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Keeping the Fat Back with Harold Fisher

Tracey Gold Bennett | 10/26/2011, 1:28 p.m.
Harold Fisher (right) prepares to go through the drill with participants as he gets them in shape. /Courtesy Photo

Informer: You went to a fast food chicken restaurant recently. Does being fit mean that you have to totally eliminate foods that are unhealthy -- or is moderation the key?

HF: There's nothing wrong with "comfort foods." Just don't get too comfortable. That's how you fall back into an unhealthy lifestyle. I pack my lunch every day. Not only is it healthy for me, it's cheaper! The day I went to buy the fried chicken, I hand-packed enough lunch during the day and I was really hungry during the commute home. I must say the chicken was not as good as I thought it would be and I felt like a slug after I ate it. The next morning I really hit the boot-camp workout hard.

Informer: Have you ever had a moment in your life where you just thought - "I don't like the physical shape I'm in and I need to do better?" And what would you say to people who are feeling that they're destined to be a certain weight for the rest of their lives and there is nothing they can do?

HF: Yes, the first time was in high school. I was a fat kid, but wrestling and lifting weights really made me see the potential to change. As a former television anchor, I sat a lot. That didn't help either. I started to gain weight. I also quit smoking on November 13, 2001 and I gained more weight because I began eating more.

If you don't have a medical condition that makes you overweight, then start slowly with your diet and exercise, but start! Get it in! Get it done! You can change you, but you have to be focused, you can do it, you just have to have the desire.

Informer: You have children. What do you tell them about the importance of eating well?

HF: My daughter is a Type I diabetic. She's 13 years old a very healthy eater. She has to be. She is aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. She's still a child and isn't always happy about goodies she can't eat, but I'm so proud of her. She has great will power. She counts her carbs, tests her blood and injects her insulin three times a day. She's a great role model for children and adults.

Informer: Obesity has reached epidemic proportion in the African-American community -- why do you think this is?

HF: Several reasons. Under-served communities still deal with food dessert issues. In other words, they don't have access to the healthiest foods or high quality grocery stores. That's a huge problem. I believe traditional "down home" soul food dishes are full of fat. Fat carries flavor in foods -- we love flavor. If that's what you grew up eating, that's all you know. That's all you eat. My family is from the South.

As a child I was an over-eater, from fried fatback in the morning to a plate overflowing with smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, greens, yeast rolls, dressing peach cobbler and pound cake. Oh LAWD shall I go on? That was just one meal at Grandma's!! Who can move physically after that?