A few years ago, Steve Clark had a goal of getting down to 250 pounds. He weighed in as high as 423 just last September.
Now that he's past his original objective, the 46-year-old keeps on moving forward.
"I'm looking beyond that," the Merrillville product specialist said at the conclusion of a Weight Watchers meeting Wednesday in Schererville, after hitting 238 on the scale. "I want to sustain it this time. I've been on the rollercoaster (of losing and putting on weight) my whole life."
Like his fellow 18 contestants in The Times' Lose 19 in '19 weight-loss challenge, Clark has been getting into shape this past year by setting and meeting goals. One of them involved a literal rollercoaster.
Leading up to a trip last week to Pittsburgh, he vowed he would slim down enough to go on a Steelers-themed coaster there. And ride it he did.
"That was a big deal. That was cool," he said. "You don't realize how much of your life you give away, a little bit at a time, when you get obese. You can't ride a rollercoaster, shop at a regular store, do certain sports and activities. I hadn't been on a rollercoaster in probably a decade."
He also took his 2-year-old daughter, Lucy, to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, where he was able to go down slides and climb through playground tubes with her, something that wouldn't have been possible a year ago.
"This all started when I was 423, and I couldn't do things with her," he said. "I was on the couch and I couldn't even reach over and pick her up."
Fitness experts say having objectives is an important part of losing and keeping off weight. And Marci Crozier, administrative director of health promotions for Franciscan Health Fitness centers, said those goals should be "SMART": specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
"Once you identify your goal, you need to identify your willingness to be ready to achieve your goal — that is they key," she said. "Never set a goal you are not ready for because you will set yourself up for failure. If you are ready you can achieve any realistic goal — sometimes alone, and sometimes with the help of a professional. Never be afraid to ask for help."
Brenda Darrol, a Lose 19 in '19 participant from Valparaiso, had wanted to start passing people on the walking track at her gym. She is now leaving many an individual in her dust.
"So far it's been middle-aged men who I figure are probably not on their first lap," the 63-year-old former family advocate said. "They're already looking pretty sweaty and walking slowly."
Her future goals include keeping her calorie intake at 1,500 or fewer a day with two cheat meals a week, getting healthy enough to decrease or stop a medication, and, on her doctor's advice, work out three times a week to the point of getting "sweaty and stinky."
Earlier this month, Merrillville contestant Kim Collins participated in her second-ever 5K, one to honor the Project Outreach and Prevention on Youth Violence foundation, at Gary's Marquette Park.
"It was my goal to not just walk it," the 41-year-old law enforcement official said. "I walked and ran. I felt good after I finished it."
She had aimed to start working out more, and now hits the gym five days a week. Now, she intends to get fit enough to comfortably wear a two-piece bathing suit during a cruise planned for February.
"This effort, this challenge has just really, really motivated me," she said. "After picking up weight after an injury, I kept putting it off and putting it off. This was definitely the motivation I needed to get back on track and do what I knew I needed to do."
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