Ann Arbor Featured Client for Sept 2010

Post by: Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Trainer

Manager of Ann Arbor CMF

I want to take more time to give proper recognition to those clients, here in Ann Arbor, who have met or are on their way to meeting their goals.  One in particular, David Fry, shared his story with me this month.  David is the perfect example of how dedication and the proper mind set will allow anyone to reach his/her goals.  Be inspired by his story, as I was. 

BEFORE:

I grew up in Pennsylvania in a family of overweight people. There was no appreciation for eating right or getting regular exercise. But even among my loved ones I stood out. I was an obese child who became a morbidly obese teenager, carrying 350 pounds on my 5′ 7″ frame by the time I entered college. My weight defined my life.

After my freshman year I put myself on a starvation diet of my own design. By eating less than 500 calories a day I lost more than 150 pounds in six months. This was an extremely stupid thing to do and some of my internal organs turned against me. But I was young and ultimately regained my health. I was thrilled with my new body and I lived the life I had always been denied. I was physically active throughout my 20s and kept my weight off with no particular effort.

In the mid 1990s I moved to Ann Arbor with my wife and started a new business. I resumed my bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyle as I focused on my work, and I started regaining my weight rapidly. But I kept telling myself, “It’s okay, I’ve lost weight before. I can lose it again when I need to.” Somehow I just never got around to it. Ten years later I finally had to deal with the consequences when a bout of severe dizziness and confusion led me to a local hospital. I weighed over 400 pounds and had extremely high blood pressure, with a host of other medical problems around the corner.

That scared me enough that I finally started to address my problem. Over the next few years I slowly lost 60 pounds by eating a little better and getting more physical activity. I didn’t really make progress, though, until my wife and I joined Coach Me Fit and began working out with Ann Marie Furlong. Even when I was young and active I never had done any structured weight training, so Ann Marie’s workouts were a new experience for me. I remember being so exhausted in the first few months that several times I drove home and fell asleep in the car in my garage before going inside the house. Ann Marie was the perfect coach for me. She challenged me to push harder each time, but she didn’t come on strong with a “drill sergeant” attitude. Some people respond well to that but it probably would have been counterproductive with me. I think a good personality match with your trainer is very important.

Over the next two years my physical fitness and stamina improved greatly but I only lost about 20 pounds because I still wasn’t watching my calorie intake. I used to joke that if they had an Olympics for people with a BMI over 50, I would do very well! Good health truly is about “fitness” and not just “weight loss,” but I still had face the facts about my diet. Late last year I signed up for a service called BistroMD that delivers frozen, pre-packaged meals to my home once a week. Starting right before Thanksgiving (great timing, right?) I began eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day while continuing my regular Coach Me Fit workouts. I also started using an iPhone app called “Tap N Track” to measure all the calories I ate or burned up through exercise each day.

The results were immediate. I lost 25 pounds through the holiday season, which encouraged me to stick to my diet. And the weight loss made it easier for me to workout so I was able to increase my physical activity throughout the winter. Ann Marie started giving me more challenging workouts at Coach Me Fit, and in the spring I rediscovered my old love of long distance road cycling, something I hadn’t done in more than 15 years.

Today I’m happy to report I’ve lost 100 pounds since November 2009. I’ve dropped eight clothing sizes, I’m no longer taking blood pressure medicine, and my cholesterol level is now well within the healthy range. But more than that, I can barely describe how much better I feel every day, whether I’m rushing through a crowded airport with heavy luggage, riding my bike to Brighton and back, or simply trying to fit into a seat at the movie theater. Obesity means making compromises with yourself every day, and I finally decided I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I know my struggle isn’t over. I still want to lose another 40 pounds or so but, even after that, good health is a lifelong commitment to smart food choices and regular physical activity. Coach Me Fit will continue to be a part of that for me.

I have two pieces of advice for anyone who’s facing similar challenges: First, don’t wait to get started on a healthy lifestyle.   As I learned, time is not your friend. Each week it just gets harder and harder to change bad habits, and you just find yourself farther and farther away from where you need to be. As they say, “when you find yourself stuck in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

Second, you don’t have to solve all your problems at once. Do you what you can, when you can. Each step forward is progress. You can see in my history that I rapidly lost a huge amount of weight when I was young, but I did it in an unhealthy way that didn’t really include a conscious change to my lifestyle. And so my weight rapidly returned. My current weight loss adventure has actually been multi-phased, lasting over five years. The people around me have noticed the big physical change in the last 10 months, but my brain started making the necessary adjustments several years ago.

If you’re reading this, that probably means you’re a Coach Me Fit client or thinking about becoming one. So then “Congratulations” on a great first step towards a healthier life!

AFTER:

Thank you for sharing your story, David.  Congratulations on all your progress.  I’m excited to see you reach more goals as you continue on this healthy living journey!!

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