Even Santa Needs to Take Care of His Health.

To see me, it is not difficult to understand why I have the nickname of Santa.  In fact, December is always a fun month for me. Young children often see my full figure, white beard and approach me to share their Christmas wish list with me. I have not always resembled good ol’ Saint Nick, and I’d like to share my story with you.

I was an average youth who was not very interested in sports as I was not that good of an athlete.  I was more interested in fixing mechanical things. In high school I got a job at a local grocery market. When potatoes went on sale, I was tasked with stacking crates of potatoes in the storeroom. Each crate would have six 20 pound bags of potatoes, and the crate weighed an additional 20 pounds.  Therefore, each potato filled crate weighed 140 pounds, and I was instructed to stack the crates three high.  This workout made me very strong and I weighed about 190 pounds.

After high school I got a job as a draftsman working on airplane design; this was interrupted by a call to serve on an aircraft carrier for the military.  My work on the aircraft carrier was very demanding, and by the end of my second nine month tour I weighed 135 pounds and had a 30 inch waist at the hips.   This weight was not healthy or sustainable.

After my service in the military, I went to college and then began my career.  I also raised four wonderful children with my wife; with her help we encouraged our children to engage in many activities, including playing soccer and baseball which filled our time running them to practice or games for all the different teams they played on.

While I made time for my family, I rarely made time for myself, which lead to an ever-expanding waistline and a weight more than twice what it was in the military and encroaching on twice my high school weight.  

With age comes change; most obvious is the transition of brown hair to grey and then to white. Our bodies also do not work as well, and for those of us that spend too much time in the office or in other sedentary work environments, it is easy to gain a few pounds or more. As time marches on, simple tasks such as getting up from a low chair or couch becomes more and more of a chore; until it becomes necessary to get help to get up and sitting on the floor becomes out right risky. This is when I realized I had for too long neglected myself, and at the urging of one of my sons and his wife, I joined Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy.  

After joining Tai Ji Men and starting to do the qigong exercises regularly, I already recognize some improvements. I can get off the floor without help; the extra fat I’ve carried around on my hips and thighs is changing to muscle. So while I still can be easily recognized as Santa, I am improving myself and becoming happier and healthier.  For now, I’ll continue to wear my suspenders to hold up my pants, but as my natural jelly belly transforms into a more shapely form I’ll look forward to the day where I need to use a pillow to dress up like Santa. I hope that you can listen to the advice of this jolly old man and take better care of yourselves.

By John Selfridge