There I was again, looking at a menu. Another burger and fries staring me down.
It’s a weekly ritual that Ryan, my Cub Scout, and I head to McDonald’s before den meetings.
Two meat patties on a sesame seed bun and special sauce call to me like the Sirens. Oh, that big red box of fries.
One of my friends in RevUP, the wellness program at Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation, has told me about the Southwest Salad, with grilled chicken. Only 290 calories. That Big Mac has 550 calories and add 500 more for the large fries.
I ordered the salad. And it was good.
In six weeks, a shortened-version of RevUP, I’ve lost several pounds, more than an inch off my waist and can run farther without collapsing. So what if it’s not a marathon? By summer I’m sure I’ll be chasing my grandkids without fainting. Walking around Cub Scouts day camp will be a breeze.
Not an overnight change, but one that I think will be lasting. I’m creating new habits at a tolerable pace. Our brief RevUP session has wound down.
We all lost weight. Some lost much more than me.
When the session started for our group, the parks department offered it gratis with two stipulations: we buy our healthy eating textbook and we participate in before and after assessments and a focus group. We’ve submitted to seeing how many push ups we can do, measuring body fat, heart rates, blood sugar, all that stuff. The parks department is in the process of refining the program, considering session lengths and other components to make changes to improve it for future participants.
Next week I’ll finish writing about RevUP by covering how the department would like to grow the program. Tom Lovell, parks administrator, has an ambitious dream of including it in a community-wide movement for making Lee’s Summit healthier.
I’m not going to lecture about the obesity epidemic. You’ve all got mirrors.
Instead I’ll share my experience with RevUP.
When I was a younger, I constantly played tennis, basketball, bicycled, enjoying all kinds of exercise. As birthdays piled up, my habits changed, mostly unconsciously. Now I don’t like the result. I can use a little push and RevUP gives me just that.
If you have desire, even if it is minimal at times, RevUP provides a mix of working with others and cheerful encouragement from Ty Needels, who runs the program. With emails and phone calls, his mild reminders kept me on track, even if I weave a lot. I’d bump into other members at the coffee shop or grocery store or community center, and invariably we ask each other if we’d been to they gym.
That influence makes a difference. I’m seeing shifts in my mindset.
I tried yoga, for the first time at age 57, finding muscles I didn’t know I had (they ached) and discovered balancing on one leg like a stork ain’t easy. Still, I went back.
Instead of chips and salsa at home, or Fritos from the break room at work, I’m eating almonds, or carrot sticks, apples, oranges, bananas, in general more fruits and vegetables.
I don’t feel deprived. In healthy eating class we covered a lot, including the benefits of substituting healthy foods for calorie bombs and rewarding ourselves. I give myself microwave popcorn instead of Cracker Jack.
I learned new exercise routines and new ways of counting to myself: “One, two, three, six, eight, eleven, twelve. I’m done...No?” Ask my trainer.
I’m pumped. Even with modest success I’m feeling I can do more. For people who’ve finished RevUp the parks department offer’s a program called RELOAD.
Only for me, it’s no longer a freebie. I’ve got to open up my wallet, which hurts more than doing crunches, but I’m re-enlisting. Maybe I’ll try the Boot Camp exercise class.