The “Not a New Years Resolution” resolution

I’m not a fan of the idea of making a New Years Resolution because statistically, they don’t have a great success rate.  There was a stat released about 5 years ago that said that among people who made a new years resolution, only 8% achieved their goal.

The reason I’ve never made a real new years resolution is that I know myself, and unless the goal is attainable with little modification to my daily life, I would be unlikely to succeed and honestly, by February, who needs something else to be discouraged about. The weather in February is enough to get most people down – you don’t need to add a failure to the list to give you the blues.

So…this is NOT a New Years Resolution. Just a decision that I have to make and the timing of it, would “seem” like a New Years Resolution.

Glad I cleared that up! 🙂

Coming into the Christmas holidays, I felt awful, both physically and mentally.

During the Christmas week, our days were filled with going to various family gatherings and it’s when I’m doing these “out of the ordinary” activities that I notice how bad things have gotten.

Going to houses of family and friends makes me very aware of the changes. A set of 3 stairs that I easily got up and down 5 years ago, is not so easy anymore. Going to a theatre with a few low-rise steps was more difficult than it should be. Carrying Christmas presents from the house to the car wasn’t possible this year.

I’ve talked with my Doctor about what could be causing the mobility issues, but there’s really no good answer. There’s another MRI coming up and maybe an appointment with a Neurosurgeon, but as with most people who have Spina Bifida, there’s rarely a clear path as to what’s causing an issue and what can be done about it, if anything.

It’s like hitting a moving target. As I’ve gotten older, my body has been slowing down just like anyone else, but with Spina Bifida, the effects of ageing are compounded. I feel like I’m about 85 years old.

I don’t like the mirror

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been a little “chunky.” Some might even say, “spherical.” Every time I see a picture of myself, I think “Do I REALLY look like that?”….”Am I really THAT fat?”

Every time I go to buy new jeans and have to go up a size, I wonder…”Is there some sort of conspiracy happening on waist sizes?”

But then I eat a little more and it seems to make me feel better…Which just compounds the issue.

Physical exercise of any kind has never been easy or enjoyable for me and for a long long time I lived with the unhealthy view that because I was “disabled” that I was exempt from exercise.

Add a love for good food and stress-eating and you see that the perfect storm has been created.

My weight has gone up…and up…and up. I weigh myself occasionally, and the Doctor weighs me when I’m in and this becomes a discussion at every appointment. In the past 15 years, I have gained just over 60lbs!

Imagine putting on a 60lb backpack on and walking around with it, all the time. Everyday.

That would be difficult for most able-bodied people. Adding that kind of weight to a frame that already has some structural issues and…it’s no wonder walking has become VERY difficult.

So…is Spina Bifida the REAL problem?

Joy, my parents and my sister have always encouraged me to get moving and to do any exercise at all, but for the longest time, I thought “What’s the point?”

If my decline was because of Spina Bifida, I knew nothing could be done about that so I figured there was no point and I just needed to accept the decline.

But then the light went off and I realized that the weight gain can’t be ignored and I DO have control over that.

This is a light that should have went off many years ago, but when I could function fairly normally, it just never did. I assumed I would always have a basic level of physical ability…until I didn’t.

Apart from the toll the weight gain is taking on my joints and muscles, it’s also taking a toll on my heart, even if I haven’t been diagnosed with anything yet. Plenty of health issues can be directly attributed to weight gain.

The most important realization was that even if the natural progression of Spina Bifida leads to a decline in function, that doesn’t mean that I need to accelerate the decline by not taking responsibility for the parts of my physical condition that I CAN control.

And maybe strengthening my core and leg muscles will actually prevent further decline and maybe even reverse it.

It’s worth a try.

I know that if I do nothing, I will no longer be able to walk in less than 1 year.

I want to be able to go shopping, go to the theatre or attend a function where parking isn’t within 10 feet of the building.

I know what I need to do

After Christmas passed, I had plenty of time to think about these issues and I started to do some Googling. I Googled various health issues, which is never a good thing when you’re faced with illness because most of what you find is negative, but in this case, what I found was much more encouraging.

The food part of the equation is easy to deal with. I need to exercise some self-control, eat better food, avoid fast food and make better decisions when faced with choices. It’s not rocket science. I can choose a salad over a Big Mac.

The exercise part is more challenging. For the longest time, I’ve been thinking “How can I exercise when I can barely move?”

Swimming is a natural choice, but I know myself too well. If I have to drive across the city to swim in a pool with a whole bunch of other people…Well…I’m just not going to do that, at least not right now.

I don’t look great in a bathing suit and I hate locker rooms.

I googled and googled and googled and found this.

Finally. Here’s a guy that’s faced some challenging physical circumstances and he made changes and was able to regain his mobility.

I know that there is a lot of hype surrounding a program like this, but as I watched more of the videos, read more testimonials and researched more, I became encouraged.

I can do this!

Some of what Arthur was doing in this video – I could never do, even if I was in great shape. I’ve never been able to run and likely never will…and I don’t foresee a need to be able to stand on my head, but I think this program will work for me.

During my research, I learned that the program has been modified to start from ground zero for people who have severe mobility issues or people who are obese. “Obese” is a word that I hate, but when I punch in my height and weight into a calculator, the term for what comes up is “morbidly obese”

This means that I could die from being overweight. Something has to change.

Here’s what’s great about this program. (other than the fact that it was developed by an ex-WWF/WWE/WCW wrestler.)

The first set of exercises starts with bed exercises, which is about the level that I need to start at. I can’t stand for more than a couple of minutes, my balance is terrible, my core strength is non-existent, but I can do this program.

If you’re like me and seriously out of shape, beyond the point where you think you can do anything, this program might work for you too.

So…Yesterday I signed up for a free trial

I did all my measurements, took a bunch of scary looking pictures of me in my boxer shorts, weighed myself…and I completed the first set of exercises for Day 1.

It’s amazing how fast my heart was beating for seemingly “easy” exercises. For many reading this, I’m sure you could easily do the exercises, but for a guy who’s basically sat in front of a computer and did nothing for about 15 years, it was challenging, but in a good way.

Chase the Journey

I guess this is the next part of my journey. Writing about it here gives me some accountability.

When you see me, ask me about it.

Ask me about my eating habits and my exercise routine. I sincerely mean that, because if I only tell Joy, it’s easy for me to make excuses to quit.

I plan on keeping you up to date on my progress through the blog and Facebook. Part of me thinks I’m crazy for telling all 7 of my blog readers what I’m up to, but I think it’s what I need to do to keep at it.

Scroll down for the good part…





And now for the thing you’ve all been waiting for.

In the interest of full disclosure… I currently weigh 242 pounds and I’m 5 feet, 1 inch. Yikes…

This is Day 1. Franklin (the cat) was there to help support me in this decision. 🙂


9 thoughts on “The “Not a New Years Resolution” resolution”

  1. It sounds like you’ve found a great program – you can do this! And that you’ve told us, accountability is ON! 🙌 Holding you to it!

  2. I’m rooting for you Jonathon….and praying too. I too am embarking on an improvement in my lifestyle by increasing my mobility and eating healthy. So we will continue to encourage each other, OK?

  3. With all of the other things that you have accomplished, this will be right near the top of the list. I am proud of you and will be merciless in my questioning on how it’s going.

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