I have struggled with my weight since I was a preschooler. I was the heaviest kid in every class from kindergarten through college graduation. Then I became the largest person in the office, PTA meeting and definitely at the gym. Yes, despite being overweight, I have had a love of exercise for many years. My problem is with food. I struggle with emotional binge eating.

I tried not to pay too much attention to my weight because my blood work had always come back fine and my blood pressure was normal. That is until I hit my thirties. My blood pressure was a little higher at each doctor visit.

Then my annual blood work showed a problem. I had high blood sugar and high cholesterol. My doctor called the combination of high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar metabolic syndrome. He said I needed to lose weight.

exercise

My total cholesterol was 280. The American Heart Association recommends that it should be below 200. I want to be strong, healthy and alive for my daughter for a long time, so I got to work at improving my lifestyle. Here’s what I did.

Amped up my exercise

I’d been working out a couple of times a week for years. I started working out five or six days a week instead. I also increased the intensity and added strength training.

Started eating breakfast at home or bringing it with me to work

I used to grab a giant latte and muffin on my way to work or skip breakfast completely and eat a huge lunch. I started eating a health breakfast at home, such as a protein smoothie or egg on whole grain toast. I kept oatmeal packets in my desk at work for those days when I was rushing around.

Packed a lunch

I ate lunch out every day. Pizza, subs and burgers were in regular rotation. I started going to the grocery store on my lunch break every Monday. I’d pick up turkey breast, bread, fruit and yogurt to leave in the office refrigerator. I treated myself to a frozen meal I could quickly heat when I got back to the office that day. I made my lunch at work the rest of the week.

Began cooking more

Processed and restaurant foods made up the bulk of our diet. I started cooking more. Now eating out is a treat.

Implemented more fruits and vegetables

I realized I wasn’t eating many fruits and vegetables. Even worse, I wasn’t serving many to my daughter. I joined a CSA farm and started getting weekly produce deliveries. We went to a farmer’s market in the off season.

fruits and vegetables

The results:

Over the course of a year of consistently implementing these changes, I lost fifty pounds. I still have quite a bit more to lose, but my blood pressure is back to normal levels. My blood sugar is controlled. My cholesterol has dropped from 280 to 220. I know I will have it under 200 in a short time by continuing to eat right and exercise. Best of all, I feel better and have more energy.