MHLbannersmallFor Ed Heckler, weight loss is an everyday commitment to sticking with the basics

As a 15-year Riverside employee who transitioned from staff physical therapist at Riverside Regional Medical Center to front line management at Riverside Rehabilitation Institute, Ed Heckler, PT, MSHA realized that a more sedentary job was an added challenge with regard to his personal approach and ongoing efforts to stay fit and manage his weight. He also realized that waiting for something big to happen, some sort of life-altering event that was going to give him the motivation he needed might never happen.

Ask Ed Heckler about his weight loss story and he will tell you that there really isn't much of a story at all. Unlike the health crisis situations or other wake up calls that some people seem to experience, Ed didn't have any particular event associated with his efforts to lose weight and move toward a healthier lifestyle. But what he did have was the awareness that for him and for most people, maintaining a healthy weight was a lot more than a one-time effort.

Heckler_Ed_small"Back in 2004, just around the time I was thinking how important it is to be there for my then one- and three-year-old children, I realized I was out of shape and overweight and it wasn't getting better on its own. It was also pretty clear to me that I had become somewhat of a stress eater. I'd get busy at work or home, find myself under some pressure, and just grab whatever food was around. I couldn't eliminate all the stress in my life, but I did start paying more attention to my own behavior and the amount and quality of what I was eating."

Ed started to exercise more and eat better. And it worked. At least it worked for a while.

"The weight I initially lost didn't return quickly, but over time it just kind of crept back little by little. So not all that long ago I found myself starting all over again. This time I had some good experience to go on and I used a few more tools. I did Weight Watchers online for men and that helped me get a better understanding of portion control. And I focused on exercise more this time. I had been a runner for a number of years, but after a knee injury I now do most of my exercising in the gym. And I start early, around 5:30 a.m., otherwise life gets in the way. It's easy to find excuses not to exercise, and I know a lot of them. But by making it a priority and doing it before I start the rest of my day, I've found it easier to stay with my routine four to five times a week."

This straight forward, nothing fancy approach to weight management has left Ed optimistic about his ability to maintain the momentum. And it has reinforced the sense that he's in it for the long run.

"I definitely work at keeping the weight off, eating better and doing anything else I can for a healthier lifestyle, but I also know it's not about any single meal or exercise session. Some days I just don't do as well as others. So I start again the next day. I think it's important not to be discouraged when you maybe eat too much at one meal or don't get your exercise in for that day. I'm very focused about what I'm doing, but I'm not going to be obsessed about it. You've got to find the balance. When people talk about running a marathon, not a sprint, they definitely could be referring to healthier eating and exercise."

While everybody has his or her own individual needs and ways of approaching weight management, Ed remains committed to the belief that there's no magic bullet involved.

"I think this idea that there's something out there that's going to make it easy is why there are so many fad diets. Some of them may even work for awhile, but the truth is that no matter what approach you take, it's going to involve determination and a little bit of sacrifice in order to be effective. There are a lot of ways to spend your time, and family and work demand a lot of it. So there are always choices to make and things that sound like a lot more fun than watching what you eat and hitting the gym."

That's why it's so important to incorporate better eating and more exercise into your daily life. Once you start looking and feeling better there's a sense that you're getting a good return on your investment. I can't really say that the ongoing work at a healthier lifestyle is easy. But at least for me, it's definitely worth the effort."