Doyle has completely changed his diet and is now a workout warrior
Doyle Mehl was one of the better bowlers in the area. He has rolled a perfect 300 game and carried an average of between 190 and 200. But on the opening week of bowling season in September 2016, he couldn’t do it. The combination of a bad hip and being extremely overweight left him unable to bowl. “Physically, I couldn’t do the thing I loved the most,” Doyle recalled. “I decided right then it was time to do something. I needed help.”
Doyle weighed in excess of 400 pounds at the time. Walking, climbing steps and getting in and out of vehicles was anywhere from difficult to nearly impossible. “I didn’t want to do anything,” the 45-year-old admitted. “I got tired easy and was worn out and exhausted all the time.”
Doyle admitted he ate way too much food. “There was nothing I wouldn’t eat and I don’t think I ate anything that was healthy,” he said. By the end of September, he weighed 410 pounds, needed pants with a 58-inch waistline and wore shirts size 5X.
But that was then. Today, you see a lot less of Doyle. He has completely changed his diet and is a workout warrior. He now wears pants with a 38-inch waistline and shirts size XL. And, oh yes, he has shed 180 pounds and dropped his weight to 230.
“It was a challenge,” Doyle said. “I had to completely change how I ate and I had to begin exercising. It’s never been about the number on the scale. For me, it’s about being healthy.” It took a great deal of will and determination to change his lifestyle. But Doyle has accomplished that. And he received some help from Physician’s Choice Wellness in Effingham.
“They helped me turn my life around,” Doyle emphasized. He started at the clinic during the last week of September 2016. Just two weeks ago, on January 11, he celebrated his final day there as an active member of the program.
“We are a medically monitored weight loss clinic,” said Patty Clarey-Henry, the program director. “We are not a cookie-cutter program. We are totally about the individual and what they need. They might be 16 years old or 83 and they might need to lose 20 pounds or 200. We will design a program for each person.”
Based on Doyle’s condition and weight, he was initially placed on a very low caloric program and encouraged to begin exercising, which he could on-site at the clinic’s gym.
“We needed to break his old habits from food and develop new habits along the way,” Patty explained. “Doyle really dove in. As he broke his bad food habits, he picked up really good exercise habits and started seeing success right away.”
Doyle lost 11 pounds the first week. After just two months, he had dropped 50 pounds. His weight loss reached 100 pounds after five months and 150 pounds after nine months. But there were plenty of challenges along the way. “There were times I waivered,” Doyle remembered. “Fairly early in the process, I had one really bad weekend and put on nine pounds. I was very disappointed, but that served as motivation for me.”
And exercising was tough, as well. “They wanted me to do the elliptical. I could get on it, but barely make it move,” Doyle said. “I couldn’t get it to go fast enough to even register a speed. There’s no way I could have gone five minutes. Today, I do 45 to 60 minutes at 6 to 9 miles per hour. That’s a comfortable pace for me.”
During his time in the program, Doyle had a life coach, met with a dietician, an exercise specialist and was monitored by a medical doctor on staff. There were also class times with other people that had lost anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds. They shared about their experience and also served as support. “At first, it was very difficult,” Doyle said. “The first month or two, I still had strong cravings when it came to food. In fact, I still have cravings. I just had to learn to overcome those and accept the fact that I didn’t need that food.”
Doyle and Kris, his wife of 23 years, live in Heartville. He is a 1990 graduate of Effingham High School and has worked at 3Z Printing in Teutopolis for 23 years. “I was always a little heavy, but never grossly heavy. But I was never a scrawny kid either,” Doyle said. “I started putting on a lot of weight while recovering after I was in a serious accident in 1999. I was hit by a drunk driver. I just got lazy after that.” Doyle ballooned from about 250 pounds to over 400. The most he ever weighed was 430 pounds. But those days are behind him now. His wife has also lost 15 pounds and has been there supporting him all along the way, as have his friends and co-workers.
“You can’t do something like this alone,” Doyle noted. “You have to get a support group to help. My family and friends were all aware of what I was doing and continually encouraged me.”
So what’s Doyle’s ultimate goal? “If I drop some more weight, fine. If I stay where I’m at, that’s fine, too,” he said. “I don’t want to be a skinny-mini, but I don’t want to be the person I was before. I just want to be healthy.”
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