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Keith Laidler lost 25 pounds!

Pride and shame are both great motivators. Why aren’t they enough when it comes to losing weight? When my wife and I retired and moved to Holland, Michigan in 2007, I was tipping the scales at over 200 pounds. Being 5’ 8” and 75 years old I knew that there were at least thirty, maybe forty unwelcome pounds that hung around my bones. I had made honest efforts to reduce with several diet plans and while I could drop 20 or more pounds it wouldn’t stay off. During most of my life exercise and physical activity came natural for me. Growing up on a farm, participating in sports teams at school, I developed and enjoyed a pattern of health care for my body. I stayed in good shape. At age 55 I took the “test” and with pride was able to announce that my body’s health age was 42. When there were forced time outs for recouping from illness surgery I would build back up to the exercise regimen again. It was the eating habits and the “sweet-tooth” inherited from my father that kept me struggling against those unwanted extra pounds.

In 2002, being diagnosed with bladder cancer, I went through several unsuccessful surgeries in a five month period before going to Mayo Clinic where they got it right. I had three months of BCG treatment back in Lansing and have been “clear” in every check up since. I tell that story to explain my “excuse” for the discouragement and depression I was experiencing. I had turned to food for comfort. Result: during that year I gained twenty-five unwanted extra pounds. Shortly after moving to town Evergreen Commons, the “Senior Center” in Holland, got our attention and our membership. It had been a little over five years that weight gain “shame” caused me to struggle with self-anger and depression… and diets. I saw the exercise equipment at the Center a way to help me lose weight. A few months later I learned of the “Take It Off Program” offered by Evergreen. Why not put some money into the effort and become accountable to someone? And so with my wife’s support, I signed up with physical trainer Karen Draeger as my coach. It was Valentine’s week in February 2007 when I weighed in and had my measurements taken. The goal setting was to lose 25 lbs. during the twelve-week program. The motivation was the “Easter” suite I’d bought in 2002 and never worn.

I determined that I’d lose enough weight wear it to church that Easter. I did, and it still fits seven months later.

My wife changed in several ways. Eating habits became better through planning and journaling. I’m not self-conscious or ashamed of the way I look. There are continuing comments from family and friends that are congratulatory and affirming. I can bend over to tie shoes without grunting. My wife and I can do full body hugs again because my stomach is gone.

It is difficult to give advice about weight loss to others. But when someone asks I don’t hesitate to tell him or her how I did it. Everyone has to find their own inner strength for the tough choices regarding diet and exercise. For me it was “the right time” because I was ready to regain the pride I’d lost in my physical condition… and conditioning. When you can trust your “Take If Off” coach with your feelings and struggles, it helps change your wishing and trying to choosing and doing.

Keith Laidler
Holland, MI

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