SIDEBAR: PREVIOUS WINNER OFFERS ADVICE
By DENISE FEDOROW
Arden Graber was named Nappanee’s Biggest Loser for 2012 and he offered advice for this year’s contestants.
“If you want to lose weight and keep it off it requires a lifestyle change — that’s how you got it in the first place,” he said.
“Before the competition I wasn’t exercising much, my job had become less physical and I was eating more fast food. It takes commitment to change how you eat and continue to be active,” he said.
During the competition Arden lost 22.4 pounds, “But I kept working at it and at one time lost a total of 30 pounds. Now I fluctuate between 26 to 28 pounds lost from the start of the competition.”
Graber said he was comfortable with that success and that he’s maintained more than he lost during the 10-week competition. He said he had to go out and buy new pants and shirt and he was surprised how much a difference 25 to 30 pounds made.
Graber said he used a meal replacement shake during the first three months for two meals a day, justifying the cost in what he was saving in not buying convenience foods, pop and fast food. He no longer drinks pop but he does still frequent fast food restaurants on occasion but he finds the healthiest options they offer — sandwiches with better bread or salads.
“I ate a lot of salads,” he said. “My wife asked if I was getting sick of salads, but I found ways to make it interesting, adding fruits and nuts and hard boiled eggs. Adding a lot of bulk made me feel full.”
Another piece of advice he offers contestants is for them to realize they may drop pounds quickly at first but at some point, it will slow down and that’s normal.
“I lost 10 pounds the first two weeks and then only 4 to 6 the next two. The people at Nappanee Health and Fitness told me as muscle starts to build you don’t see as much loss on the scales,” he advised the contestants to stick with it and don’t be discouraged.
Graber said he likes to run, but had stopped and now has more energy to do so again. “I can’t imagine running with a 25-pound sack and that’s what that extra weight was for me,” he said.
He joked when he saw the prizes for this year’s competition he was tempted to put the weight back on so he could join and lose it again.
Graber said one has to be committed to lose the weight and feel the benefits health-wise, have less medical expenses and feel good in the process. He commended the support given by those at Nappanee Health and Fitness.
“It was really neat to be involved with a group like that,” he said. “It was motivating and a lot of fun!”
Last year the competition started with 40 people and 30 weighed in at the end. They lost a total of 435.1 pounds — an average of 14 pounds per person or an average of 6.8 percent body weight.