Name: Richard Gorton
City: Walnut Creek
During my freshman year of high school in 1982, the football coach told me, "We'd like you to play varsity next year." Eagerly, I accepted his offer, even though it meant bulking up.
I quickly went from 163 to 175 pounds. After three years of football, I never dropped that additional weight. In fact, as I entered my mid-30s I actually added a few pounds despite daily workouts.
In 2001, a doctor told me that my BMI was too high (the body mass index that uses weight and height measurements to determine body fat). "You're overweight, and you're bordering on obese," he said. It was like getting hit with a brick. "What do you recommend I do?" I pleaded weakly.
"Don't gain any more weight," he responded gruffly.
For two years I complained vehemently about that cranky old doctor. He was basing his whole diagnosis on one measurement.
I told my new doctor what the previous doctor had said about my BMI. She explained that I would remain healthy even though my BMI score indicated I was overweight. She added, "But nobody's stopping you from losing weight if you want to."
Her words were a gentle challenge that made me consider losing weight for the first time.
At that time I weighed 178 pounds. I decided to focus mostly on portion control. I served myself less food, ate more slowly and resisted going back for seconds.
When my weight dropped to 175 ½, I was astonished and motivated at the same time. Day by day, I kept with my program and continued to watch the weight drop little by little.
My strategy was to continue shedding additional weight a half-pound at a time. The more weight I dropped, the better I felt. I had newfound energy to swim, walk my dog and work in the garden.
Over the next few weeks, I dropped to 159 pounds, less than I weighed as a high school freshman, so I decided to set my ideal range at 159 to 163 pounds.
My weight has remained there for 10 years. Around the holidays, I gain weight beyond that range. That reminds me to go back to smaller portions and slow down on the eating.
I currently have a demanding job and a child with special needs, so I don't have time for workouts at the gym. I do a simple 15-minute workout each morning focused on core strength and flexibility. I walk my dog and go for hikes whenever time allows. I eat mostly natural foods that contain a lot of fiber.
At 46, it feels great to chase my dog on the beach, or to be able to catch a Frisbee at a full sprint. Besides, who needs the voice of cranky old doctor stuck in their head?
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