“My weight yo-yoed up and down all my life until 2004, when I finally committed myself to getting it off,” says Mitch Segal, a now 66-year-old accountant from the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
What made him change? “One day I couldn’t fasten my size 42 pants. Also, my son was finishing his ROTC program to go into the Marine Corps, where everyone is very fit. And I didn’t want him pointing to his father and saying ‘He’s the fat guy over there.’”
Mitch’s weight at the time: 242 pounds.
Teamed up with others
“So I joined Weight Watchers and started going to the gym every day. Between May and November I lost 70 pounds. I was changing my diet and getting exercise. But having someone weigh me in at the Weight Watchers meetings every week was an important driver for keeping me on task.”
The difficult part, says Mitch, was keeping the weight off. “But right about that time smartphones came into use, so I got myself an app called Fat Secret. I use it to record everything I eat.
“I love the fact that I can scan the barcode on a can of food with my iPhone, and it shows up on my calorie counter. If we go out for Indian food, some dishes aren’t in the app, so I’ll find the closest thing. I don’t dissect every ingredient. That takes all the fun out of eating.”
The key to Weight Watchers is measuring portions. That works for Mitch. “I don’t believe that people stick to programs that say you can’t have this or that food anymore. There’s a great pizza place where I go hiking, so I bring one back home. I don’t deprive myself. I measure.”
In 2015, Mitch tightened up his eating and lost 10 more pounds. “I now weigh less than I did in high school.” But his strategy is the same. He weighs himself every day and uses a smartphone to track the calories he burns.
“I stop at the gym to do about two hours of exercise a day before work. I listen to podcasts to occupy my mind and learn something while I‘m on the treadmill or elliptical or rowing machine. On weekends, I try to hike near the Appalachian Trail. But I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.”
Two years after Mitch lost weight, at age 56, he gave himself a present. “I decided to trek to the Mount Everest base camp. I’ve been to Nepal three times now and been as high as 21,000 feet.”
Mitch’s keys to success
- Weighs himself every day
- Watches his food portions
- Tracks what he eats
- Teams up with others to keep him motivated
- Exercises regularly
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