Before John Crosby knew it, his weight, a reasonably fit 160 when he retired after almost 30 years at Sony in 2010, had swelled to about 200 pounds, and his doctor was starting to get worried.
“My doctor was the motivation at first,” Crosby said. “He started telling me that I needed to take some of this weight off.”
Crosby underwent angioplasty and had a stent placed in a cardiac artery at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in 2009, shortly before he retired the following year. Though that experience was an eye-opener, he continued to gain weight gradually.
Then, during one of Tanner’s free “State of the Heart” sessions — a yearlong educational series led by physicians from Tanner Heart & Vascular Specialists — he learned about Get Healthy West Georgia and the initiative’s 2013 Weight Loss Challenge.
That got him started. Since joining the program in January, Crosby is down 30 pounds, and just about a pound away from his goal weight.
“That’s probably why I had to have the heart stent put in, because my artery was blocked with cholesterol,” said Crosby. “Over the years, it’d cross my mind in January to try to lose a few pounds, but this is the first time I’ve really made a long-term commitment to get it off and I really want to keep it off. I’ve lost weight a few times in the past, but I’ve never lost as much as 30 pounds before. This time, I’m really going to make the effort to keep it off.”
Crosby credits much of his weight loss success to a rigorously active lifestyle. He walks frequently on the Carrollton GreenBelt, goes to the gym, takes water aerobics classes and more.
“Since I’m retired, I go to the gym twice a day,” Crosby said. “And on pretty days, I walk, especially on the Carrollton GreenBelt. I really like that new trail they’ve set up. And through the classes I’ve taken at Tanner, I’ve really learned how to control portion sizes and how to cook and eat healthier.”
Crosby said the changes in his diet are probably responsible for a large part of his weight loss.
“I cut out the sweets and soda; that took out a lot of calories,” Crosby said. “I also don’t eat white rice, potatoes, white noodles — none of that. And I try to limit how much meat I eat, to watch fat. The diet definitely has a lot to do with it.”
His wife of almost 30 years has been on board with his efforts, too, often accompanying him on his GreenBelt jaunts.
“Sometimes, after we do water aerobics, we’ll just change clothes and hit the trail,” Crosby said.
Since launching in January, Get Healthy West Georgia’s 2013 Weight Loss Challenge has attracted almost 1,200 participants.
“Mr. Crosby is a perfect example of the kind of weight loss we launched this program to encourage,” said Gina Brandenburg, a certified health education specialist and community outreach coordinator with Tanner Health System and a coordinator with Get Healthy West Georgia. “He’s losing weight slowly and steadily. He’s not using fad diets or crash diets that he can’t maintain long-term. He’s using exercise and healthy meal planning. These are the habits that have been shown to help people keep off weight in the long-term.”
During the challenge, participants are using the free Get Healthy West Georgia tracking tool at www.GetHealthyWestGeorgia.org to track their exercise and food intake, chart their weight loss progress and see how they are doing in comparison to others. At the end of the 12-week program, following a final weigh-in, a grand prize winner will win an Apple iPad 2, selected in a random drawing of all the participants who lose at least 10 percent of their body weight during the program. Other prizes include a heart rate monitor/pedometer watch and personal training sessions. Winners will be announced in a community celebration at Mayfest on May 4 in Carrollton.
Crosby, who has ranked in first place on the 2013 Weight Loss Challenge leader boards several times during the challenge — and, as of Friday afternoon, was still holding a strong second — is in good standing to come away a winner.
Of course, with his weight down to 170 pounds, Crosby already has won a lot.
“I figure that’s a weight I can probably maintain pretty well without feeling hungry,” said Crosby. “I don’t want to go too low, because I know I’ll get hungry, start eating unhealthy again and give up. If I have any more health problems, though, I may have to go down a little more.
To find out more about Get Healthy West Georgia and the 2013 Weight Loss Challenge, visit www.GetHealthyWestGeorgia.org.