Before: 241 pounds
After: 171 pounds
Dave Hall, a 51-year-old teacher and football coach, spends his summers at NFL training camp as an equipment assistant for the St. Louis Rams. Surrounded by athletes who must consume an outrageous number of calories daily (somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000) to fuel grueling 12-hour days, Dave fell into the habit of mirroring their diet. “For years I ate like I was burning the calories of a finely tuned professional football player,” he says. “I would eat until I hurt instead of until I was satisfied. And, as you have probably guessed, I wasn’t burning the calories.” Before Dave knew it, he’d swelled to 241 pounds. (Related: How NFL players stayed in shape during the lockout)
The Turning Point
On Christmas Eve, 2005, Dave saw that his brother, who had a similar body type, had lost 30 pounds. Two days later, he decided to join Jenny Craig.
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In the beginning Dave bought the the Jenny Craig meals, which helped him limit his calorie intake to between 1,700 and 2,000 daily. As his diet progressed, he was able to figure out on his own how much he should be eating. Now he typically consumes 6 small meals a day, integrating the program’s meals as some of his breakfasts, lunches, and desserts. When it comes to cravings, the self-proclaimed chocoholic uses 80-calorie brownies or low-fat chocolate milk to stave off his sweet tooth, and during training camp he sticks with the salad bar. (Search: Low-calorie desserts)
Dave also started running about 3 miles on the treadmill 6 days a week “While I was coaching I thought I was exercising more than I was,” he says. “I’d do a little jogging at football practice, but I wasn’t very committed.” Now he also lifts weights every other day. His routine consists of bench presses, squats, military presses and dead-man’s rows, all using dumbbells, because—unlike the bulky football players he trains—Dave lifts for fitness rather than strength. (Video: Try this at-home fat-blasting workout)
After his first week of lifestyle changes, Dave dropped 11 pounds, and he continued to lose 2 to 3 pounds in the following weeks. “I kept feeling better, and had more energy,” he says.
To stay on track, Dave weighs in every Saturday, which has helped him watch the pounds melt away. Spending time around professional athletes has also inspired him to stick to his plan: “These football players are like Ferrari engines. You don’t want to be the big, fat dumpy guy around them.”
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Once Dave started getting in shape, his aches and pains began to fade. “I didn’t know how bad I felt until I lost the weight. Now my knees and feet don’t hurt!”
He’s also seen other radical improvements in his health. His blood pressure has remained remarkably low, at 100 over 67; his cholesterol dropped by over 100 points within his first 6 months of dieting and now hovers in the 140s. “My doctor was amazed. He took me off my cholesterol medication and everything,” Dave says. (Related: The Best and Worst Foods for Your Cholesterol)
Calories in, calories out. “There’s no secret to this, really. If you can devote 20 minutes to a treadmill a day and limit calories, you will lose weight!”
Come to terms with the fact that you’re overweight. For a long time Dave was in denial about how much he weighed, which prevented him from taking steps to get healthy. “You have to decide you’re overweight and realize you’ll feel better if you do something about it.”
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