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Losing Weight Helped When It Came Time to Manage My Disease


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“Calvin, put that doughnut down!” someone said to me about nine years ago, poking my stomach like I was the Pillsbury Doughboy. It was a funny joke that made me laugh, but it was also true. Over time, I had gained quite a bit of weight and didn’t need to be eating doughnuts.

This happened before I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, so I couldn’t blame my weight gain as a side effect of prednisone. Nope, I was overweight because I ate too much and exercised too little.

I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I think they can be helpful sometimes if we stick with them, but I believe that if we want to change, we should do so, and not wait until Jan. 1.

So, despite not liking resolutions, I committed myself to getting back into shape in 2013. To mark that decision, I stepped onto the scale in December 2012. It read 272 pounds. Ouch!

I am a naturally big guy at 6 feet, 3 inches. I have never been skinny, but at 272 pounds I was heavier than I’d ever been. I was proof you could be a fat vegetarian, but being over 40 with a family history of obesity and weight-related health issues meant it was time to get it together physically.

To get started, I came up with a simple plan that I called “SEE.”

‘S’ for sleep, ‘E’ for eating and exercise

In SEE, the “S” stood for sleep. I made sure I got at least seven hours each night, something I had rarely done. The sleep allowed me to wake up feeling refreshed and with my body recovered from the previous day’s activities.

The first “E” stood for eating. I could eat whatever I wanted, but with a healthy balance of foods and a moderate caloric limit. And when I met my weekly goal, I allowed myself a “cheat day” each Sunday.

The second “E” stood for exercise. Working out and physical activity had to be strenuous, but also enjoyable.

That was it. I figured if I focused on all three areas — sleep, eating, and exercise — I would get into shape. It didn’t happen right away, but my plan did work. Each week I saw progress.

Some weeks I lost as many as 3 or 4 pounds, while other weeks I’d gain a pound or two, but I stuck with it. I exercised every day, and each Sunday, I gave myself a celebration cheat day off. I ate well, but if I had to have a doughnut, I ate it and wouldn’t beat myself up about it. I just didn’t let doughnuts be a daily habit, except on Sundays. Over the course of the year, I turned into one of those “after” pictures.

Losing weight — all kinds of it

That year, I learned quite a few life lessons, including realizing how many other parts of my life factored into my health, and that weight didn’t just have to mean physical weight. It could be emotional weight, financial weight, and spiritual weight. I came to see that I didn’t just need to lighten my physical weight, I needed to lose other types of weight that were holding me down, too. To help me do that, I focused on positive forces, such as my support system, and walked away from others that were holding me down.

That’s a lesson I continue to remember as I fight sarcoidosis. I often have to check in with my specialists at Johns Hopkins Sarcoidosis Clinic for ways to continue the fight. This disease is tough physically and it can cause a person to gain weight. But I’ve found that when other parts of my life are lighter, sometimes managing a disease can be easier.

When I stepped on the scale in December 2013 it read 231 pounds. I had dropped 41 pounds that year, but I knew I had shed more than just physical weight. And that was the biggest resolution win of all.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

The post Losing Weight Helped When It Came Time to Manage My Disease appeared first on Sarcoidosis News.

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