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Larry Moore, 72, lost over 120 pounds through Weight Watchers program


In the last year, Larry Moore, 72, rural Marengo, went from a waist size of 58 plus down to size 42. Here, the grandfather of six is shown trying on his old church slacks.

Over one year ago, Larry Moore couldn't walk two blocks without stopping to take a breath.

Then weighing in at 330 pound, Moore took several pills a day and had to sleep with a breathing machine.

Today, the 72-year-old grandfather of six walks over three miles a day and serves as an inspiration to people half his age.

In the last year, Moore has lost over 120 pounds through the Weight Watchers program and has added years to his life.

Moore said he was chunky as a teenager and has battled weight problems his whole life.

"It seems I have been dieting ever since I was born," said the rural Marengo resident.

Over the years he said he has tried everything to lose weight. He went on the Adkins diet and lost 100 pounds, but the weight loss diet wasn't sustainable. It didn't take long before the scale was tipping over 300 pounds again. Moore said he even tried a hypnotist and lost 50 pounds. But once again, the weight loss wasn't permanent.

Then on April 4, 2009, Moore attended a Weight Watchers meeting at Marengo Memorial Hospital. Moore has become a walking infomercial for the program.

"This Weight Watchers, it's got a good support group behind it. They have incentives to lose weight, and to keep it off," he said.

Before he started the program, the waist size on his pants was 58, but even those were too small. Now, Moore is a size 42. His belt is kind of a trophy, he said. His belt used to be stretched as far as it could go. Today, Moore is squeezing in his belt to the very last notch.

"I feel like a teenager again, until I have to go to work," jokes Moore, who is the supervisor for the Marengo levee.

At first, Moore said he felt like he was being treated like a kindergartener at the Weight Watchers meeting. He said he received a gold star sticker for losing his first five pounds. But then, he said earning the gold stars became something of an obsession. There were different rewards for achieving different goals. He received a small token for losing 10 percent of his body weight, and then he received another medallion for losing 50 pounds, and then another for losing 100 pounds.

At 6 feet tall, Moore's target weight was 185 pounds. However, because of health issues and his age, Moore received a doctor's prescription setting his target weight at 210 pounds.

The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, he weighed in at 210.8 pounds. By June 7, Moore weighed 207.4 pounds. He had reached his goal, and along with it, earned another gold star.

"This doesn't mean much to the average person," he said, holding up his award.

While Moore adhered strictly to the tenets of Weight Watchers - watching calories and exercising regularly - the way he went about it was unique.

"I got pretty strict about myself," he said. "I do most of my own cooking, so I have nobody to blame but myself."

Controlling portions is the name of the game. Instead of eating two pork chops, Moore will eat one small chop for dinner. He went to the ice cream social at church and donated his $10, then went home without partaking in the treats. He uses the Weight Watchers 100 calorie bread for sandwiches. And cheeseburgers, French fries and mashed potatoes and gravy are a thing of the past.

"I have pretty good control," said Moore.

He said he has become addicted to apples. He eats two to three apples a day and buys five bags of apples during each trip to the grocery store. At one point Moore was eating a cup of cottage cheese a day and instead of buying fried food at the bowling alley, he will order the fiery chicken salad with jalapeno peppers and salsa instead of dressing.

Salsa is a "free food" and has become a staple of Moore's diet. He keeps five jars of salsa on hand.

He has a favorite chicken recipe topped with salsa. Moore takes canned chicken breast and drains the water. He dices up green beans and puts it in a bowl with the chicken. He adds diced onions and tops the dish with cottage cheese and salsa. The recipe is good for two servings, so Moore portions it out for himself.

"My wife wouldn't eat it," he said. "But then I noticed a little missing. I went a few weeks without making any, and then she asks me, 'Larry, when are you making that cottage cheese thing again?'"

Another favorite of Moore's is eating stewed tomatoes with oyster crackers. Or he will eat a can of sauerkraut with ketchup on top.

"It tastes pretty good," he said. "But a skinny person probably says, 'He's crazier than hell.'"

If Moore hasn't had any meat, he said he will pick up pre-cooked meat loaf, turkey fritters or salisbury steak from Pride of Iowa.

During the holidays, Moore would keep himself to only a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin pie, or he would just nibble on the ends of the Christmas pie.

"The rule is, if it tastes good, spit it out," he said.

Exercising was another challenge for Moore. The goal for the Weight Watchers program was for members to walk a 5K over the Memorial Day program.

"It's my hardest chore. I hate walking," said Moore. "But it's something I got to do."

When Moore first started the program, he had to stop for a breath before he reached two blocks. But he pushed himself. He started by going to Gateway Park and walking the trail that circled the veterans memorial. Next, he walked to the levee and back. Before long he could walk around the circle twice without sitting down.

His next step was to walk entirely around the pond at Gateway Park, which he accomplished before winter hit.

The long, snowy winter caused another problem for Moore, but the former farmer put his ingenuity to work. Part of his winter exercise routine was to clean out his shop, which housed a pickup, a tractor and two vans. Once the shop was cleaned, Moore spent an hour day walking laps around the shop. He said it took him one minute to walk two circles around the shop. He did this in half hour increments, twice a day.

"People were buying monitors and putting them on their belts, I just counted my steps," Moore said. "I was walking three miles in my shop every day."

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Weight Watchers group planned to walk a 5K. However, Moore left at 5:30 a.m. that Sunday morning to check the pump station at the levee. He said it is 1.6 miles from the gas house to the pump station. He walked the distance both ways for a total of 3.2 miles.

Later at church, some of the Weight Watchers members asked Moore if he was going to walk the 5K with them.

"I told them I had already made it," he said.

Moore said he can't believe the benefits of losing 120 pounds, and he said he can't imagine being overweight again.

A year ago, Moore had to lay on his bed to pull on his pants. Today, he is able to reach down to tie his shoes.

Moore was diabetic and had to take two pills a day. Because he lost the weight, Moore cured himself of his diabetes.

He also takes two and a half pills less to control his blood pressure.

Moore's weight also wreaked havoc on his sleep. He couldn't sleep on his back because the fat flaps in his neck obstructed breathing, and when he slept on his stomach the fat would crush in on his lungs. He had to sleep with a mask to fight against his sleep apnea.

His doctor told him he has prolonged his life by a number of years by taking off his weight.

In addition, Moore jokes that his “arms have gotten shorter,” and it makes personal hygiene a lot easier.

Work has even gotten to become less of a chore. Moore helps his son Alan build fences, and Alan noted that his dad is a much better worker these days. In addition, Moore said that when he used to work in the shop, he had to send someone else to the house if he needed anything. Today, he goes and gets it himself.

"It's a lot easier to pick things up off the floor," Moore said. "Whether or not I will weight 300 pounds again, I don't know. But comparing my life now to how it was then, I never want to go back."


UPDATED June 24, 2010 11:16 AM

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