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Name: Chris Pratt
Before Weight: 249 pounds
How I Gained It: The real reason is that I ate too much. There wasn't one thing in particular that was the problem, it was really the amount and not really being aware. The worst time of day was in the evening. I'm a computer programmer, so fun for me is to have a really gnarly programming challenge to work on. There were many evenings when I'd take an unopened bag of potato chips out to my office and an hour later be surprised when my fingers couldn't find any more in the bag. Sitting at the keyboard or plopped on the couch was not an uncommon position to find me in. When I did actually attempt to do something about my weight, I would occasionally go out for walks, but they were short and slow, and I was usually so proud of myself for exercising that I celebrated with some ice cream.
But there were extenuating circumstances: I had my thyroid removed due to cancer and am on a very large dose of replacement hormones. It wasn't until mid 2009 that my doctor led me to understand that, while thyroid hormones can rev up your metabolism, they do that fairly linearly (in other words, if you take twice as much, you burn twice as much). They also rev up your hunger, and they do that exponentially (or, if you take twice as much, you're four times as hungry).
Breaking Point: I was having more problems walking up a flight of stairs, reaching my own feet to tie my shoes. I was starting to have back problems, plantar fasciitis and sleep apnea. I had "given it the old college try" a couple of times and lost a little weight, but it never stayed off. Once I understood the problems that I was having with my hunger, I new that this wasn't something I was going to be able to do without help.
How I Lost It: I signed up for a medical weight management program through my healthcare program (which was unfortunately not a covered expense, even though it would have been if I would have gotten gastric bypass surgery instead) and bought my first BodyMedia device. I learned that monitoring how much you eat and how much you exercise is critical to success. Not monitoring is like deciding to walk from California to New York by just picking streets to walk down at random and hoping you'll stumble on it. The Web site that accompanies the device helps you track the calories you consume, and the device itself tracks the calories you expend (without you having to do anything but wear it). There was a time, about two or three weeks into wearing it continuously, where it started to irritate the patch of skin that it's always covering, but after less than a week that went away and I haven't had any problems since. I almost don't even notice the BodyMedia Fit device any more.
At first, I started out with slow, short walks (without the celebratory ice cream), but I've slowly increased both my duration and speed. Now I can walk up to seven miles at around 4.8 miles per hour without any trouble (other than really needing a cold drink). And I've added bicycling to my repertoire and slowly worked my way up to riding to work at least one day a week (30 miles round trip). After being out of breath and light headed walking up a flight of stairs, being slightly winded after riding 15 miles doesn't feel too bad at all.
I think I can safely say walking up a flight of stairs is no longer a problem! Tying my shoes isn't the problem, it's untangling them from my bike chain. My health is so much improved that I don't have to use the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea anymore.
I actually eat more frequently now, but the meals are much smaller, and I try to always be aware of what I'm eating when I'm eating it. A lot of my compatriots in the weight management program are into self-denial, they won't eat this or that on principal or because they're afraid of losing control if they do. I've taken the stance I like to call "Anything... in moderation". I still go out to fast food, but instead of the $6 burger and large fries, I'll get the BBQ Chicken Sandwich (grilled, not breaded) and the side salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I still eat potato chips, but I use our kitchen scale to actually measure out one serving and put the rest away.
I have been at my target weight for well over a year now, and I don't ever plan to go back.
After Weight: 155 pounds
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