Calculated Loss - Man's key to dropping pounds: calorie budgeting

Published on Saturday, 15 March 2014 18:17 - Written by Coshandra Dillard

Fred Peters, of Tyler, has had much success with a do-it-yourself weight loss plan.

The public affairs and grant development director at Tyler Junior College has been on a one-man journey to get to 175 pounds since May.

He’s already down 51 pounds and is about 16 pounds away from his goal. He’s gone from a 44-inch waist to 37 inches. Peters also is a Lighten Up East Texas participant, dropping 10 pounds since he weighed in for the contest.

Standing 5-foot-11, he weighed 242 at his heaviest. That put his body mass index at about 33. People with a BMI 30 or higher are considered obese.

“I feel like I needed to do something,” Peters said. “Like a lot of people, I tried workout routines, diets, eating salads. But I never really had a calculated, daily plan.”

That daily plan has been his key to success.

“Having a daily budget, everyday is like a pay period,” he said. “I’ve never approached life that way. Every day, you wake up, you have a certain amount of calories you can spend. You can add to that number by exercising.”

Working a fairly sedentary job, Peters makes use of TJC’s scenic campus by taking regular walks. While he utilizes a treadmill and exercise bike at East Texas Medical Center’s Olympic Plaza, his focus has been on calories.

He consumes about 2050 calories each day and counts everything he eats via the Calorie Count app.

He said it’s important to know how calorie-dense foods are, particularly those at restaurants. This is especially important for salad bars and other so-called healthy dishes.

“Sometimes the things that we think are healthy, really aren’t healthy at all,” he said, noting that he quickly found that Chinese buffet dishes were not good options. “That’s what really got me consciously recording everything I do.”

He’s gone a year without having a pizza delivered, but that doesn’t mean he always gives up on not-so-healthy foods.

“You can splurge every now and then,” he said. “But if I know I’m going to splurge at night, I might workout longer during the day.”

Not only has he dropped pounds, but his health also improved. During a physical in November, he learned that his blood pressure was better. His doctor reduced his medication, going from 40 milligrams twice a day to 10 milligrams once each day.

He hopes to get off blood pressure medication completely.



A calorie and fitness daily budget will be different for everyone, Peters said. He opts for eating most of his calories later in the day and he only does cardio. He said he understands that weight lifting would help him reach his goals, but gaining weight, although muscle, actually discouraged him.

“My approach now is I’m going to get down to my goal weight before I start adding weights,” he said.

ETMC Olympic Plaza trainer Cassie Ebert said as long as someone has a healthy approach, tailor-made weight-loss routines are fine.

“I agree that fitness and weight loss is not cookie cutter,” she said. “What works for someone may not work for someone else.”

While an individual approach to weight loss regimen is ideal, Ms. Ebert said people should do some research. Otherwise, they could make common mistakes, such as cutting too many calories.

“You’ve got to have education behind it,” she said.

When Peters reaches his goal, he’ll set new ones, such as eliminating diet sodas.

He’s encouraged to continue on his weight-loss path when others notice his results.

“What keeps me motivated is people saying, ‘Wow, you’re looking good. Keep it up,’” he said.