How An 82 Year Old Helped Motivate Me To Get In Shape

Armen Weight Loss Tips 21 Comments

I’m sure they exist, but there’s just something wrong with an overweight dietitian, isn’t there? It’s sort of like finding out your doctor smokes cigarettes, but more difficult to hide.

But, what if the dietitian’s husband is a bit flabby and out of shape?

Being married to a dietitian is something I consider a genuine blessing. Apart from her many other skills, Melanie’s nutritional wisdom and sensible control of our family meals has been a key factor in preventing me from ballooning in weight since my work has become more sedentary over the last number of years.

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Yet over that same time period, Melanie has maintained the slim, healthy figure she had when we married six years ago (in spite of having a child), while I’ve lost the athletic build I once found easy to maintain.

It’s not that I’m morbidly obese. Far from it. But at twenty-eight, if I keep declining physically, not only will I be ill-equipped to fight disease and ailments, I’ll also not be physically able to enjoy my great-grandchildren.

Yes, you read that right. Great-grandchildren!

A reality check…

A short time ago I was given a real shock when I observed my own grandfather enjoy playing with our daughter. Even though he is eighty-two, he’s still possesses the freedom of movement to play with a child without any issue. You really have to see it to believe it.

He’s one of those old-fashioned, super-productive achievers, working in an intense environment until he was 75.  Yet all through his life he has made it his habit to eat well and exercise daily.

Neither food nor exercise is an obsession, but both are taken seriously as key elements to performing at his best, and living life in the most productive possible way.

He’s inspiring.

And that’s precisely why I’m writing this now. Watching my grandfather play with my daughter was a wake up call. Without the daily discipline of good food and exercise, he would never have had the energy, strength, and suppleness necessary to enjoy his first great-grandchild at the age of eighty-two.

Getting expert help on board…

I’ve spoken to Mel about this and she has somewhat reluctantly agreed to help me. I say reluctantly because she knows there’s little wrong with my diet at home. We eat healthily, and Mel knows if I just moved more I’d get in the shape I should be in.

However, I wanted her to draw up an eating plan which would accelerate my fat loss, while still giving me the energy I need to exercise and do my work.

After a bit of pestering, she has finally given in, and I’ve drawn up an exercise regimen which strikes the balance of giving me the maximum results, in the minimum time (I used to exercise regularly, but that’s almost ten years ago).

So, why am I writing about this?

Melanie often talks about the power of accountability in achieving your goals, and although I don’t have a lot of time on my hands as it is, I felt that sharing this journey would do at least two things:

  1. Give a heavy dose of accountability to help keep me on track
  2. Perhaps help motivate others to do something similar

Tomorrow I plan to weigh and measure myself so I can share my starting point with you and gauge the development over time, but I won’t be starting the regimen until Monday.

I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I might just end up making an idiot of myself, but we’ll all probably learn something from it anyway 🙂

Let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

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Comments 21

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  1. Taleen

    Go Armen!!!!! I really enjoyed reading this bro…it made me all emotional me!!!!

    Look forward to reading about your progress 🙂

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  2. Cathy in NZ

    Well that was an eye opener…I suppose it must be living with a person who has a passion for ‘healthy eating/life’

    If you are eating ‘right’ then that is probably ok. But that might not be tailored to a sedentary employment. Mel might be at home with the baby but she probably isn’t sitting around in that job.

    So probably what needs to occur is you need to bite the bullet and factor in some good exercise daily. That might be a challenge given your current lifestyle but this ONE AREA that Mel says we must do “make time”

    You might have to give up some part of your current life – temporarily whilst you do this. Take on less contracts or find a smarter way to deal with your daily other needs; even if it means delegating something to someone else.

    I am probably starting to sound like Mel but then you have to realise I am on her “makeover lifestyle programme” + on a “programme of my own to get fitter” for personal reasons…

    good luck!

    1. Post

      Hey Cathy!

      Thanks for the support. I didn’t go into it here, but I get lunch away from home four days a week, and what I normally eat isn’t helpful when you’re largely sedentary.

      Exercise will be a key element. I’ve got my plan and I’m ready to go on Monday morning.

      Follow the progress (or lack of it :D)

  3. Steve Parker, M.D.

    Hey, Armen. Pleased to “meet” you.

    You’re grandfather’s physical success probably has a lot to do with consistency of effort over time (years!). It’s sad but true that someone can be very athletic for many years, but if he stops, his aerobic capacity drops off dramatically in the next few months. Flexibility, strength, and power drop off more slowly but inexorably.

    The good news is that even middle-aged and older folks can start working out and lower their functional age by a decade, on average.

    I had been neglecting my own fitness over the last six months as I finished writing another book. Just a few weeks ago I started Mark Verstegen’s “Core Performance” program at home. [I don’t know Mark and this is not an endorsement.] I’m interested to see what kind of program you’ve put together.

    I agree with Melanie that accountability is an important contributor to success for most people. That’s one reason I’m blogging about my own Core Performance experience.

    Best wishes, and be careful not to injure yourself!


    1. Post

      Hey Steve!

      Yeah, his success is definitely due to a lifetime of diligence. The intensity has changed over the years, from boxing and cycling, etc, to the basic conditioning exercises he does now to maintain strength and suppleness, but the maintenance has always been there. Basic things like always taking the stairs, are mandatory for him.

      Core Performance looks like quite a flexible system, though I haven’t looked at in in great detail. My own is geared, not to the best results possible, but the best results in minimum time.

      Thanks for the support, and I’ll try to remember to follow your progress, too.

  4. allani

    Nice picture. But I would also want a post of your waist line as well if that is not too hard for you though:))
    Thanks for the encouragement

    1. Post

      Hi allani.

      I took a picture at the start of the week. I don’t really like having to show my belly, but you can sort of see it in the video I did here.

  5. Peter

    I can identify.

    That link between the mental “I need to change” and developing the physical habit is the tough bit. Discipline…got it in other areas, not so much in the exercise and fitness department.

    Maybe you just might motivate me to change my habits…all starts with a decision, like most things!

    PS Hi to you both+one

    1. Post

      Hey Pete! Good to hear from you.

      It’s making the decision, having the will to follow through, and making it a habit for life.

      I’m on Day 5 and I can notice a change already. Small, but it’s there.

  6. Irwin

    Hi Armen

    Enjoyed reading this. If there’s one thing there that jumped out at me it’s the regular exercise your grandfather has had over many years coupled with Seve Parker MD’s comments on the subject. As my job is 95% sedentry I need a bit of regular exercise. Although I do a bit of hillwalking it’s not regular enough so I’ve taken to running up the stairs at work! My staff probably think I’m mad! As for a diet plan that’s a tough one. Yes I eat all the right stuff but alas I eat everything else as well! But I am trying to moderate this.

    Anyway I hope all goes well

    1. Post

      Hi Irwin!

      Stairs are a fantastic way to keep in shape if you do it with enough intensity and regularity. Hill walking is great for heart health, but as it tends to be a ‘steady state’ exercise, it’s not the best exercise for burning off the belly.

      As for the diet… it plays a bigger part than any exercise we do, and moderation is vital. Maybe you could try a treat day (like Sunday). Avoid the heavy calorie stuff through the week, and then go to town on Sunday. That’s what I’m doing.

  7. Pete

    Hi Armen,

    Wow – your grandfather is very inspiring!

    I’ve been putting on weight the last couple of years, I feel like I need to turn things around fast.

    Like you I’m not “obese” or anything – I just feel like I’m on the wrong path fitness-wise.

    I agree with you and Mel about accountability; one of my biggest problems has been doing exercise every now and again … but not consistently.

    I plan to get an accountability partner so I exercise at least 4 times/week, eventually moving up to 5 times/week.

    Anyway, hope it goes well for you – please keep everyone updated on your progress!

    Kind Regards,

    1. Post

      Hey Pete!

      Yeah, if you can get a partner that can help greatly to motivate you when you can’t be bothered. I don’t have one exactly, but Melanie and the videos are definitely helping.

      You can view my progress each week. I have put up progress videos every Saturday since I started this four weeks ago.

      Thanks for the encouragement, too. Let us know how you get on 🙂

  8. Abbas

    Hi All.

    Many thanks for the great uploads. SOme very interesting stuff.

    Im still not sure what diet you are actually following. Can you please give me some details?
    Because it surely is working on you. The wieght is simply falling off.

    Look forward to your reply.


    1. Melanie

      Hi Abbas,
      We didn’t go into details on the specific diet as yet. It is something I’m working on at present, and hope to be able to share very soon with the readers on Dietriffic. Thanks for your interest.

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