Motivation Articles

Adventures in Weight Loss: Coach Dean's Story

140 Pounds Gone Forever

By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert         
Page 4 of 5

My weight started dropping again—not as fast as before (only about one pound per week on average)—but at least it was moving down. A few weeks later, I noticed big improvements in my ability to handle the higher intensity exercise. In two months, I went from walking 30 minutes at 3 miles per hour with no elevation to walking 4 mph at 6% incline for an hour. I was even able to do 10-15 minutes on the elliptical and stair climber machines.

Too Much of a Good Thing
After a while, I had replaced my compulsive eating with compulsive exercise. I became obsessed with going faster and farther, and burning more calories during every exercise session. I started lifting weights, pushing myself to lift more and heavier amounts. It got to the point that I was spending two to three hours in the gym almost every day, another 90 minutes walking there and back, and the rest of my time being sore from overdoing it. I told myself it was the “good” kind of soreness.

This was great for my weight loss. Nine months later I was down to 195 pounds—less than I weighed in high school when I was in really great shape. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at all like I did in high school. My face, arms and legs looked almost skeletal, but I still had a spare tire around the middle—mostly loose skin that was hanging down, and some very stubborn love handles that apparently weren’t about to go away. People kept asking me if I was sick. I was fatigued and sore all the time.

It occurred to me that this might be a good time to start using some of the knowledge I had acquired from studying psychology on myself. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was using the compulsive exercise to push away a lot of worries I was having about not being fat anymore. The weight had been my excuse for a lot of things—not working full-time, not being involved in any intimate relationships, not trying very hard to figure out what I wanted to do and going for it. Now I had to figure out who and what I really wanted to be—pretty scary stuff for a guy who was already 55-years-old.

Achieving Balance
I decided to cut way back on the crazy exercise, calorie counting, and weight loss for awhile. I went back to school, thinking about becoming a dietitian, but decided that all that science was a bit much for me. I took some courses in exercise physiology and decided to get certified as a personal trainer and weight management consultant.
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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

  • I really learned a lot from your words. I seem to be stuck at the moment at not losing but it isn't really bothering me. I have been getting stronger physically and that pleases me the most. I enjoyed your journey to a better you and it has really helped me. Thank you for the time you put into writing this for the rest of us. - 3/21/2016 10:12:34 AM
  • Congratulations! Thanks for your honesty about your weight loss journey....I'm just starting out and love to read ther people's success stories. Who else can you learn best from?
    I have read many of your other articles and always find the elpful and interesting...tha
    nks again! - 3/15/2016 4:01:58 PM
    Congratulations, it was nothing short of sheer determination to make the necessary life changes. Continue to inspire! - 2/12/2016 9:37:07 AM
  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are certainly an inspiration to me! - 2/6/2016 8:23:39 AM
  • I absolutely love your story! Thank you so much for sharing it. After losing 82 pounds, I didn't find the girl I left at this same weight many years ago. My body has definitely changed, haha! On the other hand, it doesn't look bad and I feel so much better. - 1/21/2016 2:43:11 AM
  • I'm so glad I read your story. Your honesty touched me because I have had the same thoughts when I don't see the results I want or I go backwards. I also appreciated what you said about not being 20 anymore. We are bombarded by pictures of young people with washboard abs and huge biceps that are supposed to be inspirational to us but are totally unrealistic for many of us. It is great for us to be happy with who we are and not live in perpetual disappointment or discouragement that we don't look like those young models. You are an inspiration to me. Keep up the good work. - 1/5/2016 11:55:45 PM
  • Thank you for sharing your story. This sounds a lot like my journey except I made the wrong choice when reaching a plateau after losing over 100 lbs. I have in about a year gained 60 back and lost much of my fitness stamina. It is time to look forward and get back to where I was. I too was looking for the washboard abs, etc. and your article helped to realize that due to my age and health issues that limit my exercise choices this isn't going to happen. Your story was just what I needed to read today! - 1/3/2016 10:51:24 AM
  • Thank you for sharing your story! Needed that today :o) Blessings to you! - 9/1/2015 6:52:47 AM
    Thanks for your honesty. I am 60 and I need to realize I will never be 20 again. There is hope to begin my journey to reinvent myself. - 4/1/2015 8:20:02 AM
  • When I come across one of your articles, I always stop and read because I know there's always going to be somethng useful in there, but this is by far the article I most love!

    You are honest about the whole process, you talk about when and where you were failing and how you got over it, how long it take, what srategies you used. There's so much in here!

    THanks so much for sharing! This article is a keeper! - 2/19/2015 12:40:54 PM
  • I applaud your determination. You are an inspiration to all of us!!! - 2/9/2015 7:00:25 PM
    I am glad you have found wellness. You lost a lot of weight in a fairly short period of time and it appears you don't have any complications from it. You are lucky.

    I would suggest to anyone with a lot of weight to lose to get their livers checked regularly. I developed fatty liver disease and scarring of the liver due to a large and rapid weight loss. I am in danger of developing cancer because of it. I lost 90 lbs in one year and it destroyed my body. If I were to do it over again, I would go for a VERY S-L-O-W and steady weight loss of a max. of 1 lb per week. Being fat is very hard on your body, but so is rapid weight loss. - 9/9/2014 9:02:57 PM
  • Wow! What an accomplishment! You are a true inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    You are amazing! :) - 8/28/2014 9:48:30 PM
  • Thank you!!! You captured many of my self defeating thoughts and excuses and encouraged me today there is hope in change. - 8/28/2014 11:27:40 AM
  • 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

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