The most rewarding aspect of my job is when the light bulb goes off for someone and they make changes that improve the quality of their lives. This issue I want to highlight James M. Segroves, Planning Captain, Lexington County EMS. James is someone that has always had a positive attitude and worked hard to make changes. He was already on that journey when I meet him. Below is a summary of the changes I have seen because of his attitude and perseverance.
In James own words:
If there is one thing for sure, Public Safety will teach you bad habits. One of the many that I adopted is unhealthy eating habits, not sleeping well, and just generally not taking good care of my body. Pair that with no intentional exercising, and drinking heavily for years, I made my way to my highest weight of 305 pounds. I was on two blood pressure medications and frequently suffered high blood pressure symptoms. I knew for years that I needed to make changes but kept saying: “I’ll do it one day”.
My weight loss journey happened as an accident. I finally reached the decision one day that I was either going to significantly decrease my drinking, or quit all together, or let it ruin my life. It took a little while, but after scaling the drinking WAY back, I noticed that my pants were loosening up and then noticed the numerical decrease on the scale. This encouraged me to start making more healthy food choices. I have always led an “active” lifestyle but just staying on the move was not enough. I decided that I should probably start exercising and see what happened. I started with a simple walk around the neighborhood 4-6 times a week. Initially a brisk walk was enough to get me short of breath but over time walking was not enough. I began to walk/jog. Before I knew it, I was able to jog without any intermittent walking in between.
The healthier eating and intentional exercise combined made the pounds really start to shed. While I initially never had any set goals, I thought to myself one day: “maybe I could lose 100 pounds”. At this point nothing was going to stop me. Over the course of about 10 years, with many ups and downs, I finally stepped on the scale and joined the “century club”. Throughout the course of the years I noticed a drop in my blood pressure and significantly decreased my dosages. My sleep got under control and I typically get adequate rest each night. I continue to work on eating healthy and exercising. I found a group called F3 that meets outdoors for bootcamp style workouts. I have picked mountain biking up after 20 years of not doing it.
I have realized many things over the course of this time frame:
- Real changes start in your mind. Same concept with AA: The first step is admitting you have a problem.
- Step two is being willing to make a change. It takes a commitment and a plan. You have to be willing to change your whole lifestyle, or at minimum, alter it.
- Going “all out” or making drastic changes is not always the best method. This will lead to rapid burn out and often leads to regression. Make slow changes and do them in small steps. Ease into it.
- You do not get fat overnight, and you will not lose weight overnight. AND the weight will go back on as quickly as it comes off if you do not stick to your commitment. In other words, losing weight is the easy part, keeping it off is the hard part.
- Almost everyone can improve their health to some level. Not everyone has 100 pounds to lose, but we can all improve in some way. Prioritize and determine what your goals are.
- Making positive change will rarely be easy, but it will be worth it.
Bottom line is you can do this also. Get started today.