I used to think a 100-pound weight loss was really something. But in the past three months, without necessarily setting out to do so, I’ve interviewed three people who’ve each lost at least 200 pounds.
All three either live in the Fort Wayne area or – in the case of Brittany Horton, the subject of today’s “Adventures in Food and Fitness” column – grew up here. So unless this is some kind of anomaly, weight loss in the 200+ pound range is becoming more common.
Maybe that isn’t surprising, given current obesity levels. Has there ever been a point in history when we’ve pushed the envelop on how much weight the human body can possibly carry? Looking at Brittany’s “before” photo, I never would’ve guessed she weighed in at 386 pounds. (Neither did she; she had no idea how much she weighed back in 2012 when she was denied health insurance due to her size.) As a 5-foot-11-inch woman who always worked hard to dress nicely, she carried her weight pretty well.
While not everyone accumulates that much excess weight, the fact is most Americans take in more calories than they burn. Few succeed in fixing the problem. Given the long road that lies ahead for someone who’s 200 pounds overweight, there’s something truly noble about embarking on and then staying dedicated to such a quest. Phil Brenneman shed his 200 pounds in 15 months or so, but it took Brittany three years and Annie Giddens seven.
None of them used a liquid diet or any kind of fad program. All three continued to tweak their approach as it became easier for them to exercise and as they learned more about nutrition and their own food issues.
Interviewing Phil, Annie and Brittany provided me with tons of inspiration but also specific takeaways.
*In Phil’s case, it was how he deals with being tired when his alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. He said he knows his body will respond even if his mind is tired, so he doesn’t really dwell on fatigue. He expects to be tired and groggy. But he knows his body will feel better at some point during the workout, and ultimately he will have a better day because of it.
*With Annie, I was struck by how she’s gotten focused on her body fat percentage and not just her weight. She still weighs herself everyday, but what really motivates her in her CrossFit workouts is getting her body fat percentage where she wants it to be.
*With Brittany, the first thing you notice is how toned her arms and shoulders are for somebody who’s lost 208 pounds. Like Annie, she’s a big fan of strength training. But the key tip she always passes on to those who ask her for advice is to “not be too hard on yourself if you mess up.” Lose the guilt, and just get right back at it is her motto – ideally by the next meal, but no later than the next day. No exceptions.
All three of these guys are fantastic role models, whether you’re looking to lose a little bit of weight or A LOT.