I admit it. I’m a sucker when it comes to fad diets. You name it, I’ve probably done
it, from the cabbage soup diet to Jenny Craig, to Dexatrim, to the current green
smoothie craze. When did this fetish begin? I wasn’t an overweight child – but I
never had thin thighs either.
This journey to health has really been something I’ve been obsessed with my entire
adult life. I’ve always heard from beauty shop talk and the media, “You can never be
too thin – but you can be too fat.” That’s what I focused on. Even when I was a size
eight and 10, I thought I should lose weight. My thighs – uuugh!
So I ran, did aerobics, joined many a gym and wasted plenty of money. My motivations at the time were my high school class reunions. Every milestone Cass Tech Reunion – 10, 20, 25 and, yes, 30 year – I went on another diet, lost weight and gained it back, religiously.
Finally, one day something changed. It wasn’t about the weight per se, or how I looked in my clothes. (I could always camouflage my size in the right clothes.) It was a visit to the doctor. Not my doctor, my dad’s doctor. You see, he’s 85 and I’m a caregiver now, so I frequently attend appointments with him to make sure he stays healthy. He got on the scale and weighed in at 185. Tsk. Tsk. He’s six-feet-one and I said to the doctor, “He’s too skinny. He needs to gain some weight, right, Doc?”
The doctor said, “No. He’s fine. Actually, his BMI (body mass index) is pretty good.” BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Anything more than 25 is overweight and anything more than 30 is obese.
That day changed my life. I didn’t really know what BMI was all about, but I realized me
and my daddy weighed the same amount. I quickly Googled our BMI. His was normal
at 24 and mine was 35. I was obese! Here I was, making sure he was healthy, and I
was the one with health issues.
That was last year. After the initial shock I began to get serious. I changed my eating
habits, shopping habits, drinking habits, exercising habits. Notice I said “habits.”
I realized I had to make an overhaul in my lifestyle, not just lose weight to fit a dress or
look good at a class reunion.
Approaching 60 has a whole new meaning when your BMI is 35. I began saturating myself with health and nutrition information. I wanted to know what was good for me and why. I shopped at Whole Foods so much they knew my name and some gave me discounts because I shopped there so often.
I made up my mind to find a workout I enjoyed and looked forward to participating in, at least, three times a week. I’ve always loved to dance (and, secretly, always wanted to be a “fly girl” or a Beyoncé background dancer), so I made up my mind to try Jazzercise or Zumba.
Serendipity would have it that I got a flier from a friend who was teaching her first class and needed people to sign up to help her become an instructor. Well, I showed up and loved it. I found my fun and got my sweat on. During the process I’ve lost 35 pounds and I feel great. I even went on to become a certified Zumba instructor at 55 years old and became a vegan.
It was gradual change, but the intention was deliberate and it all started with a decision to not weigh as much my daddy. Thanks Dad – at 86 he’s in great shape and inspiring me still.
By Pam Perry (pictured center). She is the social media director for TheHUB and does Zumba at Team Angie Fitness Center in Farmington Hills.