Sunday, October 02, 2005

100+ Pound Atkins Losers Have A Lot In Common

We all like reading about weight loss success stories because they can keep us motivated in our own weight loss efforts. When you've lost over 100 pounds on a low-carb plan such as the Atkins diet, seeing someone else do the same thing brings back a lot of memories.

This Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Patriot News story highlights the journey of a man who once weighed 500 pounds and how he has been able to lose 190 of it because of the Atkins diet.

Whew, this guy was a big boy! While I never got THAT big, my 410 pounds was bad enough. My friend Kent Altena can probably testify to the same thing as a former 419-pounder who has gotten down to 230 pounds. And we all remember the St. Louis, Missouri man named John Smith who lost an eye-popping 300 pounds in one year after getting up to 647 pounds. I have a sense of brotherhood with these and others who have been able to shed triple digits off their bodies because of the Atkins diet.

It's time to add another name to that list.

Gordon Weise, a 49-year-old 5' 11" news reporter for WLBR-AM adult contemporary radio station in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, has been livin' la vida low-carb for the past two years after topping out at a quarter ton, or 500 pounds, in 2003. In the mid-80's Weise only weighed 250 pounds, but he allowed his weight to get out of control over the next two decades by failing to get any organized exercise and by regularly gorging himself on foods such as pizza, ice cream, and doughnuts. I remember those days.

Interestingly, Weise said he never wanted to go the route of risky gastric bypass surgery, but would have considered it as a final option if the low-carb lifestyle didn't work.

That's exactly what I said. I had tried so many diets that failed me over and over again, getting on the Atkins diet was my last straw. If it didn't work, then I would have followed the path my mother took in December 2003 to have the weight loss surgery done. Thankfully I did not have to do that because I did it the natural way -- through healthy low-carb eating and lots of exercise.

Something else I have in common with Weise is what our doctors told us about our morbid obesity. While I never had the "severe sleep apnea" problems that Weise had, I was forced to take breathing medication because my weight was bearing down on my body hard. But within just a few months of low-carb living after quickly shedding nearly 100 pounds, I was able to stop taking the breathing medicine for good! WOO HOO!

Weise's life has changed dramatically since he lost the majority of his weight and he is still in the process of losing. Now that he can move around better than he used to, he is able to begin incorporating exercise into his low-carb lifestyle which will kickstart him into another level of weight loss and improved overall health. I've been there myself and know how important exercise is to weight loss and weight maintenance success!

Although he still weighs more than 300 pounds, Weise is committed to the low-carb lifestyle to help him keep the weight off for good this time. But, like me, he doesn't adhere to the theory that this is the only way for people to lose weight.

"My role is just to give a message that no matter how bad it gets there is hope, there is something you can do, and there is a plan out there that will fit your needs and enable you to reach your ultimate goal," Weise said.

Absolutely! If low-carb isn't for you, then DO SOMETHING. That's the main point that people need to hear. Stop making excuses and get on with it already.

But just as I found with programs like the Atkins diet and low-carb, Weise admits that it was easier for him to stick with it than any other approaches such as low-fat, low-calorie, and portion-controlled diets.

"They say that eating fat sates the appetite, and I found that to be true. I was able to eat stuff, and slowly but surely I was eating less and less."

Weise's incredible weight loss success was what prompted him to be named the honorary chairman of the "Choose Your Weigh(t) To A Healthy Lifestyle" program sponsored by the Community Health Council of Lebanon County (PA). Ten of the most motivated people will be chosen to participate in this free 5-month weight loss campaign to be observed by the general public.

Everyone involved will have the support they need to reach their goals from the one-on-one personalized counseling, gym memberships, and more so they can be as successful as they can be. The organizers want people in the community to see how easy it can be to make the changes necessary to control your weight for the rest of your life.

They will choose the finalists by November who will begin their program in January 2006. They will meet twice a week once it gets started and will even field questions from people in their community regarding every aspect of their weight loss experience.

Because of the success of television weight loss shows such as NBC's "The Biggest Loser," the organizers of this effort believe this will make a real difference in their area. In fact, this is something that is advocated in the upcoming release of "The Biggest Loser" book coming later this month.

Obesity rates are continuing to go up and up as we know all too well. We need more communities to step up to the plate to be creative like this so at least there is an acknowledgement of the problem and to increase awareness of the severe consequences it poses. Many people may not realize the impact obesity has on healthcare costs which puts a severe drain on the economy. If we can get people to think about how their weight problem is not only hurting themselves but also affecting the people around them, then efforts like these in Lebanon County, PA will not be done in vain.

People like Weise are the ones who should be applauded by being an real-life example for others to see that it can be done. I am amazed by the feedback I receive from people every single day who tell me how my 180+ pound weight loss has motivated them to lose weight or to continue on in their weight loss when they felt like giving up.

If God allowed me to overcome my obesity problem thanks to the low-carb lifestyle, then why should I remain silent about it? That's why I created this blog and wrote my book. People want and need to be encouraged to do something, ANYTHING, to get their weight under control and I believe it is my duty as well as all the other weight loss success stories out there to tell everyone we can that it can happen for them, too!

"As honorary chair I'm going to cheer these people on and give them all the backing I can to get on with what they need to get done," Weise said.

YOU GO BOY! Tell 'em livin' la vida low-carb will be the best thing they'll ever do in their life to tackle their obesity! It can be a radical, life-changing experience if you make it a commitment for the years you have left.

Unfortunately, I do not have an e-mail address for Gordon Weise, but you can contact the author of this column by e-mailing her at or you can call WLBR radio on weekday mornings from 5:00-11:30 EST at 717-272-7651 to speak directly with Gordon.

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