How To Lose Weight – A Little Contest That Works for Real Weight Loss!


Like many people in the US, I was recently told by my doctor I was overweight.  My knee had been bothering me, I wasn’t sleeping well and I noticed that my posture was getting, well lets say “lazy”.  My knees were starting to sound like rice krispies.  I decided it was time to get my knees looked at because the crunching was making my hungry.

The first doctor looked me over, and sent me to a knee specialist.  The knee specialist wanted to do some surgery that would take me out of work for six to eight weeks, and he said it would fix the problem for 10-15 years.  That part all sounded ok, but I wasn’t sure about going in for surgery every 15 years.

While I was waiting for a surgery date, I went to a wellness center for an “executive wellness physical”. Sort of a whole life physical evaluation.  The doctor here was very different.  His approach was to find ways to keep you living longer, and in his opinion surgery wasn’t it.  He simply said, “Scott, your knee is a problem, but surgery won’t fix it if you have 25 pounds of extra fat it needs to carry around.  You have got to lose some weight, at least 20 pounds, and 25 would be better.”  He cancelled the surgery for me.

At first I was a little shocked.  I knew I was a little bigger but I only went up one size this year, but 25 pounds?  That seemed quite excessive, I mean I couldn’t be that fat could I?

I have never really “dieted” so I didn’t know where to start.  I tried more exercise, but the first run out of the chute almost killed me.  When I was 17 and at basic training for the Air Force at Lackland, we had to run 1.25 miles in 14 minutes and 20 seconds.  Fat guys did it, skinny guys did it, and girls did it so I figured I could do it at 45.  I went out that night to run 1.25 miles with my rice krispy knees, and nope couldn’t do the run.  I didn’t know what hurt more, my lungs, legs, feet, knees or chest, but I am pretty sure that run almost killed me.


I set the 1.25 miles in 14′:20″ as my goal, and 20 pounds to lose as my target.  I did all of the things I teach everyone to do when they set a goal for business and achievement.  I wrote it down and put it on my dresser, in my wallet and in my car so I was sure to be reminded of it every day.  In just three months I lost five pounds and was feeling really good.  I could “run” the 1.25 miles in just 16 minutes.  Then I hit a wall, for the next month, no weight loss, no speed improvement.  Of course I found an ap for that.

I got an app for my iPhone that counted calories and exercise, and still couldn’t make any more progress.  Then my friend and business partner Dr. Goldberg proposed a bet.  We each needed to lose 15 pounds.  The first one to get there picks our next board meeting and vacation location and the “loser” (who doesn’t lose the weight first) has to buy a nice dinner for us and our wives.

Being an MD, he was kind enough to share some great nutritional information about calorie quantity and quality as well as a few studies about the sodium in diet soda aiding in water retention in fat cells.  He also thought that might be why I don’t sleep as well as I used to.

He sent some great information about Atkins type diets, Caveman type diets, and Gluten Free and we talked about the similarities among all three.  He chose a modified Atkins, I chose a modified Paleolithic or “Caveman” diet.  I still eat a little dairy on occasion, but only about 10% of what I used too.  I also cut out gluten products, peanuts and cashews.




At first neither of us saw any changes.  We agreed that we could each only pick one scale to use as the benchmark because all scales are slightly different.    After about a week we each lost one pound.  I had gone below 195 pounds for the first time since I had closed my business in Texas.  I realized I was carrying a lot of stress weight.  That one pound felt better than the five I lost going from 200 to 195.

Text sent: 194

We stayed neck and neck for the first five pounds.  He hit 165, I hit 185.  I should say he is a little shorter than I am so our end goals are slightly different.

Here we both hit a wall.  We both felt better, and I hit my time on the 1.25 mile run of 14′:20″.  That really is a sad number when you realize that several people broke four minute miles in the Olympics this year, but it was something I couldn’t do just three months early so I counted it as progress.  I met the minimum standard to be in the Air Force in 1984 just as I had done then.  I wouldn’t mind going for a run with the recruits today, a 45 year old retired Major running the track and keeping up with a large percentage of them.  I would hope it would motivate them to stay in shape and not get as fat as I did.


For nearly two weeks we both hovered at five pounds above our target weights.  Every morning I was surfing, paddle boarding or jogging, and on some days I would get in two or all three activities.


Normally I would have given up, but last week Dr. Goldberg said, don’t worry, this is the muscle rebuilding stage,  you are adding strength you lost years ago, so look in the mirror.  Your muscles are probably growing and the fat is still shrinking.  The scale can’t show that.


And then he sent a text..




I ran up to the scale and looked down to see 184.9.  Not enough to text back, but then two days later, 183.8, I sent the text.


He replied




A Tie.


As of this morning we both have less than 3 pounds to go.  2.8 to be exact for me.  He hasn’t said, so he is either letting me think I am ahead, or I am ahead.


Having a purpose in my weight loss plan, even if only to pick a vacation destination and get a free meal is so much better than just “losing weight” or “dieting”.  Now when I stroll pass the Haagen Daz in the Dallas Airport and Honey (yes that is what his name tag says) yells out, He Mr. B, I have Dulce De Leche and Fresh Waffle Cones, I can keep walking and feel good about it.


In every goal we set, there must be a purpose or a reason to do it that motivates us.  Just knowing I needed to lose weight wasn’t enough.  A little friendly wager with my friend was that extra purpose I needed.  Giving up isn’t an option when there is a dinner and vacation on the line.


Many times we say we want something, and might even make it a goal.  Without a reason or purpose to achieve it, you probably won’t, and just end up blowing it off.  When you find a friend to hold you accountable, or find a purpose for what you do, you are much more likely to hit your goals.


As for my weight loss goal, if you know me, you know that Ice Cream and a soda were my normal desserts at every meal.  I was even known to put vanilla ice cream on corn flakes at breakfast a time or two.  Is there any wonder I walked into Dr. Shen’s office at 200 pounds?


The bet still has a little ways to go and I am already thinking of a double or nothing for the next 5 pounds since Dr. Shen wanted me to be at 175.


Next time you set a goal, ask yourself, is it something your really want?  If so why?  No make that a big WHY?  Find a reason so big that you have to reach the goal, and then go find someone to hold you accountable.  Someone to share your successes with and someone who will coach you through your temporary setbacks.  Remember there are no failures.


Stay Tuned, I’ll tell you who won the dinner at Trokay Cafe in Truckee California.  For the double or nothing I am going to add a cupcake and Ice Cream from Cake Tahoe.


UPDATE September 10th, 2012 ……

Todays E-mail :

The Champion Dines on Rack of Lamb and Mint Jelly on Vacation and the Contender weighs in.


The Winning Weight Loss Weigh InThe Winning Weight Loss Weigh In

Five More Pounds for double or nothing?

The Reply: No DEAL I Still have 5 to go!

Later that day though –

We agreed on a reset where we would each target 5 additional pounds from that days weight, but not quite for double or nothing.  The restaurant for the original bet was the Trokay Cafe, which closed so the chef/owner could have a baby.  They are planning to reopen next spring, so we added the five pounds as our new weight loss target and selected the Lone Eagle Grill as the spoils of victory.

I won again, stepping in at 174.4 with the Doc stepping in 1.5 pounds over his goal that day.  I have officially shed  27.6 pounds from my peak weigh in of 202.  My knees don’t crunch and I can now run a 9 minute mile, in fact three of them.  Today,  I am shooting for 3 miles in 27 minutes for an 8 minute average.  I have decided there is still another four pounds or so I could live with out and have set my personal target range to be 165-170.

Lone Eagle Grill – Here we come…


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