Bob Keefe - Before
Bob Keefe -After
How bad was it? My size 4X shirts were starting to get tight, my blood pressure and sugar readings were high and my cholesterol levels were about to let me experience “better living through chemicals.”
“How long will I have to take the meds?” I asked my doctor. “How long were you planning on living?” he replied.
With a self-imposed three-month deadline to lower my cholesterol by dropping a few (or more) pounds, I soon stepped on the scale to discover that I had, through hard work, willpower and dogged determination, managed to gain eight pounds. I knew I’d have to make some changes if I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life breathing like Darth Vader wearing a tight girdle.
I was skeptical at first about Lifestyle 180, thinking a bunch of “experts” who’d never been overweight in their lives would simply feed me information I’d been hearing -- and ignoring -- for most of my life. But all the experts had their own back stories that they willingly shared with our group. They all had a personal stake in the program. And they all knew the frustrations and realities of trying to make major lifestyle changes, whether by choice or by medical necessity.
The presentation was interesting and not what I expected. In the first place, the program wasn’t just for overweight couch potatoes. It was also designed to alleviate several chronic diseases including, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and certain forms of early stage cancer, along with several other maladies.
On a practical level, I learned Lifestyle 180 was a comprehensive program which would attempt to alter our lifestyles using an array of techniques. Participants would be taught how to shop, how to cook and how to plan healthy and satisfying meals. There would be classes in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, and also yoga and stress management techniques. Blood Tests, metrics and the results of regular checkups would be monitored by a medical team who would also offer suggestions throughout the year. The initial phase would be somewhat intense, meeting twice a week for four hour classes, and gradually the program would wind down to meeting every few months for the same time period. The program would actually last a total of 13 months with the option to sign up for additional time after that.
I listened to the pitch and sampled some amazingly tasty yet healthful dishes. I was however, still unconvinced. Learning to cook delicious and healthy meals seemed like a good idea but I had no interest in yoga, stress management, or sitting around sharing my “feelings” about what a drag being unhealthy was. This program sounded suspiciously like some sort of “Oprah fantasy” and not really my cup of hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.
I found out early on, that I was luckier than some of the other participants because while I was dealing with a variety of health issues, I wasn’t on any permanent medications yet, didn’t have any dietary restrictions and was capable of participating in the prescribed physical regimen without undue hardship. Some of the rest of the team, (yeah we were already thinking of ourselves as a team) had serious chronic problems that would challenge them in ways I was glad to have avoided. Fortunately, our coaches were experienced at improvising and innovating around just about any physical challenge. Okay that’s the buildup, what‘s the program? It’s pretty simple; eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stay away from red meat, don’t eat anything in which sugar is one of first five listed ingredients, exercise daily, learn yoga and stress management techniques and get plenty of sleep.
Pretty simple, huh? You’ve heard it all before, so why is this program different? At Lifestyle 180 you have help. You’re taught how to eat healthy, how to manage your emotions, how to get the most out of your exercise routine and how to recover when you slip. You are presented with a wide range of data helping you to understand why your lifestyle choices affect your health in so many ways. A highly professional team of experts are available to educate, train and guide you through the program. If you slip, they don’t judge - they just help you get back on the horse. Missteps are not treated as mistakes; they are treated as learning experiences. I was astonished at how fast some of the positive results came after I began Lifestyle 180. After six weeks, my blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar and insulin levels dropped like rocks. After a year, I’d experienced miraculous improvement in my knees, back, arthritis, digestion, balance, blood work and many other nagging problems I’d acquired over the years.
By the end of the program, I’d lost 110 pounds – and I’ve dropped another 15 pounds since. My friends and family have marveled at my “willpower,” but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t have any more willpower today than I had before. Now I have knowledge and support. I enjoy my workouts. I feel much calmer thanks to stress management techniques and I enjoy food more today than I ever have in my life.
At 57, I’m studying to be a personal trainer and hope to help people struggling with the same health issues that I did. It’s really never too late. I think people my age think their problems are the result of the “aging process,” but no – it’s the lifestyle process. When I was 55, I felt like I was 100. Now I feel like I’m 30 again. Life is a lot more fun and interesting when you’re not held back by poor health.
In conclusion I can only say I’ll hope you’ll consider joining the program. It’s no guarantee against medical disaster but it will radically improve your chances of avoiding a life-changing medical event. Life is a lot more fun and interesting when you’re not held back by poor health. I wish you could feel the way I feel for just one day, you wouldn’t hesitate. Some people say do it for your loved ones, or do it to keep healthcare costs down. I say do it for yourself; because in the long run you’re the one who’s going to have to make the choices and you’re the one who’s going to reap the benefits.