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Motivation Articles  ›  Inspiring Stories

Adventures in Weight Loss: Coach Dean's Story

140 Pounds Gone Forever

-- By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert
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If you had told me six years ago that I’d be working for SparkPeople today as a fitness and weight loss coach, I’d have told you to see a psychiatrist and get some medication to help control those delusions of yours.

At that point, my weight was the highest it had ever been—somewhere over 370 (the max my doctor’s scale could register)—and my first complete physical exam in 10 years had just confirmed that I had type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, and compression fractures in my spine related to my excess weight. My problems with major depression and anxiety were already bad enough to put me on disability, and this news about my physical health didn’t exactly cheer me up. Honestly, my first reaction was to think: “It doesn’t really matter…I’ll probably be dead in a couple of years, and that’s OK with me.”

I was tired of dealing with my weight and all the physical limitations it caused. I was worn out from putting so much energy into hating myself and my life. Even though I had already quit smoking three packs a day and beat my 12-beers-a-day drinking habit, I was very sure that nothing would change my compulsive eating. I’d lost weight many times before with exercise and diet, only to see it all come back—and more. Now I could barely walk, much less do the exercise the physical therapist kept talking about. Now that my kids were grown and out on their own, it seemed that eating was often the only thing that could get me through the day. Take away my daily trip to the bagel shop downstairs for chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies and a large soda, and I might not get out of bed at all!

Well, things have changed a lot for me since then. I’m about 140 pounds lighter and I’m keeping the weight off. My blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure are under control without medication, and most importantly, I’m feeling pretty good about myself and my life. Here's how it all happened…

One Step at a Time
When I started my journey, I hadn’t heard of SparkPeople or "fast break" goals, but that's exactly how I started, by focusing on two things. Diet-wise, I decided to limit my saturated fat intake to less than 15 grams per day. My normal diet included a lot of high-fat items: pizza, sausage, bacon double cheeseburgers, cookies and candy bars—you name it. Reducing my saturated fat intake meant finding substitutes for most of what I had been eating. As it turned out, this solved quite a few other problems with my diet too, including my total calorie intake.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • Thank you, Coach Dean. This is one of the best success stories I've ever read. I'm so glad you decided to go on this journey and share it with us.I appreciate your honesty and I really appreciate all that you bring to SparkPeople! - 6/24/2014 1:09:30 PM
  • Coach Dean,

    Thank you for sharing your story - your story has inspired me as I have made it my goal as well to maintain a healthy weight. What a challenge it IS to figure it all out ...to personalize it to fit "your" life. I can relate to your story all too well. LOVED your article!
    btw - I have always hated those gym mirrors too. Lol! - 2/17/2014 7:30:07 PM
  • Wow, I loved reading your story. It was motivating and inspiring to say the least. Keep up the good work. - 2/17/2014 3:28:19 PM
  • RITAVESPA
    My favorite line, "I felt like a whale in a pool of minnows". Yep, I get that! - 2/17/2014 9:14:40 AM
  • Thanks for sharing your story. It's proof that if I never give up, no matter what obsticles I have to overcome, I will reach my goal. "Thank You"! - 1/27/2014 1:26:42 AM
  • Love your article. Very inspiring. - 9/12/2013 5:48:33 PM
  • FABULOUS555
    Thank you for sharing the story of your weight loss. I was searching for some motivation, and your story helped. It was a great reminder that there are often obstacles along the way, and that they can eventually be overcome. Bravo to you on your success. - 8/11/2013 3:13:06 PM
  • Really needed to hear a story like that today! Thank you! - 7/25/2013 5:12:09 AM
  • This is a very inspiring article. Thank you for sharing it. I can relate to SO much of what you say here. Thanks! - 7/24/2013 8:29:33 AM
  • Thank you - it really helps me to read your story! - 7/3/2013 11:33:32 AM
  • I loved this article. So inspiring. - 6/1/2013 12:39:05 AM
  • Beautiful article love your spark and enjoyed reading this!!! - 5/18/2013 1:23:38 PM
  • I really enjoyed reading this article, and learning about the adjustments you made at each stage - very interesting. Thank you for sharing it here for us. I have found a lot of the Spark behavioural articles very helpful. - 4/14/2013 4:17:22 PM
  • Inspiring and honest. Thank-you. - 3/6/2013 5:26:59 PM
  • I just finished reading your story, and want to congratulate you and thank you for sharing your journey. I often just scroll through the pages to get the points, but read every word that you wrote. I especially understood what you said about using the weight as an excuse for not doing things.. I think a lot of us are afraid of the changes weight loss will require us to make in our lives. Thank you again, and very best wishes for the future. - 1/3/2013 12:00:30 PM