2007-08-03 / Columnists

Eye On Physical Therapy

Commentary By Dr. Tim Rohrs, DPT

Since July of 2006 I have been on a program to lose weight and get into shape. Since then I have lost 100 pounds and about 14 inches from my waist.

Many returning patients have complimented me and want to know the details of how I did it. Around the time when people started noticing the weight loss, they would ask about my program and I learned a hard truth; but more about that truth later.

The first step I took was to get to the gym to work out at least five days per week. I get up at 5:30 a.m. and spend close to 45 minutes at the gym. Those first few weeks were HARD. I only spent 20 minutes in the gym and I thought that it would end like other "diets" I had been on; failure.

The bed was so comfortable on those mornings. I resolved to myself that even if I did not do one single exercise in the gym, that I would get up and go to the gym. If at that point I decided that I didn't want to work out that day, then I wouldn't have to, but I would get my big old butt there.

Do you know what happened? When I got up and dressed and drove to the gym, it seemed silly to just sit there, so I worked out anyway. I use that trick to this day. In the one year I have been going to work out, there has only been one day that I didn't exercise. It actually turned out that I was getting sick. I got up, went to the gym, sat on the bike for 10 minutes, pedaled a few turns and went home.

I used an exercise trick that I use with my patients on myself. I made it super easy in the beginning and then slowly added time and resistance.

My first exercise session included 15 minutes on the treadmill at five percent incline and 2.7 mph. Over the months I would add a percent or two to the incline or speed up the treadmill.

I now do 30 minutes at 4.1 mph at eight percent incline. In addition to the cardio, I do strength training with weights.

Many people who ask how I did it want to know about my food program. Since I am not a licensed nutritional counselor I will refrain from getting into details. I will tell you that I took a clue from people who have had the stomach surgery. When I finally decided to get serious about losing the weight, I had been contemplating having one of those surgeries.

To tell the truth, I am a big sissy and could not really consider it; I hate surgery! I had heard that post surgery, they drink meal replacement shakes, since they are not allowed to eat whole foods. I figured if I could eat like I had the surgery, but not get the surgery, maybe I would have the same results.

I used the Slimfast drinks and EAS brand, "Edge" drinks. I counted calories. For me I did not care where those calories came from. I picked the maximum amount of calories that I could ingest in one day and stuck to it. If I was allowed 800 calories for that day, one day I might have 4 Slimfast drinks at 200 each or 3 drinks and a small bag of Doritos at 180 calories. If you want to change your eating habits, my biggest revelation is stop eating out; no restaurants, no fast food and no delis. Restaurant portions are grotesquely huge, the nutritional information from fast food places are often incorrect due to teenage employees who do not make the food correctly or portion it correctly.

The truth is that when I have spoken to people about my eating and exercise plan, they reply with comments like this: "Weren't you hungry with so little food?" "Didn't you get tired from waking up so early?" I replied YES I sure was hungry and tired. There is no magic bullet. You will never find the magic pill that will magically take away your hunger. Stop looking- it is not there.

If you want to lose weight YOU WILL BE HUNGRY, but its ok. When I was hungry at night, it was hard to fall asleep but I talked to myself and said that that hunger is from my body breaking down the fat and using it for energy.

If I had hunger pains that meant that my program was working; soon I looked forward to having those pains. The sad truth is that when people hear my program they get a dejected look on their face and some are even honest enough to admit that it is too hard for them. They were hoping I held the key to some secret weight loss program that would make it easy and pain free. Sorry to disappoint, but as with many things in life, hard work and dedication are the keys. Have a happy and healthy summer!

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