Nicki Anderson: Life is good 90 pounds lighter
By Nicki Anderson For The Sun January 14, 2013 1:52PM
Ninety pounds lighter, Dean Champman now runs triathlons and exercises almost daily. | Submitted
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:14AM
Last year I completed my first full Sprint Triathlon. The great thing about these events is you often meet people who are novices, too. Once you start sharing stories, you realize everyone has a personal story that prompted them to participate. Dean Chapman of Naperville is one of those people.
Though I didn’t know his entire story when we met, I could tell that his journey to the triathlon had been a long one. I didn’t know how right I had been.
Twenty-three years after playing NCAA football, Dean’s once-athletic physique carried an extra 90 pounds. He and his wife, Teresa, along with their son, Tyler, had fallen into busy suburban life, and Dean lost sight of being active and eating healthy. At 280 pounds, not only was Dean suffering from chronic fatigue, he had high cholesterol, sleep apnea and 40 percent of his body was fat.
“I didn’t exercise regularly, nor did I limit what I consumed,” he said. “I believed that food, alcohol and cigars provided me the comfort I needed to deal with the stress of long hours building my career.”
That is, until he got a subtle wake-up call.
“It wasn’t until I was getting ready for work one morning when my wife asked why I shower with the bathroom lights off,” he said. “At that moment, it hit me. I was too ashamed to see my girth in the mirror. That is the moment I decided I had to change my unhealthy routine.”
In January 2009, Dean started a new job and committed to regular exercise. He joined an onsite group fitness program that was offered through his employer.
“I started with one-hour basic boot camp sessions a couple of times per week, during my lunch hour,” he said. “Instead of eating during my lunch hour, I brought a healthy lunch or grabbed a salad in our cafeteria and ate at my desk.”
When Dean made the decision to change his lifestyle, his wife was behind him 100 percent. His co-workers also provided some much-needed support by joining in on the group fitness classes. But Dean owes a lot to the group fitness instructor Brent Parkhill.
“Brent inspired me from day one. Nearly four years later, he is still my biggest cheerleader,” Dean said. “We are quite compatible in terms of our past athletic history and our thoughts on exercising with the proper form and nutrition. We both agree that there is no greater promise than a promise you make to yourself and your family.”
Naturally, the shift from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one posed it challenges. Dean had to prioritize his weekly work schedule to fit in his lunchtime workouts. Muscle soreness, though a natural part of workouts, can be a deterrent for people, but Dean worked through it. He knew that every day he was able to eat right and exercise, his life was moving in a positive direction.
“After three months into my plan, I had lost approximately 28 pounds, and my wife made a commitment to fitness, too,” he said. “We joined Xsport Fitness together and focused on clean eating. We made a concentrated effort to eat more fish, lean meats, fruits and vegetables and get rid of processed foods.”
To date, Dean has lost more than 90 pounds, and three years later, he has maintained his dedication to a healthy lifestyle. His success story was featured in Men’s Fitness magazine a couple of years ago, and his boss featured him as a success story at work. He loves helping others who ask him about his success. But he’s incredibly proud that his wife has lost about 35 pounds.
“I weigh approximately 185 to 190 pounds, and I’m at 10 percent body fat,” he said. “My blood pressure is normal as are my cholesterol levels. I sleep through the night and continue my lunch time workouts at my office four to five times per week. I also exercise with my wife at the gym two to three times per week.”
For those looking to make some big changes, Dean is a proponent of the SMART system of goal setting. Make sure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
“Surround yourself with positive influence such as friends and family whom you love and love you,” Dean said. “But those same loved ones must be honest with you and help you succeed. Always give that extra effort when exercising to the point of near failure. You can choose to go hard or go home. It is not easy, but when you see the great results, that is what will make you and your loved ones proud.”
Congratulations, Dean. See you at the triathlon!