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Dramatic weight loss

April 28, 1997

Local people talk about the results they've seen from lifestyle changes

By KATE COLEMAN

Staff Writer

Mark Youngblood uses ketchup on baked potatoes instead of butter or sour cream. It's one concession he's made to a lower-fat lifestyle.

The 34-year-old Hagerstown resident has shed 130 pounds since he decided to lose weight about three years ago. He no longer eats red meat, and instead of three squares, he eats four or five smaller meals a day.

"It's all worth it," he says.

Rose Lawrence credits her Christian faith with helping her to maintain her resolve in losing 62 pounds from her 6-foot frame since last November. The 41-year-old Smithsburg resident had tried many diets unsuccessfully. She's removed fat and most sugar from her diet, and she's working out six days a week. She's wearing size 10 or 12 jeans instead of size 18 or 20.

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Oscar "Derwood" Arnsparger Jr. has no trouble remembering numbers and dates. Retired from Western Maryland Railroad, the 72-year-old Williamsport resident says he has lost 162 pounds since Feb. 2, 1995. He lost some weight, going from 375 to 359 by following the Pritikin diet - a low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar regime. He says he had been on diets and had lost weight before, but always gained it back. He never did any planned exercise, but says that this weight loss caused him to have what he describes as "loose skin" on his 5-foot-7 1/2-inch frame. His doctor told him to try a gym.

On June 6, 1995, he went to Rando's Fitness Center, telling himself that if he felt uncomfortable, he wouldn't go back. Arnsparger says trainer David Moss was so sympathetic and nice that he has continued. He works out six days a week, and now weighs 213 pounds.

Dr. Mathew McIntosh, director of the Wellness and Cardiac Rehab Center at Hagerstown Junior College, says Youngblood, Lawrence and Arnsparger have made a lifestyle change.

"That's all there is to it," McIntosh adds.

An exercise physiologist, McIntosh cautions that such a change shouldn't become an obsession. People who lose large amounts of weight will reach a fixed point. There are limitations.

"Not everyone can become a Kathy Ireland or Mel Gibson," he warns.

McIntosh cites cardiovascular rewards, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of diabetes and orthopedic concerns from the changes these people have made.

From a health perspective, this is the best thing they ever did, he says.

Exercise is critical

Exercise is a critical part of Youngblood's weight loss.

"You have to burn more calories than you take in," he explains.

Heavy all his life, Youngblood says he had lost weight before - 80 pounds one time - but didn't keep it off. He carried 330 pounds on his 5-foot-11-inch frame. He now weighs 200 pounds.

Youngblood says he wasn't unhappy or unsuccessful, and he didn't really plan to make the decision that's boosted his self-confidence and helped him to feel better. His friend and next-door business neighbor, Brian Gordon, joins him for workouts. He says it's nice to have a partner - someone to push you to 50 sit-ups when you're dragging on the 25th.

"It's addictive," he says.

He gets cardiovascular workouts five days a week on the treadmill, stair stepper or stationary bicycle, and he uses weight machines and free weights six days a week at Fitness Priority in Hagerstown.

Youngblood is a professional photographer, and his schedule is hectic. But he always makes time for the gym. He says he sometimes feels guilty about the amount of time it takes, but his wife, Angie, is supportive.

The change is more than weight loss, Youngblood says.

"It's given me a different outlook. You can do anything if you make up your mind," he says.

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