Almost a year ago, age 50, I started a weight loss contest with my employer. This was in February, 2009 and my beginning weight was 357.4 pounds, the most I had ever weighed in my life. The contest was for four months and I thought, “What the heck” and decided to give it a try.
For the first month, I was not that loyal and was amazed that I actually lost 11 pounds by eating a little less and making better choices, and doing a lap or two on the treadmill a couple of times a week. Keep in mind that I got a bit of a workout just taking the clothes off my coat rack (oops, I mean treadmill). I cut out my daily breakfast of sausage, eggs, cheese, and toast and started eating oatmeal instead.
Our team was in 26th place, which was amazing to all of us. Now, I’m not the health nut type guy, nor did I believe in eating rabbit food, i.e. salad, but after losing 11pounds and heading into my second month, I took it a little bit more seriously. My wife made salads that were appealing, very tasty, with tons of different vegetables and nuts, chunks of meat and small amounts of cheese (which is the stuff I really like)! My treadmill got a little bit more of a workout, about four times a week, and I started doing the elliptical, 400 steps. I still have morning start up pain in my joints but now it seems I have grown immune to it and keep my workout going further and further. Our team was in 19th place.
Beginning the third month of the contest I had lost another 20 pounds and was energized to work even harder. Lunch was usually a salad of some type. When I felt hungry during the day, I chose a piece of fruit and found that it also curbed my urge for sweets. I increased my treadmill time to one-and-a-half miles a day, my elliptical remained at 400 steps, and I added some weight lifting. At the end of the third month of the contest, I had lost another 22 pounds and our team was in 11th place.
During the last month of the contest I found myself “cheating” and going downstairs and exercising in the evening as well, instead of “cheating” by eating.
I do believe that weight loss starts with a proper mindset and exercise. The competitiveness with fellow employees helped me get the proper outlook. At the end of the fourth and final month of the contest, I had lost another 25 pounds, for a total weight loss of 77.4 pounds. My team ended up placing fifth place company wide, first place regionally, and first place locally.
This contest has been very competitive for both my wife and I. She has lost about 50 pounds. My employer decided to start another contest in July. I decided to join the new contest in hopes of winning first place and purchasing a new treadmill, since mine is getting worn out. At this point, I’ve lost an additional 26 pounds, bringing my weight to 248 pounds. That’s a total of 109 pounds off in the last nine months. I do believe that losing weight was the easy part, but keeping it off will be the true challenge. My employer established a maintenance program, which I signed up for, because I do not want to gain my weight back.
Written by: Howard H.