The Skinny on Preparedness

There is a joke I like to tell people about my weight.  It’s my little way of saying “I’m just big boned!” I always say that in addition to storing food, I am also storing fat so that my body will have something to live off of in hard times.

Now, while, it may be a cute little self-deprecating joke, what it really hides is my growing uneasiness about my weight when looked at in the light of preparedness.

I have thought about this essay and started and restarted it for several weeks now.  Frankly, embarrassment has been the source of my writer’s block.

But looking around the prepper community, I realize that I am not alone, and by writing this essay, I hope that others will be inspired to join me on my journey.

So bear with me, as I bare you my inner struggle in an attempt to help others come to the same conclusion I have.  I hope that you or someone you know will be able to get something out of my experience.

All of my adult life, I have struggled off and on with my weight.  Last year, as I was working on getting my food storage and reading and learning, I grew more and more uneasy with the state of my health.

Don’t get me wrong, overall, I am quite healthy (meaning I haven’t had to see a doctor for anything for at least several years), but I have begun to fear lurking, undiagnosed problems like type 2 diabetes.

I began to fear what would happen if I was dependent on medication to live or if, when called upon to perform, my body just wouldn’t be up to the task.

I began to feel hypocritical when I was talking about preparedness knowing that if a real WROL situation arrived, I would be in deep trouble.

I would talk about the discipline it requires to work on acquiring food, and delayed gratification when you had decisions to make about where to spend your money. I had not been practicing those principles in other areas of my life.

Now, I’m not going to reveal my actual weight (I’m just not up to THAT much embarrassment), but I will share with you, that when I finally had my “come to Jesus” moment, I was about 100 lbs overweight.

Since that time, I have lost 40 lbs and have stalled. Recently reading the book One Second After by William R. Forstchen has re-ignited my desire to get this under control once and for all.

For those of you that haven’t read the book (which I HIGHLY recommend that you do…), the larger population dropped like flies at the beginning of the crisis.

The lack of diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol lowering drugs, combined with incidents of heart attacks from exertion that their bodies just weren’t used to, took its toll pretty quickly.

I have come to realize that being prepared also includes preparing my body to be in the healthiest condition possible. This is not a weigh loss journey, it is so much more than that.

I want my body to be strong and healthy.  I want to be an asset, not a liability to my family.  I don’t intend to use any type of fad diet, I just intend to use simple math (Intake minus output) to create a sustainable lifestyle for myself.

In addition to cutting my caloric intake, I intend to exercise and strength train. Luckily, my husband is a health fanatic, so I’ve got expertise close to home should I need it!

I intend on working my way up to being able to run a 5K and taking 10 mile hikes with my 72 hour pack. These are lofty goals indeed for me at this point, but if I can reach them, then who knows… the sky’s the limit!

As shame can be a powerful motivator, I have created a page on my website to track my calorie intake, exercise output and weight loss updates for all the world to see.

I guess it will be a diary of sorts. I am going to put it all out there!  If you see me or talk to me, I ask you to ask me how it’s going.

You are my motivators!  If you intend to take up my challenge, please email me and share your journey with me.

In the end, those of us that try to be prepared for upcoming hardships are in this together.  Here’s hoping that we are all healthy when the time comes!

by Suzannah Byerly

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  1. Thanks for your courage in posting. I know where you’re coming from — right now I’m about 25 pounds overweight and hate it.

    I think for reasons to be fit heading into a survival situation, you are just touching the tip of the iceberg. For one, the better condition you’re in, your body actually burns calories more efficiently, so the food you have in storage will be put to more efficient use.

    Then there’s the issue of in an emergency situation, you are going to be done a lot more physical activities, many of those your life will depend on, such as running and lifting heavy weights. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Zombieland, it was pretty funny, but he actually gave some pretty good tips in there for shtf scenarios, and one of his most important was cardio. And, as he said (I’m quoting the movie), “the fatties went first.” Simply because they were not physically conditioned enough to evade the threat. Looking at katrina and hte LA riots, there will definitely be hyenas in a wrol situation, in which we will need to defend our families and ourselves from.

    I wish you well in your weight loss journey, as I start mine as well. When it all comes down to it, weight loss and being fit is simple: move more, eat less.

  2. Great post, I am only 20 lbs over where I should be but I am getting motivated to get going this spring. I had some down time for the whole winter with and ankle injury and the surgery to fix it that kept me down for the winter. I am diabetic and need to keep fit and my body weight down to help stay healthy. I have the discipline to get the weight off, I am an ex-special forces operator and retired army soldier so the discipline is no problem. I have found that getting started is usually the hard part for most people. Once you stall out you need to change up your routine and shock your body back into losing weight. This post was just the motivation I nneded to drop thiose 20 lbs quickly and get back into shape.

  3. I’m right there with you– 100 lbs over weight. Good for you for already losing 40 of it. I really want to lose weight oo. Although, thank God, I haven’t had to go on any diabetes, BP, or other “lifestyle” meds, it could happen at any time. How far could I walk if we had to bug out? Could I carry one of my kids or a hefty pack? Not very far. I will stop by your sight and hopefully we can encourage each other.

  4. I enjoy your essays, Suzannah, and want to cheer you on in your quest to build a strong and healthy body. (Notice I did not say weight loss!) I believe that your body will tell you when you have achieved your goal and when that happens, the number on the scale may be quite different than the number in published weight/height charts.

    Although I was a fattie when I was young, I have maintained a normal weight as an adult. It is not easy since in our society, food has become a singular form of entertainment. There is so much temptation from the media, at the stores, and even on the web that to avoid temptation takes a strong will to just say NO.

    Having the right mindset means you are on the right track and I wish you the best.

    — Gaye

  5. Suzannah,
    I too have had this issue with weight and as I get more into the preppin world (I am by all accounts still a noob and have only been practicing for about 5 months) I intend to get onboard and do my part in a weight loss, physical conditioning program. I am at an age (47) that it not only behooves me to do so, but it also is something I WANT to do, which is 90% of the battle….. after that my goal is to stop the only other bad habit I have…. smoking 🙁
    I commend you on your goals and the fact you are putting it out there for everyone to see and learn from.
    I wish you success and will be following you on your plight. (so you now know you have an audience of at least 1 🙂 )
    Good luck and keep on preppin !!
    preppin Pawpaw

  6. Well put Suzannah.

    Over the last few years I’ve been doing many life style changes to prepare. First I quit drinking, then I quit smoking now I’m working on fitness and weight. I’ve been blessed to have most options available to me, but It was very hard to find a program that would do everything I wanted to do.

    I was looking for Strenght, Flexibility, Endurance and Weight loss. I also had a time restriction of 1 hour per day total time and I had to be able to do it regardless of where I was.

    I went with P90X. Its tough, but it works. I can do it at home or on the road and my investment was under $200. No diet, but you have to eat right and drink a lot of water.

    By the way I too want to strip off 80 to 100lbs. At my current drop rate its not going to happen within 90 days, but I’m on track for 180days. For me the toughest part is the Yoga. I just can’t get into some of those positions, but I keep trying.

  7. Suzannah, You bring up many valid points that I can relate to. I retired from the military nearly 15 years ago. My work now is certainly less physically demanding and my waistline shows it. But the larger point is that my strength and endurance have suffered as well. As you pointed out this can have dire consequences in a demanding survival situation. Just as we prepare by having the means to survive (gold, guns and groceries), which mitigates fear and uncertainty and gives us confidence, so does preparing ourselves physically to meet the challenges we may face. I have started an exercise program and hike in the nearby mountains, I still have a long way to go but my strength and endurance have increased markedly and my confidence level has increased as well. Thanks for bringing up an important topic.

  8. Excellent post, Suzannah. I too have struggled with my weight for most of my life. As I drift past the half-century mark, it is starting to have an impact on my ability to do things. I applaud your efforts, and feel inspired to work on my own eating problem. The little girl who was required to eat everything on her plate needs to start saying “no”.

  9. Thank you Suzannah for a very brave post. Your post is meaningful to me because I have just gone through the same thought process. Since December my husband and I have lost 30 pounds each, and have just 10 more pounds to lose to make our goal. That last 10 is definitely the hardest. My husband was borderline diabetic but is no longer and his cholesterol is under control. I don’t have health problems but I could tell the extra weight affected my stamina, knees, and back. Only when we discussed weight in the context of WTSHTF did our motivation arise. We realized we weren’t flexible physically or mentally but now we feel more energetic; we save money on food and instead of sitting in front of tv eating desserts, we’re working on our readiness and exercise. We wish you well on your journey!

  10. Thank you ALL for your very encouraging comments. It was quite difficult for me to post this essay and I went back and forth on it for quite some time. Ultimately, I decided that I wasn’t alone and all of your comments have certainly confirmed that. Support is a very important part of getting healthy and I look forward to sharing my story and giving and receiving support from other “like-minded” folks!

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