I like to go for a fast walk in the early morning, usually starting out about 5 AM. I find that time of the day is the best for me. For one thing, it’s quiet around where I live. I see the occasional patrol car making its rounds. Usually, the paper-girl, (in my case) and I wave to each other as we pass and I’m on a first-name basis with the other early risers, who drive by on their way to work.
Now, where I walk or jog maybe is a better term. I encounter 6 stop signs. Now everyone has been trained from an early age to know that the “Stop Sign” means just that, come to a complete stop. Usually, this is for vehicles, but it is also a good warning for those that walk, run, or bike around these same roads to make sure they keep a good eye out for anyone that does not abide by the rules of the road.
It’s funny, but early in the morning, you would be surprised at how many drivers simply ease through the stop sign and keep on going or there are some that just drive right on through some of them that have a free line of sight. So much for the rules of the road.
To me, I always make sure I look around prior to coming up to the stop sign, just to make sure I still have the right of way. But along with the main purpose of the sign, for me, it also has another significant purpose. It reminds me of why I wanted to get up early in the morning and do my 6 miles each and every day.
I started this process just about 3 years ago, because, on July 19, 2014, a picture was taken of my family in which I happened to be in it. Now for me, I never liked to have my picture taken. It wasn’t because I was shy, far from that, I’m a people person, but in dealing with people, usually over the phone for my business. I was able to forget just how overweight I actually was. But when this picture was taken, it was then emailed to me, and I keep it on my phone as a reminder of just what I looked like back then.
Seeing that picture was I guess a revelation for me! I came to feel ashamed of what my family and friends have been putting up with over the past 10-15 years. Yes, I have been told many times that I was grossly overweight, but I shrugged it off and plain just didn’t care. But it was something about this picture that hit a nerve and made me fess up to myself that I had to do something, or I wouldn’t be around to see my grandchildren grow up and start their own life. You see, that picture was taken to commemorate the wedding of my son and his wife. So seeing everyone else looking fit and fine and then me looking like,,, well Nuff said.
That picture started me thinking and I finally consulted a nutritionist, about how to go about changing my eating habits and spoke with my new doctor to get a series of tests done so that I was cleared to start an exercise program.
My doctor recommended walking to get me moving and get my body used to exerting itself, in a slow measured pace at first, then to continue to add the miles as my body adapted to the new strain I was putting on it. Since I wanted results, I wanted to be able to track the distance and the calories that I was burning on my first real ambitious goal to gaining a slimmer me. I guess I failed to mention that when I started this journey, I weighed in at 357LBS. And since I’m only 5ft. 7, I looked more like a bowling ball with legs than a 58-year-old man.
But, as I was saying, I wanted to track my progress, so the first thing I acquired, was a good activity monitor. One that I had no problem in reading and one that felt comfortable with, knowing that the data it reported was accurate. Since I was taking this new step in my life seriously, I wanted to hold myself to the actual data that was right in front of my face each and every day. After doing some homework I decided on the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker One of the best things I like about this tracker, is that it learns my patterns and after a while can set the next attainable goal for me, without me having to do anything. So after walking/jogging, over a period of 2-3 weeks, it lets me know that I have a new goal to push myself to, in order to continue to improve myself.
Now, if you're curious about the title of this blog and what all I have had to say means with such a topic. Well, it’s because at first in seeing a stop sign, early on in my walking program, I was happy to come to a stop, look each way and continue. It basically gave me a breather. But after a couple of months, like most people, I was getting tired of the same-same old thing each and every morning. Then, like seeing myself in that picture. Seeing the stop sign on my walk, it hit me. The word STOP didn’t just have to mean, come to a stop as a rule of the road. But the word STOP for me, meant something to me for each letter.
S-Strive…. Push myself to strive to do better each and every day, so that each day meant something special to me and I could look forward to that daily walk and used that time to plan out my day and what I could do to make not only my life better but to help someone else’s to be better as well.
T-Try… Try to be just a little bit better today and every day, to the people I meet.
O-Overcome… The word says it all. Don’t let anything be an obstacle to keep you from doing what you need or want to do in order to improve yourself.
P-Persevere … Keep going on your chosen path. For me it was to maintain my new way of life. Not just the walking, but also the change in eating habits, that I undertook to lose weight and get myself healthy to be there for my family. The big thing was to just get out of bed each morning and stick to my goal!
So, that is why a Stop Sign means moving forward to me instead of just coming to a stop. And like I said, this July 19th, 2017. 3 years will have passed and in that time, with using the call letters of that stop sign I can say that I have seen a 137LBS drop-off, SO FAR! and I am now a fitter 220LBS. It’s taken a while, but with Perseverance, and keeping to the new eating lifestyle that I have adopted. I feel better and my new goal is to take off another 50 LBS between this July 2017 and July of 2018. Oh, and just to mention it, I am now up to walking 8 miles on weekdays, and I try for 10 miles on the weekends!
Want to come join me??