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Cover Story January 28th, 2010

  Untitled Document


by lyle e davis

It appears there just might be hope for those of us who have gained a few pounds of blubber over the years. We actually could return to that sleek, athletic figure we once possessed. It can be done . . . and this week’s cover story is dramatic evidence of that.

Meet Linda Karanewscky and Carol Peet. Both, as you can see from the photos on this page were, at one time, grossly obese. Today, they are in much better shape, both physically and emotionally.

Linda, for example, onced weight 360 lbs. At one pound a day, that comes to a year’s worth of weight. Too much. Way too much.

She lost nearly 200 lbs. in just one year. Carol Peet weighed in at 240 lbs. - not as bad as 360, but still way too heavy. She lost 70 lbs. in one year.

What is remarkable about Linda’s case is that she was only 130 lbs when she graduated from high school in 1970, 130 lbs when she married in 1973. She managed to maintain her weight nicely during the years when she worked . . .by staying active and eating sensibly.

By late 1984 she had ballooned up to 280 lbs. Why? She had stopped working, was less active, she was home more, around food, ate lots of junk food. She began to tire easily as she gained weight, so she would go lie down and rest or snooze. And the weight climbed.

She then decided she wanted to become pregnant and wanted to lose weight so she could have a healthy and successful pregnancy. She applied herself, began to exercise and eat more sensibly and she lost 100 lbs.

As planned, she became pregnant and delivered a healthy daughter in 1985. However, after her daughter was born she again began to gain weight. In 2004, she looked like the photos above, right. At the far right is how she looks today.

Surprisingly, neither Linda or Carol are diabetics. Often, obese people are more subject to diabetes. They both have had high blood pressure problems, however, but that has since been brought well under control.

This week’s story, then, is both the tale of how two women, who met in a gym, had similar weight problems, lost the weight and are now active and healthy. This story is also a guide as to how you (and I) can follow a plan to lose those unwated pounds we’re carrying around. Many of us are carrying the equivalent of a large suitcase around with us all day, every day. We really ought to stop that. This story will tell you how it’s done. If you want to lose weight, follow this story, listen to advice, and follow through. Let’s begin:

Linda noticed in 1985, after her daughter had been born, that she had begun to gain weight again. So she would diet and exercise for awhile. She would gain 40 lbs and then lose 10. She would gain 20 lbs, then lose 5 lbs. She just was not able to sustain a weight loss program. She didn’t really change her lifestyle other than cutting back on the amount eaten. Clearly, something wasn’t working.

Part of the problem may have been that her husband was also having weight problems. He is a scientist, a 1978 graduate of Harvard University, then pursuing post graduate work. While actively working in the lab, he maintained his weight. As he progressed up the corporate ladder he had less physical activity. Soon, he was promoted to a senior administrative positions. Nice . . . except that meant even less physical activity. Plus, he liked junk food.

He began to gain weight around 1982. They gained weight together. In 2003, their daughter graduated from college. Shortly after that, in January 2004, her husband made a $100 bet with his boss as to who could lose themost weight. He lost 10-12 lbs after just two weeks . . . mostly by just eliminating junk food and being more careful about what he did eat. After nine months he had lost 75 lbs. He won his $100 bet.

(Unfortunately, he has put some weight back on . . . the problem appears to be that he eats well at home but eats junk food outside). Her husband’s successful bet, however, had a bonus effect. It got Linda back on a weight loss program.

“In January of 2004, I finally decided to get serious. I recognized that I had put other things first and decided that I had to focus on me . . . getting myself back in shape and focusing on the motto of “this time, it’s about me!”

I began to take the right vitamins, eating the proper, nutritious foods, eliminating junk foods, and beginning daily exercises. I started out with just a few minutes of exercise a day. As I began to lose weight and also gain strength I increased my exercise time. Today, I spend about two hours a day, on average, exercising. Sometimes more, because I am now a certified trainer and train others. When I train my clients I wind up exercising with them.”

At the end of one year I reassessed my situation. I had lost 140 lbs. I had a lot more energy, I was happy with myself . . . I decided to keep going.”

Along the way, something unsual happened. “During my first 100 lbs of weight loss, my friends and family gave me lots of encouragement and support. Then it seemed to dwindle. I’m not sure why. Was it jealousy? Because I was losing weight and they weren’t? Was it peer pressure? Did they feel my continued weight loss would somehow put pressure on them to follow my lead? Friends would tell me I was getting ‘too thin,’ and ‘you should eat more.’ I’m just not sure why.”

Support was really a need. Only about 2% of those who want to lose weight are able to do it on their own. Belonging to a health/fitness club increases your odds of success, but even here the percentage is about 12% of those who begin a weight loss program succeed. The reason? Probably because losing weight and keeping it off requires a change in lifestyle. That is often more difficult than lifting weights, doing the various exercises available. We’ve been conditioned to fast foods . . . donuts, all types of pastries, fried chicken, deep fat fried fish, lots of steaks, lots of carbohydrates, lots of french fries . . . the works. Those are hard habits to break.

Most people need support from their family, their friends, their trainers, good facilities with good equipment, a good nutrition guide. It all adds up to a package that says . . . “change your lifestyle and we’ll get that blubber off of you.”

If you think about it, it’s a bit like boot camp. When many of us went into the military, boot camps was our introduction to great nutrition and plenty of exercise. In about eight weeks they had taken a bunch of wimpy, undisciplined kids and turned us into well conditioned, well muscled, somewhat displined young men. That’s kinda what happens at a good health/fitness club. Interestingly enough, the fitness club which Linda is now a part, the No Excuses Club on S. Escondido Boulevard in Escondido, offers a “boot camp” regimen.

Originally, Linda and her husband built a small gym in the garage of their home. She worked out at home for a year. She also read everything she could on the Internet that had to do with physical fitness, diet, exercise, muscle mass, nutrition, the whole spectrum. She pretty much taught herself the ropes. After a year and a half she had lost an amazing 180 lbs. She began to cut back on workouts. She would lose another 20-30 lbs but she found she was losing too much muscle mass. It was then she decided to join a health club, get a trainer, and get in good physical shape.

In July 2006, she joined a gym, found a personal trainer, which she still has. In the middle of 2008, Linda met another trainer at the gym, Gary Gregson, a retired police officer. They began to discuss physical fitness and began to survey other gyms to see what they offered . . . what was good, what was bad. Together, they brought together a plan and eventually, in early 2009, they found a location and went into business together. That business is No Excuses Fitness Center, located at 1770 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido.

Linda can be found there most days as she not only helps to manage the business but having become a certified trainer now leads training sessions for her clients as well.

Bottom line for Linda? From January 2004, through September 2008, she lost 190 lbs! From 360 lbs to 170 lbs!

While training at the gym, Linda met Carol Peet, who also was trying to lose weight. You’ll remember that Carol weighed in at 240 lbs when she decided to make a commitment to shed the pounds.

Carol had been a teacher for special needs children for most of her 21 years in education. She retired and decided to join a gym. That’s where she met Linda. They became friends, worked out together, compared notes, both studied to get certificated as trainers.

Through a similar combination of commitment to exercise, proper nutrition, and looking after one’s own health and physical fitness, Carol was able to lose 70 lbs since beginning in 2004.

When Linda and Gary Gregson opened No Excuses early in 2009, Carol came along as a staff trainer. Following the wedding of Linda’s daughter, she found herself in a whirlwind of parties and celebration and lots of good food. Naturally, as a proud mommy of the new bride, she celebrated her happiness and ate a bit more than she probably should have.

She gained 20 lbs. Meanwhile, Carol gained 10 lbs. They both decided that just wouldn’t do so they set up a 3-Month Weight Loss Challenge, beginning January 15th and running through April 15h. (Though it has already begun you can still get in. Give Linda or Carol a call at 760.741.7375, they’ll give you the details).

While Linda and Carol set up the Weight Loss Challenge initially for themselves, there was so much interest in the project that they now have 30 members that have accepted the challenge and meet regularly to work out, compare notes, visit, and keep tabs on weight loss.

All participants expect April 15th to be a mighty important day . . . and they’re not thinking about taxes. They’re thinking about celebrating their weight loss.

Only 12% of weight-losers nationwide manage to keep the weight off for five years. Both Linda and Carol are at their five year mark and have kept the bulk of their weight off. Now they want to continue to maintain their weight loss. Today, Linda would like to lose 15 lbs. more. Both women have accepted, and made a commitment, that it is necessary to make a permanent lifestyle change in order to accomplish these goals.

Both women can often be found at the gym as early as 5am; both have clients they train, and both have periodic workouts during the day.

“We don’t normally work out for two hours solid because we’re both busy training our clients . . . though we usually work out with them as well; we’ll maybe work out for 20 minutes here, a half hour a bit later . . . maybe an hour still later. All tolled, at the end of the day we’ll often have worked out two to three hours, easily,” says Linda.

There are a number of trainers at the facility. Linda and Carol have chosen to deal mainly with weight issues; that they are women makes it more comfortable for other women to join them in exercising. Older ladies, in particular, are very receptive to the idea. Other trainers may focus more on building muscle mass, building strength and stamina, each trainer having his or her own special talents, abilities, and skills.

The No Excuses Fitness Center offers a number of additional services that are included in the membership fee. They include Yoga, Body Sculpting, Abs/Core work, and Boot Camp.

Other services available at additional fees include Kick Boxing, Tai Chi, Pilates, Dance and Cardo (Cardiovascular work). These are all at $5 per session.

Different trainers have different fee schedules so you need to meet with them, make sure you feel comfortable with them (chemistry can mean a lot in any relationship; you should ensure the chemistry between you and your trainer is good. He or she is going to ask, sometimes demand, things of you that you need to be able to respond to). Once you’ve done that, discuss fees. If they appear reasonable, go for it!

The membership is a one year commitment with fees billed monthly at the rate of $40 per month for a single, $50 per month for a couple, and $60 per month for a family. There is an additional $5 discount for each session with a trainer.

There is also a special Yoga membership for $30 a month, very popular with older members. They can come in, take their yoga class and will also have a chance to use some of the other equipment.

It’s a friendly place, with management and trainers on a first name basis with all their clients. It has a great location, plenty of parking, nice and clean, plenty of fruit, juices, and water available, as well as most of the amenities you would expect at any nice health center. It is, in short, a full service gym.


Linda Karanewsky, Today





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