I grew up in the South Bronx NY and was always very active physically, playing basketball, baseball and handball daily. In school I was also on the track team and the varsity gymnastics team. I married my high school sweetheart Diana and at that time I weighed 161 pounds. We both attended Hobart and William Smith college in Geneva, NY. After college I stayed pretty active playing basketball and racquetball with young people in my church.
After working at IBM for several years, I attained jobs that required extensive traveling and entertaining clients. I thought I was blessed to be able to eat such great food on a regular basis for free. At least I thought it was free, not realizing there would indeed be a price to pay. I didn't have as much time to exercise and before I knew it my weight started to increase. It didn't happen all at once, but slowly one pound at a time. I remember getting to 183 lbs and I thought "Wow, I have to do something about this weight." Then I reached 220 lbs. Now I really felt like I had to do something, but I told myself I could take care of it later. When I reached 383 lbs, which was twice my weight, I knew I was out of control but nothing changed. By the time I reached 383 lbs, I had already tried a dozen different diets only to find myself gaining more weight and losing the same 20 lbs over and over again. I tried pills, medical programs, protein, grapefruit, watermelon and many other weight programs only to gain more weight. Eventually, I found myself surpassing 400 lbs, which made it very difficult to travel by plane and very uncomfortable entertaining clients.
I can tell you a million stories of my experiences with my weight but nothing that impacted me enough to turn my life around. You see, I let my life get out of control. I took this long predictable journey of gaining weight over time. It affected my health causing high blood pressure, insomnia and diabetes. It affected my self esteem since I couldn’t fit into the styles of clothes that I was accustomed to wearing. I felt self-conscious and depressed.
With all of these experiences it was still not enough to prompt me to take control of my life. It wasn’t until I was with my grandson Julian in my backyard one day. Julian was only four-years-old when he looked at me while holding a football and said, “Grandpa, I wish you weren’t so big so you could play with me.” Wow. that was one of of the lowest point in my life. I couldn’t sleep that night thinking I might not be able to live long enough to see Julian grow up; my health was getting worse. I had to do something.
I considered bypass surgery and my doctor asked that I take some time to think about it. I did some research and spoke to several people and decided against it. I met with my doctor again and she said these beautiful words, “Abraham, you have tried every diet under the sun with no success. You're not going to give up rice and beans, so why don’t you eat only one plate of food and walk?” I said, "You’re kidding. That is all I have to do?"
I left so excited from my doctor's office, determined to turn my life around. I sat down and thought about how I would make this happen by planning for success. I didn’t go on a diet; I went on a journey. This was back to good health. A journey I knew would be long but successful. I had gained this weight slowly over time by doing two things: eating more and exercising less So I started walking during my work lunch, at first for a half mile then progressed to three miles at least four days a week. I made sure I ate only one plate of food and no more. Slowly but surely the weight started dropping off.
It took five years, but I have dropped 195 lbs and I'm on track to lose an additional 35 pounds. I no longer take high blood pressure pills. I'm no longer required to test my sugar level on a regular basis. I’m active, recently raced in two 5K's and started biking. I am able to wear awesome clothes and I sleep like a baby but most important I feel great about myself.
It is my wish to share my story through Facebook and this website, www.HealthyJourneyNow.com page throughout the country. I am currently speaking to small and large groups in churches, community centers, at Rotary clubs, at the YMCA. I am also sharing my success with individuals. My talk is no longer about me and my success but about sharing with as many people the keys to getting healthy through walking. I thought walking was a means to an end but what I discovered that walking provided so much more than I could ever imagined. God meant for us to walk. Walking is the means for so many cures, from heart disease to certain cancers, diabetes, depression, arthritis and so many others. When you consider that the CDC predicts that by 2030, 83 percent of America will be overweight and 43 percent will be obese, we have to ask, how can we as a nation sustain this financially, how will our military, fireman and police recruit?
Sharing my life and my journey is my passion and I look forward to working with you