In case you haven’t noticed, activity in our Y family centers has picked up dramatically this week. You may have also noticed the usual deluge of advertising from fitness clubs, not to mention the Y’s new advertising (which, I hope you noticed, tells the bigger story about what a Y membership means beyond what a fitness club offers).
One of the critically important and differentiating things about the Y’s approach to wellness and well-being is that we are extremely “high touch,” which is really important particularly for health-seekers; those who struggle with their fitness and who are not likely to be successful at a commercial fitness club (which is generally not about engagement or serving the broader community).
If there ever was inspiration for the Y’s cause and approach to wellness, Y member Bob Johnson’s story is it. Bob’s post just before Thanksgiving on the Dancel Y in Ellicott City’s Facebook page speaks volumes:
“So, today I turn the big 5-0. I wanted to share the story of my journey this year and thank some key people. I had set a goal in January when I started the Y-fit program at the Dancel Y to lose 100 lbs. by my 50th birthday and I did not reach that goal. I did lose 88 though, and I feel like a new person (I guess that happens when you shed a person). This is not my first weight loss endeavor, but it feels much different than in the past. So I want to share what worked for me, because I do not even feel like I am really doing anything now and the pounds are still ticking away, albeit much more slowly.
When I started in January, I asked myself why I had failed in the past and the list was long, but the two main things I focused on was doing something that I thought I could live with forever and accountability. Y-fit taught me to use a calorie tracker which I used religiously for 6 months or so (I still use it when at restaurants or I am eating much differently than normal). I set a goal of 1800 calories per day but my real goal was to stay under 2000 (which is a lot for a ‘diet’). There are so many sneaky calories and guesswork that I wanted a buffer. I also knew I needed to work-out regularly, but I did not want to live in the gym. So I set a goal of doing weights and cardio 3 days a week and just cardio at least 2 additional days. For my weight days I am in the gym about an hour and 45 minutes and for my cardio days it’s 30 – 45 minutes. Many weeks I get a sixth day in of some sort of exercise, but not always.
The accountability comes with putting food in the calorie counter. Eating that piece of cake and having to put the calories in makes it much more ‘real,’ for lack of a better word (better to check calories BEFORE you eat; it’ll stop you more times than not). I still treat myself every once in a while, but typically stay away from junk food. As long as I am under my calories, I eat whatever I want. (I cannot stress enough – I have dieted and read as much about food and dieting as anyone. The calorie counter teaches you so much. It was extremely eye opening. You do not know as much as you think if you have never used a calorie tracker.) I also weigh myself every morning at about the same time. Tracking calories and weighing in really does keep me accountable. The thing I really wanted to say with all of this is thanks. I want to say thanks to all of the folks that commented and keep encouraging me along the way. It really helps. It is sometimes hard to notice the change in yourself. I want to thank my wife Patty Wilson Johnson for being so supportive and my family Graham Johnson and Anna Johnson. I want to thank Lisa Huppmann at the Y for getting me started. I want to thank the Dancel Y team Jamaal, Anthony, Katie, et. al. for encouraging me along the way. I hope I can do this forever. That is the scary thing – falling off the wagon. I do not feel like I am doing a ‘diet.’ I really feel like I changed the way I live. Only time will tell.
If anyone has any questions at all or I can help anyone, please feel free to message me. I am an open book. For the curious, I started at 300 lbs. on the nose and I am around 212 right now. I just did 3.42 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill. I do a weight circuit 3 times a week and use the ActiveTrax program at the Y. I do Abs almost every day that I work out (mostly crunches, planks, and Captain’s Chair). The app I use is MyFitnessPal; has most restaurant menus in there. I’m doing my first 5k on Thanksgiving in a long, long time.”
(Lisa Huppmann, Bob Johnson, Jamal Aaron, and Bob’s wife Patty.)
Wow! Just wow!! Congratulations to Bob and to the team of Y associates who have been there to help him along his journey. I’m so proud and pleased that the Y could play such a central role in your determined march toward long lasting health and well-being!
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland