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Kerry Arnett: Commitment to Transformation

Eating because you feel depressed or tired? That's what Kerry used to do, until he discovered that walking is much better medicine than food.

Imagine spending the first half of your life overweight—so overweight, in fact, that you put yourself at risk of an early death. Then imagine spending the second half of your life at your ideal weight and physically fit! That's the transformation Kerry Arnett, 53, of Nevada City, Calif., is determined to make. I asked him a few questions about the undertaking.

  • What was your starting weight? Where are you now? A year ago (in 2003), the scale reached 312. My goal is 190. I'm still working toward this goal and still exercising.
  • How did you acquire the extra weight? Years of overeating and underexercising. My family had a pattern. If we were happy, we ate. If we were sad, we ate. With the exception of my oldest brother, the other four siblings have battled weight all our lives. My mother had type 2 diabetes, as does one brother. I take medicine for hypertension and have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Fear of living out the rest of my life in poor health or dying young triggered the change.
  • What is the impact of going public? I cannot back out or give up. My feet are held to the fire. People are watching to see if I succeed. I have tried and succeeded at many things in my life, but never weight loss. When I succeed, I'll know in my heart there's nothing I can't do.
  • What eating changes are you making? I drastically reduced carbohydrates. I'm very careful about what and how much I eat. I eat fruits and veggies every day and plenty of fiber. I eat more salads when dining out. I eat a wide variety of food but in smaller amounts. I eliminated diet soda and caffeine. I drink eight to 10 glasses of water each day. I'm also much more aware of little temptations, such as cookies or candy.
  • And for exercise? Walking, walking, walking. We have a treadmill at home and several outdoor routes in town and in the hills. During the week, I try to walk two miles a day and four miles on the weekend. Char, my lovely wife of more than 25 years, is my walking partner.
  • What changes have you noticed? I look forward to walking. I sleep better and wake up more refreshed. My body doesn't ache as much, and my joints seem to work more smoothly. It's easier to get up from chairs and sofas. I feel better about myself, knowing my success may help others.

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