A ‘Heavy Weight’ idea

“Inside every skinny person is a fat person waiting to get out. More often than not, the fat guy wins.”–Jack Elliott
My name is Mark Elliott. I’m drastically overweight.
I’m not alone, either. The latest national survey found 51 percent of all Canadians are overweight or obese.
By the way, I fit into the latter category.
Another alarming statistic claims that two out of every three Canadians are “dangerously inactive.” One of my co-workers helped quantify that statement for me. She said the level of inactivity many Canadians live has the same health effects as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
I guess you could count me in that latter category, as well.
As far as I can remember, I seem to have been this way all of my life. I was always bigger than the other kids, and never could walk as far or run as fast.
I was the kid the physical education coach had mercy on and appointed me as backup goalie for soccer or equipment manager for track and field just so I could be part of the team.
Sound familiar?
Today is one week before my 24th birthday, and I’ve decided I want to make a drastic change in my life before my 25th. I want to be able to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded. I want to not have to order clothes from a special catalogue because most stores don’t carry my size.
I want to live my life without experiencing the two heart attacks my father did before realizing, “You know, being this big just ain’t healthy.”
In short, I’m tired of being the negative statistic. And I’m going to do something about it.
< B>Starting out
The hardest part about losing weight and eating healthy is will power and motivation. Just ask anyone who’s tried it. And trying to lose weight on your own is even harder.
My father said he has an advantage when it comes to losing weight–and it’s not the fear of another heart attack that drives him to walk two to three miles each day and pass by the doughnut and bakery shops.
It’s my mother.
More specifically, it’s my mother’s nagging. She tells him what he can and cannot eat, makes him go for walks, even raps his knuckles a bit if he looks at the dessert tray too long.
If you asked my father, he’d probably tell you my mother nags him to death to stay alive.
And darned if it isn’t working. My father’s weight has been on a constant decline since “Operation Nag” started and he’s the lightest he’s been in more than a decade.
But that’s not the best part. He feels the best he has in more than a decade, too. His energy level is up so much he doesn’t have to be reminded to go walking; he just does.
Even his snoring has decreased (for which my mother is eternally grateful).
This idea of communal accountability was used by a group of people in Thunder Bay who held what you might call a pound-a-thon. Basically, people were sponsored to lose weight in a healthy way over a certain period of time, and the money collected went to a local charity.
The program also was a great success because everyone involved kept in touch with everyone else to see if they were eating right and exercising enough. And if they weren’t, you could bet someone would show up the next day to make sure they were.
In short, they nagged each other.
< B>‘Heavy Weights’
Hence the idea for “Heavy Weights,” a program designed to help people seriously interested in improving their health by holding each other accountable.
I’m asking people to give me a year’s commitment to do something about their health. In addition to regular meetings to check on each other’s progress, you’ll be responsible for getting people to sponsor you to lose weight–either by the pound or as a single donation.
At the end of the year, the weight loss is tallied, the money will be collected and then given to the new Riverside Foundation for Health Care, which in turn will spend the money on local health care.
“Heavy Weights” has two strong motivation factors. First of all, there is the fundraising for a good cause (and no one really wants to disappoint their sponsors).
But the key to “Heavy Weights” will be the moral support–not to mention the good-natured nagging.
To get the ball rolling, I’ve used my clout at the paper to get the ball rolling. See the picture of the guy smiling inanely at the camera? That’s me. Even if you don’t want to sign up and pick up a pledge sheet, do me a favour and tell me, “Hey, Elliott! Do you think you really need those fries?”
Trust me. You’ll be doing me a favour.