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When Losing Weight Feels Insurmountable

Four people found health and emotional reasons to try again.

Dan Wehr: Losing Weight to Ease Pain

Decades of climbing stairwells as an elevator repairman had decimated Dan Wehr's hip.

Not only had his hip joint worn down, but years of unhealthy eating habits and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle had also wrecked havoc on the rest of his body. At almost 300 pounds, he began suffering from sleep apnea and low energy levels -- which he unsuccessfully attempted to remedy by eating more. Sleeping would take up almost 14 hours of his day. He felt his life was turning into a listless experience.

He was in pain, and his body and health continued to decline. This was not that energetic man who once took pride in his appearance and went dancing several times a week.

"It was too difficult to move," says Wehr, 47, who lives outside of Chicago. "Everyone thinks you're a lazy slug, and you become that. I finally was fed up."

Faced with undergoing surgery for hip resurfacing in July 2007, Wehr saw an opportunity to not only fight off the excess pounds, but to also reclaim his vitality.

While recovering from the surgery and training himself to walk again, Wehr committed himself to a new lifestyle that focused on exercise and eating foods that would help him to thrive. Within four weeks, he was able to walk without any assistance or aid. His focus only sharpened as his recovery continued.

He joined a local gym and began pounding the weights. He started swimming to burn calories. He cut his meal portions and replaced sugar and candy with fruit and oatmeal. Before long, his 46-inch waist began shrinking, and his physique morphed from "a pyramid into a V," he says.

Within a year, Wehr’s nearly 300-pound frame shrank to 245 pounds. His confidence -- and health -- began to soar.

"It's made such a difference in my life," he says. "I feel absolutely terrific about myself."

The sleep apnea has all but disappeared and Wehr is now filled with energy, sleeping only half of what he once did. His new weight of 245 pounds is somewhat deceptive, he says, as he's gone from sporting flab to showcasing slabs of muscle.

"I've lost tons of inches," he says, noting that he can now lift 275 pounds on an incline bench press. "My chest has caught up with my belly, which has gone down considerably. Nothing jiggles any more. I'm as strong as a bull."

Friends and family are astonished at the transformation he has undergone physically and mentally. To add to his accomplishments, his prowess in the pool attracted the attention of the local swim team, which extended an invitation to join.

The transformation has been far more than physical: it's reignited passions he thought had faded. Now, you couldn't tear away his attitude.

"It's given me back a life," Wehr says. "My determination and pride in myself is only going to grow from here. There’s no way I'm going back to the way I was. No way."

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