Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported which church Patrick Singh attends. He attends New Hope Church in Arroyo Grande.
This is a story about two neighbors. Both are inspiring — to each other, to their friends and co-workers, to people they haven’t met but who see them walking daily in their Pismo Beach neighborhood.
And neither wanted to be the focus of this column, instead pointing to their neighbor as the best example of how a life can be affected by healthy eating and long, daily walks.
The story starts about 25 years ago. That’s when Bob W. — who asked his last name be withheld, so he doesn’t receive too many phone calls — started power-walking after his doctor advised him that he better lose weight and focus on his eating habits. At that time, he weighed about 260 pounds.
Within about 18 months, he had dropped down to 150.
Bob, 70, and his wife moved to Pismo Beach about six years ago, and since then, he’s been power-walking a five-mile route up and down James Way, the main street near his home. Most days, he completes his route twice — often logging 50-mile weeks.
He takes Saturdays off.
And in the process, he’s become a well-known sight. Bus drivers wave at him, walkers stop him to talk.
That brings us to the second part of the story. Enter Patrick Singh, a restaurateur. Last December, he was the guy who “doesn’t look at anything green,” who ate large portions and weighed 230 pounds.
About that time, Singh’s doctor told him, pointedly, “If you don’t lose weight, you’ll be gone,” he recalled. “That scared the you-know-what out of me.”
Singh found his discipline, and his strength, from New Hope Church in Arroyo Grande. He realized his habit of overindulging in food and wine, and realized he didn’t need it.
Singh substituted yogurt for ice cream, started eating smaller portions of vegetables and chicken or fish, and started walking.
He started by watching his neighbor, and was careful not to overextend.
“When my body didn’t give up and die, I kept pushing a little further,” he said. Singh now walks three miles a day and hikes with his wife.
His weight has dropped dramatically since Dec. 17 — the day of his first walk — to about 182 pounds, and his blood sugar has significantly improved.
The two neighbors sometimes see each other while out for their daily exercise. They wave. And they hope that others who spot them might feel inspired too.
Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.