Last year I finally did it. I decided to lose some weight and get in better shape, and I meant it! I’m now 40 pounds lighter, with more strength and energy and fewer aches and pains than I’ve had for years.

After I lost my first 20 pounds, people started to notice. Many asked me what I was doing. Some people seemed a bit disappointed when I simply said, “Eating a bit less and exercising a bit more.” No magic pill, no fancy diet, and no expensive trainer. My response, though not intended to suggest anything about what others should do, may have left some of these askers feeling like I had left them no excuses, like “I can’t afford it,” or “I have no time for it.”

So how did I finally learn to get in shape the simple, old-fashioned way? First, I started to really want it. Then I started to listen to people who were doing it. Then I started to believe I could do it. And finally, I started to really try it.


One reason that I really started to think about getting in better shape and really to want to do it was that my back started hurting. You don’t have to have a hurting back to get in better shape, of course. You can get in shape to avoid a hurting back in the future, or you can find your own reasons. But I used my back as one reason to start thinking about it.

Once I was thinking about losing weight, I started to pay more attention when I met someone who had gotten in better shape, or was working on it. I listened to what they were doing and thought about it. I told myself, “If they can do that, maybe I can too. Or at least I can do something like it.” The more I thought about it, the more I was certain I could do it, and the more I wanted to. This combination of thinking about getting in better shape and listening to how people did it increased my desire to get in shape. It also increased my belief in my ability to do it.

Then I decided to DO something. I got a goal fixed in my mind, woke up a bit early one day, and spent 30 minutes exercising. I planned the approximate portion sizes I would eat throughout the day and tried to stick to my plan. Then I did it again the next day. There were some days I didn’t quite stick to my plan, but there were more days that I did. I didn’t despair about the days I didn’t stick to it. I just got back to it the next day. Day after day after day.

And that’s what counted.