Motivation Articles

Adventures in Weight Loss: Coach Dean's Story

140 Pounds Gone Forever


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

  • 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 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
    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
    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