I grew up in the United States, but I’m from Japan. Every time I went back, my family would poke fun at me. My nickname was “sumo wrestler.” Eventually I became depressed and turned to food for comfort. Things got so bad that I’d shut the blinds, disconnect my phones, and eat junk all day.
One time at work, I dropped a pen. As I tried to pick it up, I almost tumbled and started breathing very hard. It scared me. I already had my daughter at the time, and I had no idea how much longer I would be with her on this planet if I was out of breath just from picking up a pen.
Changing my diet was the first step. Every time I got hungry, I picked up an apple. I ate fruit at least twice a day to satisfy my cravings for junk food. Soon I lost 22 kilograms. Now I have Greek yogurt with granola in the morning; a salad with broccoli, sweet peas, and light dressing for lunch; and a lot of steamed or cooked vegetables for dinner. I eat a lot of vegetables.
My exercise used to be walking from my house to my car. Running changed all that for me. I live in Colorado, and a coworker encouraged me to hit the trails. Running with the beautiful scenery and smells was sensory overload—in a good way. I run 2-4 kilometres four days a week, lift weights four days a week, and swim a kilometre three days a week. On the weekends I run with my daughter. I’m also training for nine races from March to September.
It’s been more than worth it: My depression is gone. I have more energy. I no longer come home from work exhausted. And when I went back to Japan, everyone was flabbergasted. My mother just said, “Who are you?” They couldn’t believe I’d changed so much, and that was a reward in itself.
Work Out With Your Kid
Kirimoto found an unexpected source of fitness inspiration: his 10-year-old daughter, Sara. Here’s how he encouraged her to get a move on.
“Instead of just sitting around and watching TV on weekends, we started with very slow, 1-mile walks,” says Kirimoto. “I even had her on her bicycle while I ran just to have her out there with me.”
MAKE IT FUN
Remember, this isn’t supposed to be work. “We’ll joke around, have fun, talk about movies, and things like that. My daughter now enjoys going out with me on Sundays to run,” Kirimoto says.
“We worked up to 3 miles, and I entered her into a race. She was nervous, but people were high-fiving her and saying, ‘You go, girl!’ At the finish she asked me, ‘When’s my next race?’ “
LEARN TO LET GO
“Sara enjoys running. But I don’t pressure her to stay in running,” says Kirimoto. “I just want her to keep moving and stay healthy. Right now, she loves gymnastics, so she’s also focused on that.”
This article was originally published on MensHealth.com