An Aging Athlete’s Perspective
I’ve been an athlete almost all my life and still swim in U.S. Masters and the Senior Games,
I’ve been an athlete almost all my life and still swim in U.S. Masters and the Senior Games, but 12 years ago I started having problems with my heart. Nothing dangerous, really, but debilitating. Without being able to workout, I ballooned from my middle age spread into something more in the whale-on-the-beach category. I topped out at 256 pounds.
I’ve had two cardiac ablations, and after the second I was determined to get back in shape. I was swimming 4,000 to 6,000 yards a day five days a week, and doing my very best to behave at the dinner table, and I was able to trim down to 212. But then I hit the wall, and nothing I did seemed to make any difference.
A couple of years later, and back up to 225, I started to follow Dr. Stehouwer’s advise. I followed the dietary guidelines she taught me, and changed the way I approach my eating. She also wrote me a prescription for a medication to help control my hunger, and it worked! Watching what I ate and when I ate it was very important, not just portion control, and all together, the meds and the strategies Dr. Stehouwer taught me made a huge difference. I dropped to 185 pounds within three months, and co-incidentally, I was fairly heavily symptomatic with yet another cardiac irregularity, and I didn’t swim my way to any of that loss.
The last time I stepped on her fancy body composition scanner I got some impressive results. I’m almost at an ideal body fat percentage, and my phase angle (you’ve got to step on the scanner to understand) shows my body’s cellular health and integrity is outstanding!
I was flat out dreading the details when the doc told me I’d have to make some changes to my lifestyle regarding food, but I haven’t had a problem with the new menu at all. It turns out I love mock mashed potatoes, and I’ve become something of a low-carb desert genius (okay, I just follow great recipes, but I do it exceptionally well)!
Cutting carbs concerned me as an athlete, and it did take some time for my body to make the transition, but now I feel like I’ve got just as much gas in the tank as I did when I was loading up with carbs.
I’m not gearing up for any big swim meets this year, but once I turn 60 next January, watch out! With my new body in my new age group I could do serious damage!
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.
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