"I went from a 46 to 34 pant size and I no longer take blood-pressure medication. I feel like I'm 40!"
I entered the Coast Guard in 1967, and for the first 20 years of my 30-year career, I didn’t have any weight problems. The work I did was hard, so my weight stayed well within the required limits. In my last 10 years, however, I was assigned to a training command where all my time was spent in a classroom or traveling around the world to train others. I gained weight and found it hard to keep it off. Even though I exercised and tried to be active, my weight slowly increased. I started a walking plan and was able to stay within the required weight limit — but I was always at the top end.
When I retired from the Coast Guard in 1998, I weighed 212 pounds. As I moved from job to job over the next eight years, I kept gaining weight until I weighed in at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center at 256 pounds. My wife noticed and started to worry about my health. She also has a chronic disease, and I am her primary-care provider. It was becoming difficult to help in some areas. In January, I weighed in on my scale at 260 pounds. I knew it was time to start losing weight. I started on a self-developed plan and used Jillian’s DVDs, and by May when I went back to the VA Medical Center and entered their MOVE! national weight-loss program for veterans I had dropped 14 pounds and several inches from my waist. I combined parts of Jillian’s DVDs, her Web site, and the VA MOVE! program and created a program that really focused on improving my body and my mind.
I’ve had amazing results! I now weigh 190 pounds went from a pants size 46 to 34, I no longer take blood-pressure medication, and my doctor has reduced my diabetes-pill dosage to one-fourth of what it was. I started working again, but I don’t let that interfere with my workouts. I block off time on my calendar at work from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day so meetings cannot be planned. I walk, jog, or sprint in intervals for about 45 minutes and usually carry two 18-ounce water containers wrapped in 1-kilo wrist weights. I’ll stop at benches along the way and alternate sets of push-ups on one bench and then dips at the next. The people around me are very supportive and they constantly remind me if I am running late for my exercise period. They now EXPECT me to be gone and don't plan anything for me to do during that time, which motivates me to keep going and helps me make that change permanent.
Even though I'm 64, I feel as if I'm 40. I have gone from 29 percent body fat to 19 percent body fat in the past year, and I have a goal of 15 percent body fat. I have changed my priorities in life to reflect how I can better support myself and my family. In the past my priorities were God, family, and then me. I realized that I needed to have the order as God, me, and then family, because if I am not fit and able I could not properly support my family.
Best compliment: One of the military supervisors I had two years ago came back to participate in a retirement ceremony, and when I walked up to greet him, he did not initially recognize me. He said, "Don, is that you? You have changed so much that I didn't recognize you. You look really great!”
Activities now: I can now run, do sit-ups and pushups, and participate in team sports. I often do 5K fun runs for local charities, and every one gets easier and more fun. I plan to take the Army Physical Fitness Test twice a year so I can have a measured result to build and improve upon.
Advice for others: One of the biggest things I’ve done to change my eating habits is something that I discovered from a cooking show. They recommended cleansing your palate with water after having wine. I modified what they recommended, and I take a sip of water after every bite of food. Now each bite tastes almost as good as the first, and it takes longer to eat. As a result, I eat a great deal less and feel more full and satisfied. This also lets my body chemistry work the way it should and the hormones Jillian mentions in Master Your Metabolism have a chance to function the way they were designed to.
Don't let things going on in your life stop you from achieving your goal. Work with what you have. Work toward measurable goals. Just don't ever give up.
*Participants can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.