Jerry Hayes begins the journey to get healthy, and invites you to join him

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - I’m on a journey to a healthier lifestyle. This week, I’m taking you along for my first visit with Kandess Anderson, a Huntsville Hospital certified registered nurse practitioner who'll be closely watching my journey to a healthier me.

Jerry Hayes, early in his career as a journalist

Jerry Hayes, early in his career as a journalist

Here’s my reality check. I'll never look like I did when I was 25 years old. But that's okay.

Father Time is catching up with me and he's kicking my you know what. Part of that is my fault.

I don't eat healthy. I eat too much. I don't exercise enough. I don't like the way I look. And I’m tired of the fat jokes.

It’s time to turn back the clock before it’s too late.

I’m working with Huntsville Hospital to live a healthier lifestyle by exercising more, counting calories and shedding pounds.

Kandess Anderson, a Huntsville Hospital certified registered nurse, checks Jerry Hayes' vital signs.

Kandess Anderson, a Huntsville Hospital certified registered nurse, checks Jerry Hayes' vital signs.

Kandess checked my vitals which included listening to my heart beat. She told me to just breathe normal. But that’s easier said than done when you’re overweight. And I am. I have never weighed this much in my life. I tipped the scales at 232 pounds, in case you’re wondering. And I know you are.

Several years ago, my daughters told me I needed to lose some weight. I smiled and told them I was the same size as Mark Ingram, Alabama’s Heisman running back. We were both 5’10” and 215 pounds. I knew that would get a reaction from them. It did. They told me Mark’s was muscle. Mine was fat. We laughed but it made me feel good knowing they were concerned about my weight gain.

So here’s the plan. At the end of my consultation, Kandess told me, “We're going to set you up with a wellness center so that you can get started on a regular exercise program and just monitor your weight over the next month.”

She’ll be keeping a close eye on me and says average weight loss should be one to two pounds a week. “Ideally, you could lose eight to 10 pounds in a month if you're really focused and doing well,” she said. So I should be lighter the next time I see her. She said I should. I looked at her, smiled and said, “And if I’m not?” “Then we need to re-evaluate the plan,” she said. “Probably not more the plan than you are just non-compliant.”

The pressure is definitely on me.

Since our meeting, I am counting calories.  I'm not being obsessive about it but I am aware of what I'm eating and how much. Instead of eating two sandwiches for lunch, I'm eating one. I'm getting in 10,000 steps a day. And I’ll soon start doing workouts to get in more exercise.

Many of you have commented on my Jerry Hayes WHNT Facebook page encouraging me. I appreciate that. And some of you have even shared what you're doing to get healthier. Tonight at 7:30, let's do a Facebook Live for about 10 minutes. I’ll answer your questions and tell you about almost falling off the wagon while I was in Nashville this past weekend.  Two words: donuts and tailgating!