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I Told My Extra 42 Pounds To Take A Hike

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

John Steward thought he was a healthy kind of guy.

John Overweight He ate whole grains and low-fat food. He ran on a regular basis. He worked as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. Yet, none of these things seemed to keep John from gaining weight. (That's his BEFORE shot at right -- not bad, but not what John wanted.)

"I think there was a lot of denial," he tells eDiets. "I wasn’t paying attention to the scale. I felt I was leading an active life and paying attention to my diet -- in the sense I didn’t eat red meat every meal.

"I reduced my fat intake where I could substitute vegetables and whole grains. But I didn’t pay attention to the other part of it, which was the total amount of food I was taking in."

"I think men like me kind of deny what happens to their body over time. They just aren’t observant to what’s happening to their body and their health. We like to think of ourselves as 25, eating and drinking anything we want. But over 25 years or so, it catches up with you."

At 5’11" and 224 pounds, the Georgian who works at the Centers for Disease Control never gave his weight a second thought. But then last fall during a family vacation to the Grand Canyon, reality came calling.

While he had no problem hiking to the bottom of the canyon, John couldn’t participate in every activity. There was a 200-pound weight restriction for anyone who wanted to ride the mules. Our 48-year-old featured eDieter was forced to sit this one out.... and that prompted the realization he needed to do something about his weight.

There was another factor weighing heavily on John: his annual work physical. At the weight he was when he turned to eDiets for help, John was 10 pounds over the maximum for his job. His job wasn't in jeopardy -- and he could still fit into his uniform -- but John faced the frustrating fact he would no longer be allowed to respond to natural disasters and emergencies.

"I never thought of myself as a heavy person," John notes. "I had always pictured myself as physically active. My wife Patricia and I had watched what we ate for a long time. Nonetheless, the scale didn’t lie."

John Lost 42 Pounds The public health official was lacking the structure and guidance of an effective weight loss program. Then, while surfing the net one day, John came across an eDiets banner and never looked back. It was the pounds-shedding solution he'd been searching for.

"Just like the general public, people in public health struggle with all sorts of lifestyle issues," John says. "It’s a hard thing for us too."

John’s biggest issue was portion control. Sure he was eating healthy foods. But he would often eat them to excess. That’s where eDiets came in. Thanks to the weekly menus and meal plans, John became aware of proper portion sizes. In no time John became a slimming superstar, dropping 42 pounds in just nine months. Today, hes fit and fabulous at 182 pounds -- and he's still on the losing track, determined to whittle away another 10 pounds.

In his quest to reach and maintain a healthier weight, John was disciplined. He started each day with a hot cereal breakfast. For lunch, he would cart a frozen entree to work. When it came time for dinner, John, his wife Patricia and their 14-year-old son Andrew would feast on the tasty eDiets recipes.

By taking the diet walk with her hubby, Patricia has dropped an impressive 25 pounds, too!

John says he's never felt deprived. The Stewards still dine out as a family, only less often. When they eat at a restaurant, John and his family make healthier choices, share portions or cut them in half and take the leftovers home for a second meal.

It is such health-conscious decisions that have helped John shrink from 224 to 182 pounds in less than a year.

After revamping his diet, John turned his attention to a fitness program. A seasoned runner for more than 20 years, John had been running up to 45 minutes four times a week. Instead of relying on his old regimen, he kicked it up a notch, joining a fitness center and adding weight training three times a week.

John had all the motivation he needed to stay the course. He'd agreed to go backpacking in New Mexico with his son’s Boy Scout Troop. The difference between the June excursion and the hiking trip last November was the extra 30 pounds were now on his back rather than on his body!

"I wasn’t thinking whether or not I could do it, but how well I could keep up with 14- and 16-year-old boys," John recalls. "Losing this weight prior to the backpacking trip made me feel more confident and I completed the backpacking trip much more enjoyably than I would have otherwise.

"Serious backpackers worry about something as small as the weight of a toothbrush handle. If you’re worrying about a thing like that, it doesn’t make much sense to have 40 pounds around your waist.”

John's original weight loss goal was 20 pounds. He's gone above and beyond the call of dieting duty.

"Frankly, I’ve exceeded my expectations. I said I wanted to lose 20 pounds so I wasn’t anywhere near obese, but I actually surpassed that and have taken 20 years off."

John knows there are plenty of other men and women who can benefit from eDiets.

"Get on the scale," he advises. "Take a look in the mirror and face the reality that you're not 25 years old anymore. You need some sort of help in improving your health and reducing your weight."

And John knows just the place where you can find it.

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