The Tedious Tale of the “Lean Mean” Education Dean

By Bill Henk –  People, people, people ….PLEASE stop asking.

Yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight.  Yes, I did it on purpose.  No, I’m not ill.  Yes, I followed a diet.  Yes, I exercised.  Yes, I’m probably going to need to buy new clothes.

Now can we just please be done with it?  If I have to repeat this story even one more time, I’m going to…SURPRISE…happily do so (at least pretty much so.

Actually, I’m flattered when people comment on the changes.  It just shows that my hard work has paid off and that my colleagues and friends both notice and are kind enough to offer their surprise and praise.

Within the last three months, I’ve lost more than 30 pounds as well as six inches off my once abundant waist.  My knees don’t hurt any more.  I’m off blood pressure medication.  There’s a spring in my step.  Hot weather no longer exhausts me.  Heck, I can’t even wait to take my Marquette Health Risk Assessment next fall.

What does any of this have to do with education?  Well, I finally put into place what I had learned about healthy living over the years, and it has paid enormous dividends.

Fact is, I pretty much knew how to lose the weight, because I’d done it before.  But this time aound I got a big lift  from a commercial meal replacement program, and probably not the one you’re thinking.  Despite my earlier success and the struggle that went with it, I just drifted over time and found myself having regained a lot of what I had worked so hard to lose.  And try as I might since then, I just never seemed to get around to take the plunge again in earnest. Believe me, there have been no shortage of excuses.

But in 2012 I was bound and determined to hunker down.

Why the motivation?  Let’s start with the fact that my father died of a heart attack at the very age I am right now.  Now mix in an age difference between me and my daughter of more than 50 years.  Then blend that with getting measured for a tuxedo for my niece’s wedding and essentially learning that my waist size had reached epic proportions.

Right then and there I told my wife, “I am going to lose the extra weight.”  She gave me the old “yeah, yeah, yeah” which I completely deserved for the huge number of times I made the same vow and then didn’t follow through.  For me, it’s been one false start after another.  So I asked the clerk if I could get re-measured for the tux, and was told that I could come back up until a month before the wedding.  That gave me about three months to orchestrate a minor miracle.

Finally, this time around I also took the process seriously, because the initial cost of the meal replacement product seemed hefty and represented a further incentive.  If I was going to spend that much money for the stuff, I was going to give it (and more importantly me) every opportunity to succeed.  It turns out that the program is not expensive when you consider it replaces two meals per day.  And besides, how can you put a price on good health?

So you know, there is a running joke in my family that pertains to my wife’s husband, my daughter’s father, my sister’s brother, and my nieces’ uncle.  I am forever promising to become a “lean mean fighting machine” like the John Candy character in the classic comedy “Stripes.”  They always laugh because I’ve been more of a “chunky funky couch-dwelling monkey.”  Think Chubby Hubby, Padded Daddy, Blubber Brother or Clunky Uncle.

Anyway, over the past few months, I re-learned the following:

  • Combining exercise with diet does make a big difference
  • Meal replacements take most of the uncertainty out of what’s OK to eat
  • Drinking lots of water is beneficial
  • Celery, carrots and radishes are good for you and you can eat lots of them
  • Aim for 1500 calories a day (1200 for females) and the pounds melt away eventually
  • Food tastes better when you eat in moderation
  • Don’t deny yourself; just limit your intake of the great tasting bad stuff

Go figure.  Who knew?  Well, I’ll be.

So you know I recently got re-measured for the tux.  The clerk told us that it was a good thing I came in for a fresh fitting, because otherwise “the only thing that would have fit was the tie.”  Talk about an affirmation!

So at long last I really am a lean mean fighting’ machine, and I’m going to try really hard to stay that way.  I’ve lived my own modest version of “The Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover,” and it’s been a truly rewarding journey.

And one of the good things about writing this post is that I can now refer people to it, because I’m just getting tired of hearing myself repeat the same story, even though it’s one I cherish.  In other words, I’m boring myself, but if the story will help others, then lend me your ears.

So now you’re probably wondering what I look like.  Modesty prevents me from revealing too much, but in the following image note how small my body now looks in proportion to my head.

Seriously, just this once, score one for the power of knowledge, goal setting, and will power.

10 Responses to “The Tedious Tale of the “Lean Mean” Education Dean”

  1. 1 Donna August 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Good job, Bill. Can’t wait to see you at the wedding. I guess I’m a little jealous. I only lost 20 pounds……I guess we’ll both have to stay away from the cookie table!!!!


  2. 3 Lisa Henk August 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Oh boy, now everyone’s gonna want a Bill Henk bobble head doll!


  3. 5 Ann Bryant August 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Way to go, Bill! 🙂


  4. 8 Heidi Jo Smith August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Where can I get a Bill Henk Bobble head?!?!? LOVE IT! Congrats Bill.


  1. 1 The Back to School Blues « The Marquette Educator Trackback on September 6, 2012 at 7:34 am

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