Balance goal No. 1: Eat better, exercise more


May 30, 2017

Author’s Note: In my March column, I discussed balance — the one word best summarizing the focus of my self-improvement efforts in 2017. To that end, I’m sharing my Top 3 goals for the year: eating/exercise balance (see below), work/family time balance (look for it in our July issue), and listening/talking balance (which will appear in our September issue).

Photo: ©

Photo: ©

I’ve spent most of my married life — the past 25 years — dodging our bathroom scale.

In ducking this weighty issue, I’ve spawned a virtual Dockers store. My closet now overfloweth with dozens of pants spanning 34-, 36-, 38-, 40-, 42- and 44-inch waists.

My mother recently lovingly nudged me to lose weight: “I can’t lose another son,” she shared with pained eyes and broken heart. Mom’s vulnerability, and mine, were front and center: On Valentine’s Day 2009, we buried my older brother Jim. He suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack at age 47, and left behind a wife and three children.

No longer is it just about me, and feeding my love of pizza, burgers, fries, soda and sweets. It’s about Mom. It’s about my lovely bride, Bridgid, and our three great gifts from above: Mickey, 22, Jamie, 21, and Meg, 19. It’s about my eight surviving siblings, 24 nieces and nephews, and numerous in-laws, friends and co-workers.

Photo: Marty Whitford

I made a promise to Mom this spring, and I intend to keep it.
Photo: Marty Whitford

It’s also about honoring Jim’s life through mine. Embracing a healthier lifestyle gives me a better chance of having more days to live, laugh and love as large as Jim did.

On March 3, Mom’s 85th birthday, I began my quest for eating/exercise balance. Thankfully, I’m not alone on this journey. My wife and I now maintain online food diaries. Everything we put in our “gas tanks” we now log via a Weight Watchers app on our iPhones. We’re making healthier choices, one day, one meal — sometimes one moment — at a time.

I joined a local recreation center. Now I have to show up there more — and swim laps, not just dive for Super Sharkpedos with Jamie. When the weather breaks, I plan to walk-and-talk with Bridgid, ice skate with Meg, play wiffle ball with Jamie, and shoot hoops with Mickey.

Countless studies have proven the direct correlation between productivity, and eating better and exercising regularly. Wellness programs work … if we work them.

The few changes I’ve made so far are working. I need to stay the course.


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