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Pedaling the Pounds Off: Today and the Future

Thursday, August 27, 2020

By Jared Gould

In my last blog, Back in Mississippi, Part 2, I discussed how surrounding myself with highly motivated, hardworking people altered my weight loss journey. Through them, I learned that dedication to a routine was necessary to lose weight. And, as with all lessons I learned in my weight loss journey, I practiced keeping a strict routine during my senior year of college.

By keeping in touch with my bosses at the Governor’s Office, I occasionally assisted the office during the fall semester—in fact, in October 2018, I met Ivanka Trump in Gulfport, Mississippi, where she came to speak on childcare and education. I also worked a job on campus and took 21 hours of coursework. Then, in January 2019, I was hired to work for the Governor’s State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB), where I assisted with education and economic development research. In addition, I also kept a job on campus and again took 21 hours in the Spring semester.

Thus, having a schedule my senior year was an absolute necessity. Since I had a heavy workload and did not have time to keep a strict exercise routine, I relied on a strict diet to keep weight off. It was not until graduation when I would finally get back on a bike! In May 2019, I was offered a job in Washington, D.C. Though I would miss working for SWIB and Governor Bryant, I said yes to the offer.

In July 2019, I made my move to the nation’s capital. With this move came a steady income, making it possible for me to finally get a road bike. I love it—it is one of the best purchases I have ever made! Yet, as with every segment of this story, another lesson was in the making: Weight loss journeys never end!

A full-time job requires major commitment. My time for exercise is restricted depending on the week. For example, one week I may work 40 hours, but other weeks I work 60 or 80 hours and I do not leave the office until 7 p.m., maybe even 9 o’clock at night. Some weeks, I have all the time in the world to ride my bike, but others I have next to none. Today, I am no lighter or heavier than I was when I graduated from college. I am still several pounds away from reaching my goal of 190. But, the very purpose of this story is to tell you that hope still exists.

Having hypoplastic left heart syndrome, I have many exercise restrictions. As a child, I thought that since my CHD prevents me from exercising vigorously, weight loss was impossible. However, when I saw that scale read almost 300 pounds, it was a wake-up call to lose weight. And, what I have learned from this whole process, and what I hope you have learned from reading this, is that it is fine to start small. If you go from cycling 0 miles a day to 1 mile a day, GREAT! Lose weight at your pace.

Keep these lessons in mind: Weight loss is a conscious lifestyle change; the diet is just as important as the exercise; it takes a long time to lose weight; when you don’t have a bike, walk; make exercise fun; don’t let your brother borrow your bike; surround yourself with motivated, hardworking people; never give up; and, if you have a bike, keep pedaling!

In closing this series, I would like to thank my great friend Amanda, who despite attending grad school at the ridiculously young age of 20 while working a fulltime job, has helped me edit these blogs. While this is the last part of this series, I plan to occasionally write updates on my journey. You can follow me on socials media as well. Finally, if you have not already, please visit my Facebook fundraising page and consider making a tax deductible donation to the Walk for 1 in 100 campaign.

Note: Always make sure to check with your ACHD cardiologist before beginning any exercise routine.


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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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