Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...

Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...
Custer State Park, SD; June, 2010

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Columbia, TN, United States
I am a Christian, married over 43 years to my gorgeous first wife; in 13th year as professor of education at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN; 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Losing Weight by the T-O-N

What better place to begin a push to lose the last 10 pounds of a weight loss goal than outdoors. My August resolution has taken me to Maury County Park this week. The aspects of a post-dawn walk are threefold: natural, physical, and cranial.

Mother Nature has supplied the natural with the lush greenery amid the cooler early-morning temperatures and lower humidity as well as the ever-present chance to spot deer and other wildlife. The first morning I saw six of Bambi’s relatives grazing and frolicking in a large meadow near the road. On the second day there were eight. On the way back down those hills I inquired rhetorically if they were the same deer I had seen the previous day. They didn’t say a word. Obviously their mothers taught them well the proper etiquette of not speaking with their mouths full of grass. On the way up this morning I met a man talking loudly on his cell phone with the speaker feature activated. I reasoned that he would have startled all the deer into hiding. Mother Nature had other thoughts. I spotted two deer on the way up. On the return trek I spotted a baby bunny, the two deer I had previously seen, a mother turkey with three youngsters in “tow,” and five or six more deer. It turned into a fantastic walk in the park.
The physical is supplied by the hearty exercise of walking briskly from Kids Kingdom at the bottom of the park road to the Monsanto Shelter at the top. The three-mile roundtrip is a good workout with half of it uphill. It makes for muscle burn when the aim is to cover the uphill stretches at the same vigorous pace as the downhill ones. The Monster, as I affectionately call the steepest grade, is actually within the last mile. Those 175 paces (yes, I’ve counted them – more than once) are as steep a grade as the Beaver Slide the Ice Road Truckers drive on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. Our “city” park truly saves the “best” ‘til last.

Finally, in the peaceful lane that circumvents forest and meadow, interrupted only by the occasional park employee vehicle (park isn’t open for tourist cars until 8 a.m.) or hardworking mowing machine, there is time to ponder. On these initial days my thoughts wandered to healthy living. The main reason I am in the park in the humidity of August is that I want to lose weight. That’s going to take a reliable plan of consistent exercise and healthy eating. The lifestyle change of following Dr. Josh Axe’s Healing Foods Diet for the last two years has enabled me to lose 45 pounds and keep it off. I have also been able to cease taking all medications for Type II Diabetes and high blood pressure. I have strengthened my immune system so that I have been virtually sickness free for the last two flu and cold seasons. But, alas, those last 10 elusive pounds are always the hardest to shed. I needed a revolution…a new means of self-motivation.

On these walks my mind has wandered in two directions. First, I reminisced about my recently completed 28-day, 12,800-mile solo Arctic Ocean Road Trip. By staying preoccupied with the sights and eating mostly from the fresh produce shelves of grocery stores, I was actually able to lose a belt size during those four weeks. That was followed by three weeks of grandkid hopping around the country during which time I reverted back to old habits of eating too much, too often, and too late. I gained it all back with a little extra. No, I didn’t regain the 45 pounds to 250; I just scaled back up to about 210. Losing the first five of that was easy. It’s the pounds from 205 to 195 (current goal weight for this 6’2” frame) that pose the challenge. Someday I want to plummet into the 180s, but that will be with a future weight loss plan.

My college students know I am big on acronyms. The park and an elephant named Horton were the inspiration for my newest motivational weight loss ‘nym. In a line from one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Horton Hatches the Egg, I found my inspiration. Horton agrees to oblige lazy Maysie and sit on her egg so she can go workout at Club Med; but first, he must render the tree safe for his body mass. He says in Seuss’s inimitable rhyming style, “Let’s see. The first thing to do is to prop up this tree and make it much stronger. That has to be done before I get on it. I must weigh a ton.” I considered the word “ton.” To lose those final illusive pounds I needed to wrap my brain around T-O-N: Time, Opportunity, and Need. I have the time with few job-related responsibilities at Martin Methodist College between the end of summer classes on July 29 and the start of fall faculty conferences on August 15. Along with time comes opportunity. My bonus room is too comfortable. I knew I had to get outside and start soaking up the sun’s healthy Vitamin D. Maury County Park is within seven minutes of my house, practically deserted, and a marvelous setting for strenuous strolling. As to the need, I want to lose those ten pounds. So off I went to the park to attempt losing weight by the T-O-N; and to talk with the animals (even if they don’t answer back).

BTW (like a “PS” to tech-challenged readers)…The whitetails are quite gracefully elegant in their natural setting. They are certainly prettier than the musk ox, moose, and marmots I had seen on my earlier summer vacation to the far north. My brain makes me realize that it will take two weeks of total consistency with exercise and eating, but I’m ready to tackle the journey with Horton and Bambi to help (Thumper, too). Perhaps I’ll see you in the park OOTD (one of these days).

[Note: this was published in the Healthy Living special section of the Columbia Daily Herald on Wednesday, August, 17 under the title "Losing weight is a walk in the park."]

[Note 2: Only made it part way to my weight-loss goal for the two weeks...but alas, nothing ventured...]

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