He Did the Math and Subtracted Junk Food

My problem was that my weight was usually fine in the summertime, but in the winter, when I was less active, it ballooned up 12 to 15 pounds. The weight seemed to gather on my stomach, and when I saw this potbelly reflected in store windows, I really hated it.

My first step in controlling the weight gain was to see the problem. My activity level has been pretty good throughout my life. I began to see that my eating habits were my biggest difficulty.

I didn't really want to see or deal with this because I love junk food. A 32-ounce cup of cola, a large twice-baked croissant with powdered sugar, those two chocolate cupcakes with cream filling--yum, yum, yum. I decided two years ago to quit. But how? I was used to having breakfast and then driving to the 7-Eleven for a cola and a croissant.

I thought, "Can I give up cola? No. But I can find a substitute." So, I bought a carton of Snapple and took a bottle of it with me when I drove my car. When I got thirsty, the issue became: "Now, shall I go for a cola or try this Snapple?" More and more, Snapple won out, and I began to enjoy it more.

My second strategy was to become aware of my caloric intake. I was surprised when I read the nutritional information on packages of snacks. They contained two or three times as many calories and grams of fat as the weight-loss TV dinners I was eating.

A third strategy was to take time to eat more real food. At breakfast, I have orange juice, half an apple, banana, muesli and nonfat milk. Then I do some chores and have half a grapefruit. For a snack, I take time to enjoy a slice of watermelon or microwave a tortilla with refried beans. When I eat and enjoy real food, there is not as much temptation to eat junk food.

Finally, I find it very helpful to pal around with people who are involved in fitness and sports, who are knowledgeable and give advice and support.

At the present time, I work out four or five times a week for about 40 minutes. When I go to the gym, I do the stationary bike, weights and sit-ups. When the ocean is warm, I swim a half-mile.

The fitness program that I have developed over the years has been the best investment I have made. People tell me I don't look 72. I can swim three miles in the ocean in about two hours, boogie board and do 27 push-ups.

Vital Statistics

Name: Howard Mickel

Age: 72

Occupation: retired professor

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch

Old Weight: 182

New Weight: 169

Time Maintained: two years

Want to Share Your Success Story?

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