JIM PETERS: Portage girls basketball coach Chris Seibert has lost 120 pounds

2013-01-24T18:00:00Z 2013-01-25T01:13:05Z JIM PETERS: Portage girls basketball coach Chris Seibert has lost 120 poundsJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 24, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Most of us trying to lose weight start our endeavor with the turn of the calendar and often end it before January becomes February.

For Portage girls basketball coach Chris Seibert, his moment came in August, on the 12th to be exact. He had torn his Achilles tendon and faced the prospect of spending the rest of the summer in the gym with a cast up to his knee.

"That was the last straw," said Seibert, who tipped the scale at 310 pounds at the time. "I was blessed not to have any pressing health issues, but I'm sure I was on the path. Teaching health and being around athletes, I knew about being healthy, but I didn't pay attention to it."

Seibert weighed 175 in high school. Between the ages of 21 and 30, he ballooned. He had lost weight before, but was never able to keep it off. Being in the coaching profession, where you're always on the go, keeping odd hours and eating whatever you can whenever you can, certainly didn't help.

"You find out that your social life revolves around food," Seibert said.

But it was also that background in sports that helped him in his personal battle of the bulge.

"It's almost a competition with the scale," Seibert said. "It's the nature of being an athlete. You have a goal each week and you try to hit that goal. The coach in me took over."

Seibert learned about Lisa Mae-Colvin, a nutritionist in Plymouth, through his parents Rin and John, who heard her praises from friends in South Bend. He, wife Tracy and his parents were able to get into the program, which has a lengthy waiting list.

Rae-Colvin must also be part magician. In Seibert's case, she made a human being disappear. In under six months, he's dropped an incredible 120 pounds, now weighing a svelte 190. He tried to have his 'fat' dress clothes altered, but a seamstress told him there was too much material to hem, so he got rid of them, intending to never need them again.

"The real positive thing is I haven't really been able to exercise, other than walking an hour a day, so it shows 95 percent of it is what you eat," Seibert said.

The program includes a specific, regimented diet. Seibert logs everything he consumes, with time and quantity, in a daily journal.

"It's amazing the little things that add up, making macaroni and cheese for our daughter and taking a bite, sitting on the couch and having a couple chips," he said. "It's all accountability."

Seibert now eats plenty of fish and very little of his favorite fare, Mexican. He also drinks 85 ounces of water a day. No caffeine's allowed, so no more diet pop or Gatorade.

"The liquid was harder to get used to than the food," Seibert said. "The results were so good, it wasn't hard to stay on it. Really, it's more of a lifestyle change than a diet change. The hardest part will be maintaining it once I'm there, but I'm much better educated on a plan of attack when I get to that point."

Shopping and meal preparation require more time and thought, but the results are worth it. 

"I couldn't be prouder of what he's accomplished," said Tracy, who is pregnant with the couple's second child. "It's amazing what he's been able to do without a fad diet, drugs or surgery. He's an inspiration to me, my family, everyone around us."

Portage senior Nicki Monahan said the team isn't above some good-natured tempting of their coach with treats after a game, but sees his transformation as a source of motivation.

"It shows that if you put your mind to something and keep working to get to that final goal, you can accomplish it," she said.

For Seibert, his finish line is 15 pounds away.

"I contemplated (other ways)," he said, "so to be able to do it naturally, without any of that, that's what's most gratifying."


This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.peters@nwi.com.

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