be needed to lose weight and keep healthy. I firmly believe that you will be able to do this and I am very happy that you are not facing any health challenges yet. So knock on wood and get cracking on your weight loss and fitness programme!

The important thing to note is that you realise you will have to get fit for you and your family. Also, you now have a young child who needs his/her dad big time. Going forward, all these reasons why you need to continue your fitness journey must be foremost in your mind especially when the desire to eat comes along, and also the fact that your wife might be enabling your eating habits.

I suggest that you have a talk with her and make sure she is totally on board with the changes you are going to make. That said, you have been eating everything and anything and I get the feeling you have not been doing much exercise. In addition, your bus driving job is sedentary. You will have to make some changes in your lifestyle involving your diet and activity levels. If possible, it is a good idea to work with a nutritionist or fitness coach so that you have someone to be accountable to. If you have no one to be accountable to, your programme, with all good intentions, may fall by the wayside. You must capitalise on this time when your mind is made up and you are ready to make the changes.

As far as your diet goes, I want you to bear some things in mind. I want you to cut back on your processed and fried foods, cakes and pastries, white carbohydrates, eg rice and flour, and sodas and beers. Also, I want you to consume more fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices, whole grains, ground provisions, nuts and seeds, soups, salads, etc. I would also suggest that you do a four to five day detox early in your programme. It would be wise to get the help of a professional while doing this programme. This detox programme will help to reduce your stomach and clear backed-up stool. You will also have to try and eat on time so it might be helpful to pack the meals that you will need throughout the day.

Preparation is key to being successful with this programme. It is also best to eat smaller, more frequent meals rather that one or two large meals. The overall aim is to reduce your calorie intake so that the body will be forced to use up some of the reserved fat. I am not suggesting that you do a starvation diet; I am suggesting that you reduce your portion sizes as well as make some healthier choices. Even in the first two weeks you could cut your regular meal portions to half the size. So a regular lunch portion could be used for both lunch and dinner.
Also, make sure you are doing better with your water consumption. In addition, try and do at least 15 to 20 minutes of structured exercise daily. Exercise will help you to lose weight, as well as control your stress levels.
Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.


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