2022: The happiest and healthiest year


It would be easy to sit here watching the Rose Parade on television and rattle off a few hundred words in support of the whole “New Year New Me” mantra. You know, the most wonderful time of the year? The calendar gives us permission to break bad habits, start new routines and overall begin a more optimistic outlook on our particular journey.

You know the drill. I will spare us the details.

The good news is some of you reading this looking to ‘start a new’ will be successful. Hard work does work. The more realistic news is most of you may have the best of intentions, but it is only a matter of time before you fall back into old routines. It happens to all of us. Those crowds at the gym we will see this week?

“Sadly, most of them will be gone by March 1st.” is how a friend of mine put it.

That is what has motivated me this New Year’s Day morning to share some details of my personal journey. The way I see it, if I can reach-and motivate-a handful of you, then this time here will have been well spent.

My new year’s resolution actually started six months ago. It started with an out of the blue text message from a friend.

I hadn’t heard from Drew in quite a while. Drew Edmonds is a Savannah personal trainer and owner of FIT Gym on Wilmington Island. I’d worked with him in the past, but like I said, it had been maybe 2 years since we’d spoken.

“Let’s catch up!” he said. “How about breakfast next week?”

The timing could not have been any more perfect. We had just come out of the Spring, which is always an intense part of the television production calendar for us. What I do for a living is a dream job, don’t get me wrong, but eating and drinking for a living and running a business to boot is very hard work.

I didn’t like how I felt. I didn’t like how I looked. And while I was getting regular good news from my doctor, I always knew it could and should be better. I knew I could benefit from someone to talk to. Then Drew’s text came out of the blue.

I make a point of sharing the importance of that breakfast with Drew because any journey to better health should include someone you trust. Someone who understands what motivates you. Someone who knows and understands what your kryptonite is. It doesn’t have to be a trainer either. It could be your best friend, your spouse or your neighbor. The key is understanding that we all have weaknesses. We all can suffer from setbacks. Having someone to help keep you focused is so critical.

It is from my seat anyway.

Drew and I started working together on June 14th. I attacked the mission with unprecedented passion. For me anyway. I bought $20 worth of equipment to work at home and gave my wife’s dust collecting yoga mat more use than it had seen in a few years. Meanwhile, Drew’s FIT Gym is Savannah’s best boutique workout facility. It made it easy and enjoyable to go workout. I’ve enjoyed the sweats and the burns as much as anything I’ve done all year.

The results? While they are significant, they are also an incomplete work in progress. How much weight have I lost? I really don’t know. What I do know is how my clothing fits me. I’ve tossed more clothing into the Goodwill box since June than any point in the last 15 years.

On September 1st I bought two pairs of jeans in the same size I wore in High School. Today they are a smidge baggy. Drew measured me for muscle development and body fat purposes back in the Summer. We have yet to compare results. A watched pot never boils and I’m too busy cookin’.

My alarm has been set for 5:25am for months. I shaved 7 full minutes off of my time on the Savannah Bridge run last month and I have (no joke) registered to run the 2022 New York City Marathon. More on that another time. I turned 53 this year and have felt the best I’ve felt in 20 years.

Ultimately, that’s my journey and I’m lovin’ it. Yours will absolutely be different if you start one and I hope you love yours too. 

Before we go, I want to share three important pieces of advice. They are what I think are the three most important parts of the journey. 


 Obviously, right? Duh. My BIGGEST take away from the last six months is the fact that you will never outwork a crappy diet. I’ve lifted all the weights, run all of the miles and sweat all of the sweat. When my diet isn’t in line, I know it. My no-alcohol November was only moderately successful because I was absolutely guilty of using that as an excuse to cut a few corners with what I ate. That said, have the doughnut. Just keep it real otherwise.


I’ve taken my workouts everywhere I’ve gone. Florida, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Philadelphia or New Orleans. I’ve paid more attention to hotel workout rooms in the last 6 months than ever before in my life. Can’t workout? Go for a run. Can’t run on vacation? Put in a 3 or 4 mile walk. Slowed momentum while traveling is better than no-momentum. That leads to bad decisions on the diet side. The next thing you know? Huge set back. Speaking of...


You will eat something you shouldn’t. You will wake up and not feel like exercising. You will fall off the track for a few days. What’s behind you doesn’t matter. You cannot change it. What matters most is the next day. The next meal. The next workout. Once you string those together, you are on your way.

About The Author

Jesse Blanco

One of the most recognizable personalities in the Savannah/Hilton Head Island television market, Jesse Blanco is sometimes called "Savannah's Anthony Bourdain." His 'Eat It and Like It' show has become a major regional brand in the foodie world.
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