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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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The other thing I focused on right away was walking. I set a goal of walking one mile each day, to the grocery store and back. To make sure I stuck with it, I never bought more than one package of whatever I needed, so I’d have to get back to the store within a day or two at most.

This small amount of walking was very difficult at first. My excess weight made it painful and very slow going. But after a few weeks, my muscles loosened up, I experienced less pain, and it started getting easier.

It took over two months for my weight to register under the maximum on the scale (370 pounds). So early on I developed the habit of looking for other signs of progress—my walking, my eating habits, my moods. For the first time, I started thinking that maybe I wasn’t doomed to be the way I was for the rest of my life, and that change really was possible.

Good News from the Doctor
The next stage in my weight loss began when my doctor said that all my lab results had improved so much (in just three months) that he held off prescribing medication to see if things continued to improve with diet and exercise.

Over the next several months, I worked with a certified diabetes educator to get my diet on the right track. I also spent some time in physical therapy, strengthening my ankles and legs. By the end of month six, my weight was down to 330 pounds, my lab results were still improving, and I was using the stairs to reach my third floor apartment several times per day. I had also found some healthy foods that I actually liked—berries and yogurt, oatmeal with strawberries, apple slices with just a bit of peanut butter and stir-fried veggies.

My First Plateau
For the next two months, I lost only five pounds. I had been steadily increasing my exercise—using a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes most days, walking and climbing the stairs—and I was sticking to my low-saturated fat diet. But the weight loss had just stopped, and it was really starting to get to me.

Up to this point, I estimated my calorie intake in my head, without actually counting or writing it down. After a few days of honest tracking, I saw that I was still eating almost 3000 calories each day, about 800 of which came from soda…and the extra spoonfuls of peanut butter I ate from the jar while making snacks. So, I traded in the regular soda for diet soda and water, and stopped dipping into the peanut butter jar.
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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