Conservatives like to tout that they trim government fat. Well, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took it to heart, and looked in the mirror. While he may have lost the race in the Republican presidential primaries, he was an even bigger loser… on the scale.
After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2002, Huckabee decided it was time to lose the weight. In 18 months he lost 110 pounds, going from 280 pounds (a BMI of 39), to a trim 170 pounds and a healthy BMI of 24.
It’s a noble mission, but it was also a must-do, as his doctor gave him a dire diagnosis. Given his high stress job, a diabetes diagnosis, and high number on the scale, his doctor gave him 10 years to live… optimistically.
That’s enough to scare most anyone into making some real lifestyle changes. Here are a few of the adjustments Governor Huckabee made that got him to his goal weight:
A series of small goals. Instead of thinking about the entire 110 pounds, he thought in increments of 30-40 pounds. That’s certainly a better way to keep one’s spirits up.
It’s about lifestyle change. Rather than thinking about dieting, something he figured would be a short-term success, Huckabee decided to think in terms of permanent lifestyle changes.
A slow start. Since he had a sizable amount of weight to lose, Huckabee’s doctor advised against exercise at first. After losing a few pounds, he gradually started to walk. “My first exercise routine was probably six minutes a day,” he said. “Then one day, I was walking and I thought, ‘This is kind of slow. Let’s pick up the pace.’ And I was running. It just developed, you know, it wasn’t a planned thing. Every step became its own reward.”
Start a daily routine. If you expect to do it every day, it can definitely become as second nature as brushing your teeth. The Governor made it a daily early morning routine to walk and run.
His biggest dietary changes were eliminating highly processed sugar and white flour. He consumes plenty of fruit and vegetables. Pretty much elementary dietary knowledge.
Maybe the most interesting recommendation he has is that weight loss isn’t the goal, it’s the byproduct of your lifestyle changes. As his habits gradually improved, the weight came off.
As odd as this may sound, your diet and exercise are like drugs (my words, not his). I know this from experience. When you drink soda or eat sweets on a regular basis, your body craves it. But when you eliminate these items, you eventually find that you don’t desire them at all. The same goes for exercise. It can be really difficult to start an exercise program. But once you get going, you find yourself looking forward to it.
September 7th, 2008