Exercise as a Therapeutic Modality for Obesity

Success Story

To the professionals at ExRx.net:

I found a link to your website when searching Richard Weil's message board on webmd.com. Your site is incredible. From the calculators to the muscle diagrams to the animated pictures of each weight training exercise I found a wealth of practical, scientifically based information.

As recently as September 2002, my weight peaked at 350 pounds (on a 6' 1" frame). I am a 39 year old male with high blood pressure, ventricular hypertrophy and pericardial effusion for which my cardiologist cannot find a cause. In addition to these problems, my snoring kept both myself and my wife from getting a good nights sleep. I felt cruddy (scientific term?) all the time and had little physical endurance to do anything.

I could see the writing on the wall. I needed to lose weight or lose my life. That's when I began to cut back on my eating by implementing portion control and adjusting my intake to eliminate fats, added salts and increase my fruits and vegetables. I also began a regular program of walking 3-5 times per week for 30 - 60 minutes per session. I purchased an adjustable dumbbell set and implemented a 2 day split workout schedule which gives me a general body work out and tries to build up the larger muscle groups.

Starting out was challenging, but only because I had to feel my way through the massive volume of information out there about diet and exercise in order to figure out what might best work for me. The results are encouraging to say the least. My daily calorie intake now ranges from 1800 to 2400. I use a daily online exercise and fitness journal to keep a close watch on my intake and exercise. My estimated body fat percentage was 41% when I started. It is now something like 36% and I am down to 280 lbs. My BMI has gone from 46 kg/m2 to 36 kg/m2.

The numbers are going in the right direction, but I also feel great, have more energy, wear smaller clothes and can envision a time where I achieve a level of fitness I have not enjoyed since I was a teenager. My blood pressure is much easier to control and I no longer snore! I reveal this information about myself to say that my recent success supports the conclusion of the paper posted on the Fat Loss page of EXRX:

"In conclusion, relatively few studies have been conducted with severe or morbid obese subjects. More research is needed in this area. It is this author's opinion that exercise can play a very important role in the treatment of obesity, but only most effectively, when combined with a multifaceted approach as discussed in this paper."

When I incorporated the reduced calorie regimen with the two types of exercises, fundamental changes in my body composition started to take place. I am still obese, but this 280 lbs is different from the 280 lbs I weighed when I my weight was on the way up. In fact, I was encouraged when I saw the table outlining the study of persons who had successfully lost weight and kept it off. My percentage of fat, protein and carbohydrate calories consumed is remarkably similar to the numbers featured in the table.

I have a long way to go before I reach my goal weight of 200 lb. But the information on your site is both informative and inspirational. I plan to continue with my diet/aerobic exercise/anaerobic exercise routine. Your website has persuaded me to adjust my weight training a bit so I will be able to reduce the time I spend lifting and more easily have time to maintain my daily walking schedule. I also realize that I need to think in terms of changing my lifestyle permanently rather than adjusting my weight temporarily. Thank you for the encouragement, education and for making this website available.

Scott Duke

Thank you for letting me know my letter is on your site. Thank you also for your kind regards. Things are going well in terms of exercise and weight loss. I most recently logged a weight of 239 pounds at approximately 7 months after starting out at 350 lb. At a 72" height, my BMI is 32 and my estimated body fat percent is at 30%.

My blood pressure is still easily controlled through medication and my last echocardiogram revealed no more ventricular hypertrophy or fluid around the heart. I continue my walking and weight lifting program and can see improvements in both efforts.

Thanks again for the information and inspiration provided in your website. I refer to it often.

Scott Duke (Fort Worth, Texas)

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