Financial Life Focus

How to clearly navigate your financial life

My Feel Rich Story

Getting serious about change

Exactly two years ago today (December 30, 2011), I went for my first physical in over 10 years.

I had been suffering with a bronchial condition since Thanksgiving.  By the time I went to the doctor, coughing became my predominant occupation—I could hardly work OR sleep.  Only desperation and big time fear motivated me to pick up the phone.  Why fear? I had packed on a lot of weight. I was out of control and my exercise program had disintegrated. 

I knew the news would not be good. And sure enough, he nodded at the scale. I felt like he’d just consigned me to the gallows. 285 pounds. How had I let this happen to me?

Then, they hooked me up for an EKG.  Not horrendous. Maybe there was hope. The blood-taking was next, filling vial after vial.

There I was, a bloated, miserable and coughing 285 pounds trying to be a life planner.  How's that working for ya? I thought to myself. Yes, it was a time to change. For real. Forever.  

Fast forward to today. My pant size is now 34, not 44. I have a regular workout schedule that includes weight and strength training, cardiovascular and yoga. My body fat went from 34% to 13%, with a goal of 10%.

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I work with a nutritionist who showed me just how many calories I need to consume to achieve a healthy weight and what foods are best to avoid. I consulted with a social worker who specializes in weight-loss to help support my efforts and the "why" behind my thinking. (I think I just REALLY like food).

As a true numbers geek, I chart my eating on an app that allows me to account for exercise and food consumed. I am far from perfect—I’ve fallen off my horse a few times. Thankfully, it didn't take a change of clothing size to get me back on track—just an acknowledgement that my routine had changed and not for the better. 

Change is not like turning a light switch on and off.  It takes time and attention. Now, my Immediate gratification comes from knowing that each meal, each moment exercising, is a step toward health.  As my annual physical approached, I know my blood pressure will spike as soon as the cuff gets within 6 inches of my arm, but I also know that I will not do a gallows walk to the scale.

Change is hard. But it’s also rewarding—overcoming challenges feels really good. It’s a series of adjustments, failures, successes and alterations.  It's a process—a journey—a mixed bag of emotional experiences.  But in the end, it is what we must all do to live fully, live passionately and try to enjoy the bounty of our lives. We owe it to those we care deeply about—our family,  our friends, and our life mission.

So here's to failure. Here's to change. Here's to courage to take on the challenges. Oh, and by the way, I'm not coughing anymore.

 

Michael F. Kay, a Certified Financial Planner, practitioner and a CPA, is president of the firm Financial Life Focus.

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