The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Prime

All the time, I hear people say it. You've heard it said. Usually written, but sometimes spoken. "When I was in my prime, I..."

Growing up, I was outcast. Somehow I developed a reputation as the kid to pick on. Mid-stream my family moved from one town to another, and I thought wow, I can start anew. Problem was, the damage had been done, and while I was at a new place, my teenage brain couldn't comprehend that I could be anyone I wanted to be. So I took up the role I had in the previous town, at the previous school. The outcast.

I wasn't particularly athletic. As a child, I played little league, but couldn't throw the ball very far. I was afraid to bat, because I might be hit by the ball. I never swung at it, I let them walk me. One time I got to third base and was excited, but forgot to stand on the base, so I got tagged out. I played right field and the ball came to me once or twice, but I could never get the ball into the infield. I was taunted by all the kids until finally I couldn't take it anymore and finally quit. I was then called a quitter for many years.

I was a short kid, but was able to jump high enough to grab onto the basketball net, and when I was in the 8th Grade, I loved to play and thought that perhaps I could be on the team. Open tryouts were held, and I jumped at the chance. My father even stayed for the tryouts, something he never did. Every kid there laughed at me and told me I had no business being there. So I went home.

In high school, PE wasn't much better. I couldn't play football. The one time I got the ball, I ran with it the opposite direction and gave the other team a touchback. When I would show my lack of athletic ability, I was given the only punishment ever doled out by the teacher, who was the football coach: run laps. I think I spent my entire Freshman & Sophomore years running laps, very poorly.

In 1984, I got into a car accident with my mother and was injured. My mom made a bigger deal out of my injury, but I took it as my opportunity to get out of the hell that was PE. The doctor wrote a note, and I was excused from having to go. For me, this was a dream.

I did, however, find out on my own that I could run fast. At least, I thought I could run fast, and of cousre I could jump high. I thought wow, what about track & field? I could do the high jump, it looks pretty cool. Then I realized that I had this doctor note in the office, and if I were to try track & field, then I could easily be in PE. No thanks. So I didn't bother.

Girls were a joke. Nobody was interested in me, or at least that's how it seemed. I know I missed out on a few opportunities here and there due to my stupidity and lack of experience. I did finally have a girlfriend for the last few months of Senior year, but that was it.

I went on to college, but never did anything active. I was downright sedentary. As time went on, the pounds got added, and my activity level went down.

Over the years, life happened, there were ups and there were downs. I got married, had a son... and got diabetes. And high blood pressure. I took medications prescribed to me, which got things in control. Or should I say, barely over the line into control. I had two daughters along the way.

Then something happened. I don't know what it was, there was no light bulb. No epiphany, no illness, I already had that. God didn't give me a scare and suddenly I did what I had to do. There wasn't a moment that I could point to and say that was what made me come to my senses.

A friend just happened to introduce me to a diet plan. The stars must have been aligned properly, I must have been caught at a vulnerable moment. Someone waved a magic wand over my head and said abracadabra. Maybe I fell and hit my head. Whatever the case was, I did what needed to be done. I followed the instructions given in the book, and lost weight.

Then somehow I found myself getting fit. As I said, I have no idea why. Some kind of switch went on in my head that said, "Do this" and I did. So now I sit here at 10:45pm on Friday, April 18, 2008, writing something I should have said a long time ago.

Hi. My name is Greg. I'm 38 years old. And this moment, right here, right now... is my prime.

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