An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

My goal to be Pope's "Biggest Loser," Week 6

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jon LaDue
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The final weigh in for the biggest loser competition is a week from today. As of Wednesday morning I was 206.5 pounds. I would like to be down to 198 pounds by the end of the competition. That would mean a total weight decrease of 25 pounds which, in my opinion, seems to be somewhat surprising but an impressive feat nonetheless. But, I'm not there yet, and I realize that I need to have my most disciplined and physically productive week yet.

I decided this week to become more educated on the do's and don'ts of eating and dieting. I went to the Balancing Nutrition class at the Health and Wellness Center located in the Pope Fitness Center. The class was very informative and I walked away with more in-depth knowledge of the foods I eat, perspectives on many of the current fad diets floating around and a better understanding of just how I need to lose weight.

Since I am almost two months into my diet I was already familiar with some of the things that were discussed. Even so, it was nice to hear the instructor, Pope Health and Wellness Dietician Kimberly Schorn, sum up the same dieting process I'm going through, talk about some of the foods that I've managed to eliminate from my cupboards and stress some of the behavioral principles that I'm already following.

A key idea the class helped me realize is that even though some may not realize this, people don't diet necessarily to lose weight, but to lose fat. It was suggested that people shouldn't check the scale more than once a week. I actually laughed after the instructor said this because I hop on a scale at least five times a day. Judging from my laughter, Ms. Schorn said she can always tell who the frequent scale watchers are based on their reactions. Well, I admit it. I have been obsessed with the actual rise and fall of my weight since the competition started.

In hindsight I wish I would have gotten a beginning skin fold or body fat test done. These tests would show the percentage of body fat gained or lost instead of intangibles such as water weight. Ms. Schorn also recommended taking beginning measurements such as the neck, waist, legs and biceps. All of these can be accomplished at the HAWC.

Since I have started the Biggest Loser I have refused to do any kind of strength training. Even my physical training leader suggested that I do some sort of weight lifting. I told him that I want to get skinny before I attempt to "bulk up." As it turns out, my pride and stubbornness is only hurting me. I learned in the class that weight training builds lean muscle mass. I already knew that. What I didn't know was that lean muscle burns calories naturally and actually boost metabolism. I wish I would have known that earlier.

Much like I have come to realize through the past few weeks, metabolism isn't something that is necessarily passed down through genetics. Although hard to pinpoint, it is something that you can slow down or speed up if you choose. Ms. Schorn said the biggest mistakes people make in terms of their metabolic rate are to skip meals and eat too big of meals. Doing so can cause the body to become confused, store food when it doesn't need to and dramatically slow down metabolism. It's a good thing that I have learned the art of small meals, or "snacking," as I like to say.

I have managed to reduce my waist size to 36.5 inches down from 38. This may not seem too significant but it is really my desired target area for my weight loss. After all, it's not what I look like in my battle dress uniform that will make me self conscious this summer at the beach. How much fat remains on my stomach will determine how comfortable I feel in a new pair of board shorts.

You may be asking yourself, "How can a guy be that self conscious about his mid-section?" Well, without naming names, I have heard three different wives talk about their husbands at different times since I have been at Pope. I have been here for two years and worked at two different shops so I am not calling out any specific couples here. Among casual conversation I have heard coworkers comment to the wives about how the husband is handsome or cute. In all three instances, the wife came back and commented about the "pudge" on their husband's stomach. My wife works in the Pope clinic and talks to many different people throughout the day. This makes me wonder ... how many times has my "pudge" been referenced to strangers in casual conversation?

Of course if I were to ask my wife she would tell me what I want to hear, but the only way to control the situation is to lose the stomach fat.

I will do what I need to do to try and win this competition, but I am beginning to realize that aiming to be Pope's biggest loser should be more than a two month quest, but rather a lifestyle change that will carry me from each pair of board shorts summer-to summer.