By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
The start of a new year is when a lot of people set goals.
And Dean Beauchamp knows something about setting goals. Dean is the head Athletic trainer at St. Ambrose University and as he helps student athletes get off the training table and back in to the game, he helps them set goals.
For him, for a long time, it was different. He had no fitness goals.
“I knew better,” Dean says. “I just didn’t do better. I think we as health care providers are great at working and advising everybody but ourselves.”
Then one day about 11 years ago, Dean stepped onto his scale and saw that his weight had ballooned up to 250 lbs. on his 5’ 6” frame.
He looked into the mirror.
“I was not happy with what I saw,” Dean says. “I felt ooey, gooey. Lethargic.”
So that day, he went outside and ran a minute and walked a minute until he had covered a mile.
He thought he was going to die.
“It was funny,” Dean says. “My oldest daughter went on one of my first runs with me and during my minute time of running, I looked over at her and she’s fast walking. Oh, I thought, this is embarrassing.”
But Dean kept at it. Every other day at first. Then 5 days a week. And then 7.
“Before I knew it, I was up to 2 minutes. And then, within a month or 2, I was up to 5 minutes of running and then walking a minute or 2.”
Dean knew that running alone wasn’t the answer. He had to make dietary changes. But he didn’t want to make what he says is a big mistake a lot of people make: wholesale changes all at once.
So he made a list of things that he knew were bad dietary choices, such as drinking pop, fast food lunches and late night snacking. And then one by one, he eliminated them.
“The first one to go was pop,” Dean says. “Then the next week, OK, pop was still out, but now no more fast foods.”
It sounds strict, but Dean says, at first, he allowed himself a cheat day, when he could have a pop or enjoy some fast food.
His late-night eating was the third dietary change.
“That one is just a killer,” Dean says. “You eat something at 11:00 at night and you go sedentary on the couch or bed. Those calories don’t get burned very efficiently.”
What kept Dean going was his scale. The weight, he says, was just falling off. Within 10 months, he was down to the 180-185 pound range he is in now.
“I look back at old photos now and I can see the way I was changing,” Dean says, gesturing at how thick his neck had become.
“It was not good. I thought if I don’t do something now, I’m not going to do it and I’m going to be 300 pounds.”
By keeping his eye on his goals, even when he occasionally backslid, Dean ran the Bix that first year and now has run it 10 times.
He also ran a marathon the year after his weight loss. It was a “gift” to his sister, who is an ultra marathoner. Dean says she is his source of running information and his inspiration.
Dean has now run four marathons and a 50K race … always with his eye on his goal.
Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.