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From Risky Health Status to a Better Life
Date:1/15/2010

ertheless, I dreaded going back for a follow-up blood test, worried that all the work wasn't going to show the hoped-for and needed results. Finally in September, I bit the bullet and returned to the doctor's office.

The results were stunning. Everything that had been dangerously elevated was within normal levels. Blood glucose. Triglycerides. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Liver enzymes. And weight? 210 pounds.

Weaver's note with the official results arrived with "wow" and "exceptional" and "terrific" next to some of the better numbers. "Your body is responding beautifully," he wrote in the note, which I hung in my home office. "Keep up the good work."

And that, of course, is the next challenge.

Slacking off could mean regaining some or all of the weight. I do indulge now and then: Recently I had my first fried chicken in nearly a year. But I know the importance of staying vigilant -- continuing to eat right and exercise.

The benefits are there to remind me, too. I have lots of energy, and exercise has provided much-needed stress relief. And I'm riding stronger than ever, recently completing two century bike rides that each involved riding more than 100 miles in one day, finishing with minimal soreness and exhaustion.

Maintaining weight loss, though, is a never-ending process, Gray said.

"It's a huge challenge for people to lose weight because a lot of people aren't committed. They know what they need to do. The hardest thing to do is do it. A large percentage of people I know start off great and then fall off the wagon within a few months," she said.

"In the end, your health is what matters," Gray added. "Your health is what you're changing and improving."

More information

The U.S. Weight-control Information Network has more on the health benefits of weight loss'/>"/>

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