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How I Did It

Kicking the Habit Kick-Started His Diet

June 01, 1998|ARNIE MOORE

My journey toward fitness began two years ago with the giant step of quitting a 35-year smoking habit. After many halfhearted attempts to quit before, I had resigned myself to always being an obese smoker, and I might as well just accept it.

After spending a long weekend playing music in a particularly smoky bar, I awoke the next morning feeling terrible. I knew it was the smoke. As I was having my morning coffee and cigarette, the "Today" show was beginning a series on using the nicotine patch to quit smoking. Two days later, I put on my first patch and never looked back. Two months later, I was a nonsmoker.

As happens many times, I gained 20 pounds during the effort to quit. I was now up to 360. I had never been so overweight. However, the power I felt from being in control of my body gave me the motivation to do something about my eating habits.

I had been on so many diets that I knew the right choices to make. I was just never truly motivated to make those choices. Now I was.

I didn't want to lose weight too rapidly (been there, done that). I kept my diet as low-fat as possible and kept a log of everything I ate.

Exercise was also a key component to my success. I began with a routine I had used as a traveling musician in hotel rooms: the Royal Canadian Air Force exercise program. It's easy for beginners, and progressive. That led to long walks, which led to short jogs. Now I'm up before dawn to get in my run before going to work as a teacher. I average 15 miles per week. I ran in my first 5K race in January.

Finding acceptable low-fat alternatives to my old eating habits has also been important. Every week, I try the new low-fat recipe of the Times Food section (thank you, Donna Deane!).

In short, self-motivation was the key for me. Once I was really ready to do something about my weight, common sense took over. I had always known what to do. I just had to do it!

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Vital Statistics

Name: Arnie Moore

Age: 52

Occupation: Actor, musician, teacher

Height: 6 feet, 3 inches

Old Weight: 360

New Weight: 240

Time to Get There: 14 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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