Fit tip: Former firefighter gives advice for weight loss, eating healthy

<p>Former Morton Grove firefighter, Howard Meyer, talks about his weight loss journey.  |  Submitted</p>

Former Morton Grove firefighter, Howard Meyer, talks about his weight loss journey.  |  Submitted

Former Morton Grove firefighter, Howard Meyer, reached out to me after I posted my last fit tip about exercising at home. He was happy to see someone else promoting home exercise programs as getting to the gym for some people can be challenging.
At age 71, he managed to lose over 30 lbs. by changing only a few things in his daily routine. He shared his weight loss journey with us and offered advice for people hoping to change their lifestyle too.
Q. At what point did you decide you needed to lose weight? What inspired you to lose weight?
A. About a year after I retired I found out I had 4 ulcers and was having TIAS (mini strokes ) — I had a clogged artery that required a stent to be put in. Right then i decided to find the best way i could get fit and make heallthy life choices
Q. How much weight have you lost since you started exercising?
A. I was 192 lbs when I started my program and am 165 now.
Q. How often do you exercise and what type of exercises do you like most?
A. I exercise every other day because it takes muscles 48 hours to recover fully. I have only used a Health Rider rowing machine that I modified to accept more free weights behind the seat area. It works all the major and most of the minor muscle groups in the body at one time.
I have used it exclusively for more than 20 years now. It was misunderstood and not popular when it first came on the market, but now as people begin to see the entire range of exercise possibilities, it is getting very popular with all age groups. Aerobic and resistance movements are done simultaneously at ANY degree of effort the user desires.
My rider is slightly reinforced to accept greater weights, but it took time to work up to this level.
The basic movement of the machine is sitting and pulling yourself up an inclined plane that can be altered to make the movement more difficult. I use it at home while listening to music for 30 minutes a day. The core legs and abs are worked seperately by changing the handle position and adding more weight. An exercise program has to be sustainable — low or no impact — and able to take someone from a low to a very high level of fitness. In my opinion, this does it all.
Q. Did you change your eating habits? If so, what did you change?
A. Regarding diets, I would say that until you get your weight into a healthy condition as measured by body fat, not weight, I would begin to slowly cut back on portions and gradually develop better food choices. Stay away from processed of any kind. Diet is a bad word other that what I just said. You should re-train your body to be able to burn fat like it did when you were younger — That’s what this system does over time. I used to gain a pound by looking at a piece of cake and now my body is very resistant to putting on weight because it is many levels fitter than it once was. I’m at 9 percent body fat!!
Q. What advice can you give to others struggling to lose weight?
A. People should start slow, be patient but persistent, and do a program that you know will work for you for a lifetime.

Do you know someone with a weight loss story? We’d love to share their journey. Submit details here or email Email Monica Kucera.

Monica Kucera is a Community News Manager with Wrapports News Service. She’s is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer. After running two marathons and several half marathons, she loves helping people reach their own fitness and health goals! Email her with fit questions or comments at