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{From the 2023 Holiday Magazine}

Written by John R. Greenwood  |  Photo Provided

How many New Year's resolutions have you made in your lifetime? At the higher end of my 60s, I've logged quite a few and broken most within days. 

If you were expecting another weight-loss resolution story, you'd be semi-correct. Every New Year's, I promise myself that by my birthday in June, I'll need to punch extra holes in my belt. The thing about New Year's Resolutions is unless you carve them in stone and add an expiration date, you can use the same one year after year. Technically, I haven't broken last year's resolution or even the one I made twenty years ago; I'm still working on it. In fact, I've been documenting my weight-loss journey in writing since 2003, and therein lies the point of this piece. 

My wife and I purchased a treadmill from Sears in 2003. I was closing in on my 50s, and my weight had peaked at 270 pounds. It was time to get serious about my health and my longevity. My first documented date on the treadmill was 11/8/03. I did 3.32 miles in 52 minutes. On 12/28/03, three days after Christmas, I logged 5 miles in 72 minutes and had lost 10 pounds. Twenty years later, we're on our second treadmill. I'm about twenty-five pounds lighter and feel good when I do a couple miles in 45 minutes. I mix in a stretching and free-weight routine to keep my back from seizing up like a rusty gate. I've learned it's more about consistency than speed or volume. 

The photo above is a collection of notebooks I've used to document my weight and exercise regimen for the past twenty years. The entries vary in format and content depending on my mental state. They run from glass half-full to pathetic and everything in between. I thought I would share some of those entries as a look into the eyes of the average man or woman trying to maintain their health and sanity in a world that seems to spin faster by the day. 

3/2/04- Motivation: After I commented to someone that I ran at least 3 miles, 2-3 times a week, they responded, "Yeah, right—after a hotdog?" 


10/27/04 - Mom passed away 10/17/04. It was a tough three years. The weather on the day of the funeral was beautiful. A lot of people from work came, Todd, Dick, Chris and Maggie. Most of mom's side. Less than two weeks later, I'm up over 240 again. My goal is to get into the 230s by year's end. We have reservations in Cape May for Dec 29-Jan 2.  

10/31/07- 3 miles- 42 minutes. Dad's moving to Wesley today. Work is insane. My yard's a mess. Dad's apartment is full of stuff I must deal with. Everyone's busy. "Life is Good." 

12/26/08- 5 miles - 76 minutes. Day after Christmas. 

Bad Dog! Cookies, cookies, ham, Chex-Mix, fudge, cookies, pie, date bars, chips, nuts, cookies, Bad, Bad Dog!!! 

12/22/12- Saturday 8am- I'm breathing heavy. The stress and pace of my job continue to strangle my ability to focus on my weight and overall health. I know what needs to be done. I begin each day with optimism but weaken with every additional have-to, every unattainable job requirement. I fold into a Cookie Monster, a garbage disposal with legs. I lose my willpower, my joy. I push in the clutch, downshift, and press down the pedal, looking forward to the day after, the morning beyond, another beginning. I will start again tomorrow. I promise, I really do…

12/22/20- 5am 248lbs. Amazing how much better you feel after only three weeks of 1+ hours of morning exercise. Back, feet, neck, complexion, sleep, breathing all improve tenfold. Pretty simple formula that simply requires implementation and commitment—That's the kicker. 1 mile. 

9/22/23- 4:15am -Friday- Weight? Stretch, bench press, curls, squats. 1 mile. Not a good week exercise-wise—I did replace the radiator in my Tundra- "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice" - Carl Spackler.

Why have I kept twenty years of notes, notebooks, and journals documenting my roller coaster of progress and regress? I've used the collection to prove to myself that the word resolution doesn't have to have an ending. Although I've resolved myself to the fact that I may never get back to those 34/34 Levis, at least I've kept the dream and the fight alive. It's all about balance. I've learned that life's too short, and sometimes it's healthier to kick back and enjoy that bowl of Stewart's Philly Vanilla. Philly herself would have agreed.