Taking one step at a time to get there

Cristian Vasquez

With Thanksgiving around the corner I am reminded that I am about a week away from embarking on the mission I set for myself in July: run a 5K. Furthermore, I set a goal for myself with regards to losing weight: 50 pounds by Thanksgiving. I am happy and not so happy to report a few things. For one, I did not hit my 50-pound goal and that is definitely disappointing. However, I did drop 37 pounds. Going through my medical records from this year, a visit to the doctor in March registered me at 329 pounds. By the time I became serious about changing my lifestyle in late May I was at 320 pounds.

With the help and guidance of Siavash and Jennifer at 6 Pax Gym, I have been able to set up an eating plan and an exercise routine that has helped me get to this point and which will carry me through the rest of this journey. Although I have not visited 6 Pax Gym in a while for a weigh-in, I want to thank Peri for taking the time to put me on the scale to document my progress every time I have gone.

My most recent weigh in at the doctor’s office registered me at 292 pound, which is the lowest I have been since I was 26. Having to write this down makes me appreciate how lucky I am that I am still able to jog and walk without any complications. Which brings me back to my initial goal, running a 5K. My first time walking 5 kilometers, which is 3.1 miles, it took me more than 50 minutes. While I am no speedster at the moment, I have shaved that time down to 40 minutes on average. My fastest was 37 minutes and that was on a day in which I felt very loose. Chances are that in the week that is left I will not beat my goal of finishing the 5K in 35 minutes or less. While that is disappointing, I am happy about one thing: since I started, walking has turned into jogging and the jogging has turned into gym visits. I have been consistently going to the gym near my house for one-hour sessions at least three times a week.

While I am nowhere near where I want to be, my body is feeling different. I am feeling the progress. I feel stronger, more agile and overall alert. These are things that come as no surprise to anybody that has access to a television or the Internet. Commercial after commercial will remind us how much better we feel when we exercise. The problem is that since high school I haven’t had any incentive to exercise. I was content being inactive. For 33 years I ate anything and everything without ever taking the time to walk at least 30 minutes a day. I was lazy and left it all for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow came and went and here I sit at 292 pounds fighting every bad habit that I have developed since I was in high school. So I have to constantly remind myself that the damage I did from the time I was 18 isn’t going to be fixed in a matter of months; it will take more time that I would like but that’s how it works.

Exercising has been hard and eating for sustenance rather than pleasure continues to be the most challenging part in this transition. Truth be told, if I were more disciplined I would be farther along in my journey. Then again, if I were more disciplined I would not have waited until I was 23 years old to go back to school. The point is that I did not meet my short-term goal of 50 pounds and I will probably not finish that 5K in 35 minutes. For that I am disappointed in myself. However, the long-term goal remains intact: to change my lifestyle permanently. I might have only lost 37 pounds but I have gone from a size-46-waistline to a 42; my XXL shirts are beginning to fit a bit too big while I can now squeeze into an XL T shirt. It’s definitely not where I want to be nor where I will settle but at least I’m passing through on the way to my ultimate goal.