Like a lot of Americans, I have struggled with carrying too much weight for most of my adult life. Not just a few extra pounds, but many.
Imagine getting up every morning with the equivalent weight of a fifth-grade boy hanging around your neck. And then imagine that you never get to set that kid down; not even for a moment, all day long. Getting the kids ready for school, then off to your challenging and stressful job. Sounds exhausting, right? After dinner, the couch beckons with a siren’s call that is very difficult to resist.
It’s a well-known fact that there is a physical and emotional price to be paid for decades of living with a weight problem. For me, a health scare involving type 2 diabetes earlier this year was a wake-up call. My wife and two teenagers deserve a husband and father who is not only alive but functioning at a higher level.
Changing my relationship with food has not been as difficult as I had imagined it would be. Specifically, I decided to step down as Mayor of Carbohydrate City, where I have served faithfully for so many years. My rather typical American diet of processed, starchy, sugary foods has changed to one that focuses more on protein, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Foods that I really enjoy. The results of this change to my health were almost immediate and fairly dramatic. With no other changes, I dropped 30 pounds within the first 90 days of my ‘new life,’ and dropped my A1C level to a very acceptable 5.3. What has surprised me most of all is that I don’t crave or miss my former way of eating.
Getting off the couch has been much more difficult, but being able to set a goal to complete RunDisney’s Wine & Dine 5K has helped me to do just that. November 1 will be my first-ever 5K, and I am slowly but surely building the strength and endurance needed to avoid getting swept up by the “Goofy Cart” that picks up the runners who are too slow. I’m feeling better in my training every day.
Beyond my personal and physical goals, I’m also inspired by the opportunity that the Wine & Dine 5K event provides me to help raise funds for a cause that I care about very deeply. Not only do I get to improve my own situation in life, but I can also support the important programs and services of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. I have spent the past 23 years of my career on the staff of Second Harvest, and the mission of helping provide food and hope for nearly a half-million of our struggling neighbors every year is very important to me. I see the results of our work in the community every day, and they are both tangible and profound. I hope to raise $1,000 this year for my participation in the 5K, which will become $9,000 worth of groceries for children, seniors, homeless, and low-income families across Central Florida.
Among the many ways that Walt Disney World supports our local community, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is one of the most impactful. I expect that funds raised this year will provide nearly ONE MILLION additional meals for people in need. Isn’t that amazing? I am so excited to be part of the 5K this year, even if I’m starting at the very back of the pack. I will be running in honor of every person in Central Florida who worries about putting food on the table for themselves and their families.
Thank you to RunDisney for making wishes and dreams come true for so many people.
You can join me in November as a member of Team Second Harvest. Learn how to join our team at www.feedhopenow.org/rundisney.