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Getting serious about losing weight Low-carb eating and exercise help two local men take off the pounds.

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, at 12:05 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010, at 9:18 a.m.

Pat White of Maize weighed more than 300 pounds and Jerome Biggars of Wichita was nearing 500 when they decided they'd had enough. The two are shadows of their former selves these days, White having lost about 80 pounds and Biggars more than 260.

They took similar approaches to weight loss — both opted for low-carb, "real food" eating.

But the real key to success, both say, was deciding that they were ready to be serious about losing weight.

Here is a look at how they did it, plus three low-carb recipes from Biggars:

Jerome Biggars

Biggars, who is 46, was an active teen and 20-something who quit moving and started eating "the wrong foods."

From 220 pounds, his weight jumped to 300 in a year, then crept up from there, to 493. He is 5-foot-11.

He had to take rest breaks while grocery shopping. He endured rude comments and children's pointing.

And he finally told himself it was time to act.

"You can't make somebody lose weight," he says. "They've got to decide it themselves."

A friend had lost 30 pounds through Take Off Pounds Sensibly, so Biggars joined in December 2008. A month or so later, he also started at Medi-Weightloss of Kansas, a low-calorie, low-carb plan overseen by Andover physician Jeannine Cobb.

He also started exercising again, at first just 15 minutes at a time on an exercise bicycle. Now, he takes four or five spinning classes a week, lifts weights three times a week and runs three or four miles three times a week.

"I'm usually at the gym most days at 4:30 in the morning."

He still follows a low-carb diet, with nearly all of his carbs coming from fruits and vegetables. And he still attends TOPS meetings.

Later this week, Biggars will have a tummy tuck, to get rid of excess skin. He hopes to be at 225 pounds going into surgery, with an ultimate goal of 193. That's appropriate for his height and would get him to an even 300-pound loss.

To help maintain the loss, Biggars already has set several goals for himself: run the 10K River Run in May, the Prairie Fire half marathon in October, the full marathon in 2011. Before he turns 50, he wants to participate in a mini Ironman triathlon and Bike Across Kansas.

Pat White

White, who is 34, is 6-foot-4 and says he has always been big.

But about two years ago, he discovered that his weight had crept up to 310, from the 270 or so he usually weighed.

"I'd never been to 300 pounds in my life," he says.

His clothes weren't fitting, he didn't feel good, and he'd gotten to that point "where, OK, that's enough," he says.

On his own, he switched to a low-carb eating plan and started exercising. His wife and sister-in-law had always been runners, so White went to the track "and ran, like, a lap and about died." But a lap turned to two, then three, then to a mile.

Every week, he tracked his progress and posted his weight in his office, where he could see it. "I think the visual helped," he says. "It was kind of a reminder."

His children helped keep him on track, too, telling him, "Dad, that's not on your diet" when they saw him reaching for something he shouldn't.

Over about a year and a half, White has lost 80 pounds though he added a few over the holidays. He'd like to get to about 200 pounds eventually.

"I think my fear is that once I get my weight down to where I want it, it will go back up," he says. "Once you're there, there's nothing to keep you motivated."

But wanting to keep up with his five children and not wanting to return to where he'd been — plus a picture from those days — help keep him on track.

He still tries to run three to six miles a day, five days a week, and has printed out a training schedule for a half marathon in April.

He also still limits carbs and tracks calories "because that's what worked for me."


Crustless Spinach Quiche

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach

4 oz. reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups egg substitute

1/4 cup chopped white onions

Allow spinach to thaw and drain excess water. Combine all ingredients. Coat muffin pan with nonstick spray. Fill each muffin cup with 1/2 cup of mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. About 110 calories per quiche.

The Wichita Eagle—01/26/10

Crustless Pepperoni Pizza

1/2 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon low-sugar spaghetti sauce

9 slices turkey pepperoni

Other veggie toppings (optional)

In small nonstick skillet, melt cheese until edges and bottom begin to lightly brown. Spread spaghetti sauce over cheese. Add pepperoni slices and other veggie toppings, if desired. Fold over as for omelet to serve. About 200 calories.

The Wichita Eagle—01/26/10

Tilapia Almondine

5 oz. tilapia fillet

1 tablespoon sliced almonds

1 tablespoon fat-free margarine

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Spray glass baking pan with nonstick spray. Lay fillet in pan. In a small bowl, blend fat-free spread, lemon juice, paprika and salt. Mixture doesn't need to be smooth. Mix in almonds. Spread over fish. Bake 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. You can finish the fish under the broiler for a few minutes to get an extra bit of "toast" on the almonds if desired. Sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley (optional). About 170 calories.

The Wichita Eagle—01/26/10

Reach Karen Shideler at 316-268-6674 or kshideler@wichitaeagle.com.

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