Overcoming the Yo-Yo

No one said losing weight is easy. 

Whether it's 10 pounds, 50 pounds or 100, it takes commitment and will power. And at times, it can be like a yo-yo. You lose 20 pounds. Gain 10. Lose 15. Gain 20.

As discouraging as it can be, it doesn't mean you've failed. Just ask Gary Baverstock. He's been battling the bulge for about 25 years. He's had plenty of ups and downs. But Gary is not giving up.

Like a lot of us, he never worried about his weight as a young man. But in his early 30's, things changed. Gary and his wife got into real estate, had two young children and plenty of stress. About a year later, a recession hit. The real estate market shrunk. Gary's stress grew.

So did his kids, which meant sports and clubs, lots of running around and not much exercise.

"Half the time, I'd be on my way to my son's hockey game and grab a burger and fries, or a hot dog at the arena," Gary says. "And my nutrition habits went down the drain."

Eventually, Gary started to put on weight. A few pounds at first, then more and more. By his late 40's, Gary had gained 100 pounds. He went from 150 to 250 pounds in about 12 years.

Around the same time, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and had to be on a ventilator every night. 

"If you're not getting adequate sleep, it's tough to keep your weight under control," he says. "I'd be tired all the time. It got to the point where if I was at a red light, I'd put the car in park in case I dosed off."

So, Gary started exercising and lost 30 pounds. "My doctor said I was his poster child. I was feeling really good," he says. "Then, I put it all back on again." 

Fast forward a few years and Gary started running. At 52, he started a 'learn to run' program and ended up doing 5K, 8K and 10K races. 

A couple of years later, a local paper put together a weight loss competition. Gary signed up and lost 72 pounds in six months. 


"I watched what I was eating and exercised at least an hour a day," he says. "At one point, my competitive spirit took over and I lost 25 pounds in a month. And during the final week, I purposely cut back on fluids to lose weight."

Not the best idea. Gary was down to 167 pounds that summer, but ended up with complications - dehydration, muscle pain and a gall bladder attack. He cut back on the exercise and by Christmas, he was back up to 215.

"It's an emotional ride. Once you start to lose a few pounds, you feed off that," he says. "It becomes all encompassing. On the flip side, when you stop watching what you eat and you know you're gaining weight, you don't even want to face it."

For Gary, just having a goal isn't always enough. "Last year, my son got married and I dropped 30 pounds for the wedding," he says. "The wedding was the reason (to lose weight). Unless I have reason behind the goal, I find it hard to do it."

These days, Gary is about 208 pounds. But he's keeping fairly active. "After I get up in the morning, I ride the stationary bike for an hour," he says. "I want to be healthy, and as my kids have kids, I want to be around for that."

Along the way, he's survived bladder cancer and started going for runs again. In the fall, he hopes to do a half marathon. 

Ultimately, he'd like to travel the world and run a marathon in each city he visits.

Ambitious, yes. But Gary believes he can get there. And he's determined to stop the yo-yo for good. "When I'm really going, people say, 'Gary, take it easy, you're gonna kill yourself.' I say, 'No, taking it easy will kill you.'"

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