Friday, August 13, 2010
I recently visited with the editor of the Devils Lake Journal (our local newspaper) about an article for a project the Lions Club was doing. During our visit, she commented on my weight loss and asked me what I had done to have such success. That was all it took for me to start talking about my transformation. In a very short time she stopped ma and said, "we need to do a feature story. When can you come back so we can do an interview about YOU?"
The next week she called and we set it up.
It appeared on the front page (complete with before and after photos) on August 10. I have posted the article here with the permission of the Journal. Sorry the photos would not copy.
Since the article came out, I am getting all kinds of opportunities to "spread the Spark" since wherever I go people stop me to ask questions. Yesterday, a very nice man even came to my office with a large bag of nearly new clothes and said, "I read that you have an empty closet, so I thought you might be able to use some of these."
This has really been a great experience - and talk about motivating for me!!!!!!!!
I thought you might enjoy reading the article and seeing what moved me to make the changes I have done in the last 15 months.
Local man is half the man he used to be
By Louise Oleson, Editor
Devils Lake Journal
Posted Aug 10, 2010 @ 11:26 AM
Devils Lake, ND —
Gregg Oeder is a new man and he’s experiencing things he hasn’t experienced since he was in high school thanks to dropping nearly half his weight in 15 months.
The 58-year-old credits his weight-loss success to a weight -loss community he discovered on the Internet and some of his plain old competitiveness left over from his athletic youth.
Approximately 146 pounds ago Oeder had a doctor’s appointment with his personal physician, who is also a long-time friend. He laid it out for Oeder, more surgery was in his friend’s future because his joints were getting so bad.
Already he’d experienced two angioplasties and three stents, now his knees were really giving him trouble.
His doctor recommended bariatric surgery because he had been heavy for so long, “You’ll never be able to lose it on your own,” he told him.
Well that was all Oeder needed to hear. He set out to prove to his friend - and perhaps to himself, as well - that he indeed could do it.
Oeder was always on the heavy side, as a youngster, but throughout school he was into sports so that helped keep his weight down. “I was in pretty good shape for the most part,” he said. But it was after basketball was over and an injury to his knee caused him to have the first of what would be three knee surgeries put an end to his athletic career.
It also led to that “freshman 15” that many experience in college. “Heck, I wish it had been only 15,” Oeder said.
That’s when his weight really started adding up until he was at the point in May of 2009 where he could hardly walk around the block without stopping to rest, suffering from angina and bad knees that were only made worse by his 320 lbs.
“The orthopaedic surgeon my doctor friend referred me to said he wouldn’t do complete knee replacement for me until I lost some weight, so I got busy and went to the Internet and Googled ‘weight loss.’ Something I don’t recommend doing because I got millions of websites - what do you do with that?”
I scrolled through some of them and ruled many out because I didn’t want to spend any money and ran across the website called “spark people.”
Curious, he checked it out and found it to be the place that was just meant for him.
“It was everything I wanted,” he said. It offered menu plans, education about portion size, people to communicate with who are going through what you are and it was free,” Oeder said.
Their philosophy is “make little changes to get to a big goal” then when you reach it, add to it.
“It has changed my life,” Oeder said.
“My first step was finding the website, then I quit drinking pop and started drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.”
That was it.
His first steps to a new life.
After that he used a small stationary set of bike pedals where he could sit in his chair and ride as if he were riding a bike.
“I wore two of those out,” he explained. Then he started walking, that competitive drive he learned as a young athlete drove him to keep going, do a little bit more, a little bit more, and so on.
Now he bikes using a real bicycle or walks six days a week, two times a day, plus he does strength-building workouts.
“It’s addicting - exercise is, plus the positive reactions I get from people. And I’m having to take much less medication, that’s a real plus,” Oeder explained.
“I feel more confident, I have much more energy, my joints feel better and I just plain feel better,” he said.
The only draw back? His closet is empty because he’s had to give away all his 4X shirts and 48-inch waist slacks. And he’s not done yet, figuring he’s got about 24 lbs. to go.
“I’m only 5’5” and my goal is 150 lbs. - that’s the top end of the BMI for my height. I have about 24 lbs. to go to reach that,” Oeder admits.
But at only 14 more pounds he will have lost 160.5 lbs. and he will be exactly half the man he used to be when he began this journey.
“I’m not on a diet, I am changing my life,” Oeder said. “That’s different.”
When he reached his goal, how is he planning to reward himself? “It will probably be around Christmas so I am going to get myself a new bike and a new speedometer for that bike,” he said with a smile.
He realizes that his weight loss success is not typical, but like the website he swears by, Oeder now hopes his success will be a “spark” for someone else to find success, too.
In the meantime he’s heading home to do some cooking, which he has learned that he loves to do. Tonight he said he is making his own version of a pizza on a tortilla with barbecue sauce topped with turkey, pepperoni, ground turkey (cooked and seasoned), mushrooms, peppers and onions.
One of Oeder’s goals is coming soon, on Aug. 28 he wants to participate in the 5K walk for Alzheimer’s. “That’s pretty good for a guy who couldn’t walk around the block a year ago,” he said.
Oeder lives in Devils Lake and has been an optician at The Eye Clinic for 10 years.
Copyright 2010 Devils Lake Journal. Some rights reserved
Sunday, July 18, 2010
To most people going for a walk probably doesn't sound like a big deal. Well, I happen to disagree. A year ago, I wasn't able to walk to the end of the block without stopping because of pain in my knees and hips! Three months ago I could almost make it around the block. I was doing some bike riding, to get some cardio exercise, but I gave myself this "crazy" goal of RUNNING a 5K by my 60th birthday in October of 2011.
When I told a friend about my goal, she gave me a pedometer and I was off (very slowly). Two days ago I walked 2.66 miles WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!!!! OK, I'm not a marathoner, but I don't ever remember walking that far at one time in my life - and talk about slow! It took me 70 minutes, but that isn't the important thing to me. I DID IT!!!
On August 28 there is a benefit 5K run/walk here and I am going to enter. I know I will walk the entire distance and will probably be the last one to finish, but I WILL FINISH.
It feels great to take these small (slow) steps toward my goal for 2011!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
When I weighed in last week I read the scale as 188 pounds, a gain of 3 pounds from the 185 the week before!!! I didn't like it much, but wasn't really discouraged since I have been working hard on strength training and gaining muscle. Well, this morning I weighed in at 179! I have been working hard at staying on track, but I don't believe that I did anything different enough to drop 9 pounds in ONE week. I actually re-did it 3 times, with the same results. All I can guess is that last week I read the scale wrong and it should have been 183 instead of 188. Even a four pound in a week is unexpected, but possible.
Whatever it was is passed, and getting to 179 passes one of the goals I set early of losing 140 pounds (now I'm at 141 gone). I'll take that and just keep right on going!!!!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I have added two long term goals that I know will greatly improve my health!!! They also go hand-in-hand with reaching the one another.
1. Stop smoking (COMPLETELY) by July 1st. As the old joke goes, "I have quit thousnads of times", but this time I WILL be done for good! I will have a lot of help reaching this goal because of goal number 2.
2. I will be 60 years old in a year and 3 months. My birthday present to myself will be to run a 5 K race and finish. I have never run (or even walked) that far at one time in my life, so I'm sure I will be in for some very unique experiences along the way. Even as a high school and college athlete, I didn't get into that distance. Football coaches are far more interested in how fast you can run 40 yards than how far you can run.
I think I have a plan for working my way up to that distance; I plan to start out by walking and as I am able to increase the distance and intensity, gradually go to jogging intermitantly, then running only. I am shooting in the dark here, as I have absolutely no experience to rely on, but this seems logical to me.
If anybody reads this and has advice - PLEASE let me know!!!!!! I really welcome the help.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I had to share an experience I had yesterday at work. As an optician, I spend the day helping people with their eyewear, which includes fixing problems.
Yesterday a very nice lady (who I had never seen before) came to the office in need of a repair, which I was able to do quite easily. As I was cleaning her lenses she introduced herself as a new Doctor at the clinic where I go. Then she asked, "are you the one who they are talking about, who lost all the weight? They say you did it all by yourself."
Needless to say, I was more than a little shocked! All I could think of right away was to say, "ya, I guess that would be me." Real bright answer, right? LOL
She then proceeded to ask all kinds of questions about what I had done, how much I have lost, how long, etc. so she could "pass the information on to her patients". Of course, out came a "You Have Been Sparked" card from my wallet ( I always have some with me now) and I told her as much as I could considering were standing in the middle of the optical dispensery.
She thanked me for fixing her glasses and the information, said she would be back again, and left me with my mouth still open in surprise.
I guess what the Sparkguy says is true - you never know who your life will touch!
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