A Healthy Approach
I remember 3 years ago, July of 2009, I was sitting at a park with the kids weighing about 245 pounds. I turned to my wife and said, “I think it’s really about time I do something about my weight.” She said try to start watching what you eat and exercising. I just thought to myself, I’ve tried this several times before without success, so how was I going to figure out the right formula to make this work? I had gained about 75 pounds since high school and honestly was not sure how to lose it. It is very difficult to stay focused with a training plan, especially not having any idea as far as what you are doing. Sure, I know the medical aspect of it. But the down and dirty of truly being fit, I had no clue.
So I started to run, and two months later I was down to 215 pounds, and had entered my first half marathon. It took me almost two and a half hours, and it was tough. At this point I was getting a lot of aches and pains from the constant pounding of running, so I decided to try cross training with swimming and biking. At first I couldn’t even swim 25 yards, and the biking was a lot tougher than it looked. But I tried to simply focus on consistency, while balancing career and family. After three years of consistent training, I have gradually gotten faster and more fit.
This past July, myself and six of my teammates from NWT completed our first full Ironman at Lake Placid. It was an amazing experience for all of us, and was an overwhelming end to where I started three years ago that same month.
In my full time job as a physician assistant in primary care, I take a special interest in treating obesity, and educating patients on diet, exercise, and weight loss. I think a lot of the problem is just lack of knowledge on what being healthy and fit truly means. I even get a good chuckle when I hear people tell me how hard it is for them to lose weight, and that I wouldn’t understand because I’m thin. What they don’t know is all the consistent training that is backed up day in and day out. They also don’t know that I wish I could eat whatever I want, but I can’t. I have to watch every calorie.
Watching your weight can be an easy process, if you keep it simple. To keep it simple, I focus on a few main points . . .
- Only eat small amounts of sugar
- Eat lean protein sources
- Eat a lot of veggies
- Focus on calories in vs. calories out
If you are overweight and trying to lose, then the amount of calories consumed verses the amount of calories used is the big one! If you can keep your daily calorie intake under your RMR (resting metabolic rate), which is a measure of how many calories you burn in a day, then you should be losing. You can calculate your RMR from any dietary website.
Jamie Shuler works as a Physician’s Assistant with North Medical Family Physicians, where he enjoys sharing information with patients on how to reach a healthy weight and maintain an active lifestyle. He has been racing triathlon for the past three years and appreciates the challenge of balancing sport, career, and family.