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Fitness | How I Did It

Lifestyle Change Ended Weight Fluctuation

April 20, 1998|CHARLIE YANG

During my teenage years, my classmates called me "the fat boy." The name did not bother me, because I was good at sports and martial arts despite my weight.

As I grew older, I became heavier. Then, when I was 30, I learned to play tennis. I developed such a passion for it that I played three or four hours a day, three or four days a week, for months. I lost about 30 pounds. But I never changed my eating habits. I loved red meat and pork with a lot of fat, and always in big quantities. As my passion for tennis died down, my weight went back up.

At 35, I was hospitalized for open heart surgery and my weight came down to 165 pounds--only to go up again.

Four years later, I decided to take some action. My plan was to intensify my exercises, based on my previous experiences with playing tennis. I also cut my food intake by 50%. With this plan, I was able to go down to 165 pounds, which I think was my lowest point to that time. This lasted about six months. I went back to my normal lifestyle, and my weight also returned.

I was 43 and weighed 190 pounds when I met a chiropractor who became my health coach. This was the turning point of my life.

Prescription for health: low-fat, vegetarian diet during the week, nonvegetarian over the weekend. Take vitamins and minerals. Exercise one half-hour every day at whatever I like to do. Take a nap or at least rest in the afternoon. One hour of transcendental meditation daily. Keep good posture at all times.

I followed instructions, skeptically at first, and soon became a firm believer as I could see the results in the first week, when I lost 4 pounds. Soon, my doctor reduced my blood pressure medication.

I now weigh 152 pounds, after seven months. My waist size used to be a 36 and now is a 28. I have never felt so good and so happy. I continue to educate myself about good nutrition and share my wonderful experiences with my friends and my family. Best of all, I am able to guide my children toward healthier habits.

Recent statistics say that 97% of people will gain back the weight that they lost. This is not hard to understand. It is because we quit doing what we did to lose weight once we achieved the target. It happened to me before. But I am now sure that I have found the right lifestyle for me to easily apply for a lifetime.

Vital Statistics

Name: Charlie Yang

Age: 43

Occupation: reporter

Height: 5 feet, 3 inches

Old Weight: 190

New Weight: 152

Time to Get There: 7 months

Want to Share Your Success Story?

Losing weight is as individual as gaining weight. Do you have a story on how you got in shape and stayed there? If so, we'd like to hear from you with a 500-word essay listing what worked in terms of diet, exercise, encouragement / support as well as your emotional and physical changes.

We'd also like you to send us full-body color photos of you, before and after.

Send essay and photos to "How I Did It," Health, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, and include daytime and evening phone numbers. No phone calls, please. Submissions cannot be returned.

In addition to publication, winners will receive a Los Angeles Times gym bag and a gift certificate for a free pair of athletic shoes of your choice, redeemable at any Big 5 Sporting Goods store.

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