The Numbers Are In

It has been a month and a half since my final Weigh to Wellness appointment. Over the 26 week program, I lost a total of 82 pounds and took 15 inches off my waistline. (A Weigh to Wellness record, I was told!) A body scan completed at the ’79-pounds-lost’ mark revealed 77 of the pounds lost were fat, 1.5 pounds were water and only half of a pound was muscle. My lean muscle index actually increased slightly during the diet. Other stats include:

  Sep-11 Mar-12
Weight 262 180
Circumference 52 37
BMI 39.8 28.4
Blood Sugar   Normal
Cholesterol 291 216
Triglycerides 127 78
HDL (good) 39 56
LDL (bad) 227 144
Heart Risk 7.5 3.9
Pant size 40 32-34
Suit Jacket Size 50 44

While these statistics speak volumes, other benefits cannot be quantified but are equally tremendous:

  •  I can bend over to tie my shoes. No need to put my foot up on something or engage in other gymnastic maneuvers to get them tied.
  • I can go from sitting on the floor to standing by simply standing up instead of crawling to find something to pull myself up on or by use of a hydraulic lift.
  • I don’t snore anymore.
  • I can go up the 14 steps in my home without getting winded and without knee pain. I recently climbed the 352 steps to the top of the Capitol Dome alongside Congressman Huizenga without getting out of breath or even breaking a sweat!
  • I can get in and out of the car much more easily and fit in the car better as well.
  • When playing with the kids out in the yard, bending over to retrieve balls or chase them down is much faster and easier.
  • Running around in heavy wool uniforms during Civil War reenactment activities is much easier and realistic. (Anyone ever seen photos of an obese Civil War soldier?)
  • Along with 82 pounds, I have also lost my acid reflux, allergy problems and back pain.
  • As for the young lad at church a few years ago who asked his father if I was going to have a baby – obviously some remedial action was necessary in that case…
  • I am honored to learn that my story has inspired many others to lose significant weight, including two Ottawa County employees as well! Each has lost over 60 pounds and one has been able to reduce their diabetes medication by over half! I applaud those who have begun or successfully completed this journey.

Weight loss and dieting have now been replaced with maintaining my current weight. A key factor has been to learn my calorie burn rate and adjust my calorie consumption accordingly. My burn rate for a normal day is 1,700 calories and 2,200 calories on a day when I exercise. Though I can eat anything, I emphasize protein, deemphasize starches plus take in 64 ounces of water each day. I indulged in cake at my 50th birthday party (plus the three days following), and put on a few pounds. I quickly changed course and returned back to my lower weight. Exercise has also become part of my regular routine and includes swimming (my favorite), running and racquetball. While not a speedster by any stretch of the imagination, I have cut 8 minutes from my swimming time and 16 minutes from my 5k time. I recently added weight training and intend to add biking in the future.

I have been asked if I took diet pills or other types of medication during the diet. There was absolutely no use of diet pills. I took (and still take) a one-a-day multi-vitamin, additional Vitamin D, fish oil, low dosage cholesterol medication, and COQ10 (supplement with cholesterol medication). I hope to be off the cholesterol medication in another couple of months. Others have inquired about the Weigh to Wellness program which was operated by Advantage Health. Sadly, Weigh to Wellness is no longer in business, however Medical Weight Loss and Grand Health Partners offer similar programs.

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and positive feedback along the way. It meant so much to me. Included in this post are my before and after pictures. As you can see, I was still smiling in the second photo! You know, prior to the weight loss, I didn’t see this obese guy when I looked in the mirror. I think I saw myself as I wanted to see myself. The weight gain didn’t happen all at once but was very much like the parable of the boiled frog where if you throw a frog into a pan of boiling water it will immediately hop out but if you put a frog in a pan of luke-warm water and slowly turn up the heat the frog will stay in the pan until and end up getting cooked. When you look at the future health problems that I was facing, things like diabetes, heart problems, hypertension among many others, it took radical action to avoid that future.

Ottawa County will soon implement the next phase of the new health management plan. This year will be known as “know your numbers” and biometric testing will be provided at County facilities to make gathering this data as convenient for employees and spouses as possible. Next year, 2013, will be known as “work your numbers” as employees and their doctors look for possible ways to improve health. More on this soon…

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42 Responses to The Numbers Are In

  1. Mark Knudsen says:

    That little boy’s comment made me laugh out loud. I wanted to ask if you were going to have a baby, but was afraid to ask. Congrats, on the new you!

  2. vijay says:

    That’s an amazing transformation.

  3. greg dejong says:


  4. Sherry VanBemmelen says:

    As a former runner that included 14 marathons and too many to mention 5 & 10k’s taking 16 minutes off your running time is absolutely amazing! Congratulations on all your hard work!

  5. Julie Friedgen says:

    Wow! What a transformation. Great job Al! You even look younger too!

  6. Maggie Underwood says:

    Your updates are very upbeat and it encourages me to do better!

  7. Cindy Lieffers says:

    Congratulations on the better health.

  8. Tom Ward says:

    Hi Mr.VanderBerg, I had the pleasure of meeting you, sat to your left, at a Brown Bag luncheon at the Hudsonville Facility, where I work as a Bailiff for Judge K. Post. I have been following your impressive progres since the beginning,being a former Marine amnd Police Officer for over 30 years, I have been and continue to be concerned about physical fitness, and I and my wife Sandy, not Sandy Ward in our District Court, are involving ourselves with similar goals. And You Sir, are a shining example of will and fortitude, because I know this takes a lot of will and “GUTS” to do, so from me to you the best wishes and a hearty Hoosrah…and Semper Fi…..Tom Ward…

    • Alan G. Vanderberg says:

      Thanks very much for your kind remarks, Tom. It does take a lot of willpower but the toughest time is at the beginning. They say it takes about 3 weeks to establish a new mental habit and I think that sticking to it that long did it for me. Also, Tom, thank you for your service to our nation in the Marine corps and to our community as well!

  9. Sandy Castle says:

    Congradulations on your journey and all of your new successes:) May you continue to find all the blessings that good health and maintaining your wieght will bring you in the days ahead!!!


  10. Thomas Fouts says:

    Way to go Al! I am completely impressed by what you have accomplished! You are my new hero. Now I wish someone could show me where I left my “willpower” at.
    Thank-you for your inspiration.

  11. Marianne van der Borght says:

    Incredible story. You are truly inspiring!

  12. Jane M Ruiter says:

    So proud of you, Al! Amazing, and what an inspiration to us all!

  13. Jane M Ruiter says:

    Amazing, Al! What an inspiration!

  14. Ronald Wise says:

    Job well done,

  15. Skip Keeter says:

    Congratulations Al. You look terrific and I’m delighted to hear you feel as good as you look. Enjoy your new lifestyle.

  16. Kelly Chapman says:

    In a way, the young lad you mentioned was right; you did give birth to a new lifestyle! Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your story. I needed to be reminded that it is possible!

  17. Peter Ross says:

    Al – so impressed with this, and proud of your determination. It’s wonderfully inspiring. Congrats!

  18. Carol Scholma says:

    I didn’t even recognize you at first, when I came to the forum last Friday……what an accomplishment…congratulations!

  19. LOIS HAVERMANS says:

    Hi Al!
    You are truly an inspiration Al!! My husband who has had a stroke, as a result of high blood pressure, is investigating the Medical Weight Loss Program (ok, I am investigating it for him–we are not on the same page about it yet, but he is in the same chapter–Ha!Ha!) Keep up the great work and I look forward to participating in the county’s new health management plan!! Happy Mother’s Day to your wife (and no, a toaster is not OK)

    • Alan G. Vanderberg says:

      Thank you, Lois! Best wishes to you and your husband. The toughest thing can be just getting going sometimes. Learned the toaster lesson many years ago but it was a vacuum cleaner…

  20. Paul Sachs says:

    You’ve definitely challenged us all! Through a tremendous amount of hard-work, dedication, blood, sweat, tears, and a sleepless night, I was able to successfully identify an overweight Civil War soldier (i.e. Major General Michael Kelly Lawler). Great Job Al – you look great :)

    • Alan G. Vanderberg says:

      Awesome, Paul. I’ll Google him later tonight and try to find his phot. Of course it was an officer who got to ride a horse and didn’t have to tramp all those miles or he wouldn’t have been an overweight Civil War soldier :)


  21. Mary Willacker says:

    Hey little brother, the weight loss looks good…but you look like a dork without the mustache. Keep up the good work!

  22. Lee Fisher says:

    Congratulations Al!

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