Challenge,  running

Losing Weight

Might Be The Hardest Challenge I Have Ever Done…

Now, granted, I am being successful at it. Frighteningly slowly and certainly not in a straight down line. But it dawned on me this week that this might be simply the hardest challenge I have ever taken on, and I’ve tackled some big challenges over the years.

For three years now I have aimed at a marathon here in Las Vegas. For a year before I moved and also last year. Both previous times (and maybe one other a few years earlier) flat didn’t work because I couldn’t get the weight down fast enough to ramp up the running in time.

With bad knees and back, no chance I was going to run that far carrying extra weight. Nope.

And last year I got injured the night before the race when I took a fall and I still did the half marathon. Mostly walking, but I finished it.

Now this year I am within a couple pounds of what I consider running weight and what the government considers “normal” weight. (Safe weight for my knees.)

At one point I was morbidly obese, on high blood pressure medication, and near diabetic. Now I am off all medications, eighty-plus pounds lighter and almost in the normal weight range. When I hit 100 pounds lost total, which is my goal, I will show you a then and now picture.

But the last bit of weight has come off so slowly this summer (even though I haven’t missed on anything, including averaging well over 10,000 steps per day, and eating healthy) that I am now worried once again about making the marathon in the middle of November.

It might be one more year and I flat hate that.

This is like a novel deadline. Clock is ticking, I am ramping up speed and distance, but it doesn’t feel like the two will hit at the right deadline time.

I know this feeling, felt it a lot when writing to deadlines in traditional publishing all those years. So still going at it. Still time.

But without a doubt, losing weight is the hardest challenge anyone tackles. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, just really, really hard.

And for those of you about to ask, I am on the eat right, eat less, move around more diet. In other words, a healthy lifestyle.


  • Jason M

    Good on you, Dean. Losing weight gets harder as you get older because the metabolism slows down so much. Losing 100 lbs in your late 60s is like losing 200 lbs in your 40s. Quite an accomplishment.

  • Steven Mohan

    Congratulations, Dean! This is great news! Losing weight is a hard thing–but I have no doubt you can do any hard thing you set your mind to.

    I’ve lost 19.2 lbs so far this year, mostly by doing 8-10 miles on the stationary bike in the morning and walking everywhere I can. Half a pound a week is slower than my goal rate, but it’s not nothing.

    Anyway, good job! Keep at it!

  • Mike

    Fail to success, Dean. Congrats on the progress. Really inspiring stuff.

    And keep pushing, the end is always the hardest slog. That’s what makes the win feel so good.

  • Scott Carter

    This book changed my entire view of nutrition and exercise, Dean. Highly recommend it:

    The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

    Not a diet book. My biggest takeaway from it? That when and how often we eat is just as important as what and how much. It makes complete sense from an evolutionary point of view, too. Lost 22 pounds in three months and doubt I’ll be gaining it back. Exercise (while important for overall health reasons) was only a minor part of the equation, too, and he explains why. Read it and we can chat about it in October. 🙂

    • Jason M

      A trainer at my gym is a former fatty, and he trains a lot of obese people.
      I said to him one day, sweating, “This working out is helpful, but good health really 80% diet, isn’t it?”
      He shook his head and said, “No, you’re wrong. It’s 90% diet.”

      • dwsmith

        Yup. Calories in, calories out. I have changed my diet around enough that I eat about 1200 to 1500 calories a day and am never hungry. I burn between 2,500 and 3,000 calories a day. I eat a lot of protein and green stuff. For example, tonight for dinner had a wonderful grilled turkey breast with sauteed asparagus in olive oil with a little garlic. About 75 calories for the asparagus and about 175 for the turkey breast. Completely filling and great.

  • Michael Kingswood

    One of the more frustrating things that’s happened to me in the last five years was when I was training for a marathon in 2015 and broke my toe three weeks before the race.


    The race subsequently got cancelled, but it still sucked. Then I healed up…and broke a toe on the other foot!


    When I finally got healed from that and started running again….plantar fasciitis! W. T. F. I’d heard you turn 40 and it all goes to hell but…geez! 😉

    I’ve been slowly getting back to running over the last three and a half years, and have packed on some lbs due to the less activity…and other reasons as well. Part of it was I did a LOT more lifting than I used to (raised my bench by 40 lbs last year and my squat by 60). But I also did bad things, like slacking in lifting this year. So the lbs are not all muscle; most aren’t. 🙁 Darn that whole needing to have self-discipline thing! Now I’m starting to right the ship, and I’m feeling your pain there a bit.

    You can do it! Git ‘r done!


  • Gus Rystrom

    I really enjoyed the article. I am looking to lose weight as well and I found this website that goes into how the keto diet works, Do you think it would work and is legit?

    • dwsmith

      Dangerous in my opinion. I have looked into it and I just don’t like screwing with the body for some fad thing. Eat healthy and move around more does it just fine, and keeps it off.