Joe Braddy

Joe Braddy is a retired newspaper editor and longtime resident of Winter Haven, Fla. He continues his writing, editing and media work on a personal and freelance basis. He launched this website on Sept. 11, 2011. He can be reached by e-mail at



Weight loss? Anyone can do it

Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011

Continued from this page


I’m living proof of that, having taken off many, many pounds (dropping seven full waist sizes for pants) and doing it without fancy equipment, a gym membership or coaching from a hired fitness trainer.

The secret to my success — losing weight, keeping it off and getting into the best shape of my life — is simple.

It’s discipline.

It’s discipline to take time out of each day, no matter what, to exercise and discipline to eat well but very much in moderation. (If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight, so goes the formula.)

My fitness tools are nothing more than leftover carpet padding that serves as a mat and a big Pilates balance ball and two 5-pound weights that others in the household bought but have rarely used.

The mat, ball and weights actually were late additions to my exercise routine. I lost most of my weight (the “man boobs” and waistline “spare tire” included) working out without them and using a routine I made up and added to along the way.

We do have an exercise bike in the house (again, not something I bought), and I must admit I’ve used it in my routine for its cardiovascular benefits, but the bike has been broken for quite some time, collecting dust in a spare bedroom and awaiting repairs from me.

Whenever I see a television commercial for exercise equipment, whenever I hear radio ads for gimmicky diet shakes and pills, whenever I pass local gyms or whenever I see signs such as “17 USED TREADMILLS,” I think to myself: “I need to get a piece of this action. I’ve had true success losing a lot of weight — and without any of those things!”

It can be done. And it gets back to discipline and resolve (a form of that word “resolution”).

I have resolved to be disciplined about my exercise routine, which includes a full evening workout, an abbreviated early morning session and muscle stretching whenever possible throughout the day. Even when I’m not feeling great or feeling up to exercising, even when I’m out of town on business or on vacation, I get in some or all of my routine — every single day. And when I feel my will getting weak, I think about my oldest daughter, the mother to a 5-month-old little girl. “If she can give birth to a 10-plus-pound baby, I can get through these push-ups and sit-ups,” I tell myself. And get through them I do, sometimes even with bonus reps.

If I can exercise daily with the busy schedule I have, if I can be disciplined in what, when and how much I eat, everyone — anyone — else can do it. Begin like I did with a brief routine and add to it as you get stronger and more confident and as you begin to see the pounds roll away.

It’s satisfying to be thinner. It’s satisfying to be healthy. It’s satisfying to be physically fit. And it’s satisfying to succeed with a personal goal and not slide back from it.

Lord, help me not to be judgmental

Having lost a lot of weight, I notice more the weight of people I see in public, and more often than not, what I see is not pretty. It’s downright disturbing, in fact.

I don’t need to hear doctors and health-care experts tell me that America has a serious weight problem. I don’t need to read warnings in newspaper and magazine stories about childhood obesity. I see it every day with my own eyes.

I see it at the discount department store, where obese people — let’s just call them what they are, “fat” people — of all ages go up and down the aisles in motorized carts because walking is too much strain, too much pain, too much of a workout.

It see it at the buffet restaurant, where extremely fat people not only pile their plates several inches high with food — and then go back for second and third helpings — they occupy a lot of space, making it difficult for others to get around.

I see it on television (in the very little time I watch TV), where entire “reality” shows revolve around fat people.

We as a nation — the “convenience nation” or “invalid nation” I call it — do have very serious problems with obesity, overeating, poor eating and lack of exercise or even simple physical exertion.

I don’t want to be judgmental about others — I don’t want to be a snob — but the truth is the truth. The facts are the facts. In matters of personal health, in matters of weight and eating, we are a nation in BIG trouble. (Pun intended.)

As poor as things are economically in the United States, I wonder how we could ever pull through if times get really bad — as bad as they were during the Great Depression, for example. People of little means had to do without a lot of things, including food, way back then. How would today’s basically spoiled people, people used to excess things and seemingly endless food, react and live if they suddenly had next to nothing?

My thinking is we would never qualify for — not even come close to qualifying for — the term “The Greatest Generation.” “The Biggest Generation” might be more fitting.

On the matter of resolutions

I like New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Together, they symbolize the end of one period, whether good, bad or indifferent, and the beginning of a new period — a fresh start for everything and everyone.

Making personal resolutions is a New Year’s Day tradition. As a young person and young man, I never got caught up in all of that, but in recent years I have jotted down or made mental note of personal goals for the new year.

I prefer the word “goals” to “resolutions,” probably because “goals” have less rigidity to them.

I keep my new year’s goals to myself because, really, are they anyone else’s business or concern?

I have three goals in mind for 2012. All I’ll say here is that one is broad and the other two more narrow in scope. Perhaps this time next year, I’ll spill the beans and report on how I did.


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