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168 pounds shed so far

Chewsville businessman loses weight with his own diet, exercise program

Chewsville businessman loses weight with his own diet, exercise program

October 01, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

CHEWSVILLE - Dinner for Doug Hutzell might be a salad, four slices of pizza and water.

That might not seem like a meal many dieters would think is ideal.

But it's worked for Hutzell, considering his previous typical meal was more like a salad, a soda, a large pizza and a few extra slices.

Hutzell, 41, of Chewsville, has lost 168 pounds since Feb. 24, 2006, thanks to a program of portion control and exercise that he developed. He does not belong to a diet group or organized program, nor does he work out at a gym or with a group of people.

With 378 pounds on a 6-foot-2 frame, Hutzell wasn't about to walk into a gym, he said.

His embarrassment from his obesity had made him a hermit.

"I didn't want to do anything," said Hutzell, who wouldn't even go see movies because he couldn't fit comfortably in a theater seat.


"I was always one of those people who felt that everyone was talking about me. I was my own worst enemy, I guess," he said.

Hutzell, now 210 pounds, is no longer a couch potato.

"At quitting time, I'm the first in the car to go anywhere," said Hutzell, who co-owns The Village Florist on Leitersburg Pike. He enjoys being seen now - and buying clothes without going to "big and tall" shops.

Shop co-owner Tim Valerio said he used to warn Hutzell about the consequences of his overeating.

"You're digging your grave with your knife and fork," Valerio said he'd tell Hutzell.

Now Hutzell's outlook on life has improved and he looks like a different person, Valerio said.

Getting started

Hutzell said he'd been cautioned by his doctor a number of times that he needed to lose weight, but it wasn't until he made the decision on his own that he committed to breaking old habits.

Hutzell had dieted before but hadn't been able to keep off the weight.

It wasn't until he developed a problem with blood circulation in his legs that Hutzell felt an urgency to lose significant weight.

He spent the first six months just eating smaller portion sizes.

Then he began exercising, working up to about an hour a day of stretches and aerobic moves. After exercising to Madonna's music, Hutzell would dance to other music for 40 minutes.

Instead of watering his garden with a hose during the summer of 2006, Hutzell carried full watering cans, 35 to 40 a day, throughout his deep backyard.

His current exercise routine includes walking four to six miles in Hagerstown's City Park three or four times a week.

Hutzell checks in with his doctor six times a year to get his blood pressure checked and to update the doctor on his weight loss.

During the first year, he lost 142 pounds. Hutzell has occasionally put on a few pounds, such as when he went on vacation, but he has kept up with his diet and exercise program and continues to lose weight. His goal is 199 pounds.

Hutzell never cut out foods he liked or started buying items marketed as "diet," "low-calorie" or "low-fat." He'd rather eat smaller portions of foods he enjoys.

The right approach

Dr. Mary E. Money, a Hagerstown doctor of internal medicine, said Hutzell's approach to losing a significant amount of weight through portion control before starting vigorous exercise was the right way to go.

Also vital was that the decision to lose weight was his own. People who try to lose weight because of pressure from family or friends - and not their own motivation - are usually not successful.

Money said two things overweight peoople can do right away are walking and limiting their caloric intake to a healthy level.

She recommends buying a pedometer and walking daily, working up to 10,000 steps a day.

Two other key tips she has for people who need and want to lose a significant amount of weight are to weigh themselves every morning and to put several notes around the house, such as on a mirror and the refrigerator, that read, "I can lose weight."

Trying to lose a large amount of weight can be overwhelming. The notes are reminders to take it one meal at a time and think positively, said Money.

People with a body-mass index (BMI) of more than 30, men who are older than 45 and women who are older than 50 should check with their doctor before starting vigorous exercise such as aerobics or jogging, Money said. Their doctor might recommend a stress test first. To learn more about obesity and BMI and to calculate your BMI, search for "BMI calculator" online, or go to this National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Web page,

"We want people to start exercising, but we want them to be cautious," Money said.

People who have a BMI of 30 or more are obese, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Complications that can arise from obesity include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, gallstones, reproductive problems, osteoarthritis and some cancers, including breast and colon cancers.

For Hutzell, it took changing habits - no longer overeating, especially fried foods and sweets.

"The other habit is gone. (Eating better) is the new habit," he said.

"I would say to anybody that's obese, don't wait on the problem because you're already in one," Hutzell said.

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