Lyster patient sheds half his body fat
Randy Welch runs toward the finish line during his latest half marathon. Welch has lost half his body fat since starting his diet and exercise routine.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 4, 2013) -- When Randy Welch retired from the Army, he took a break from exercising and soon found his trim figure expanding.

At his heaviest, Welch weighed in at 240 pounds and carried more than 30 percent body fat.

When he took a job as an instructor pilot, he had a hard time passing his flight physical.

"It didn't take long for me to gain weight and it became more and more difficult to pass a flight physical," he said. "Each year the doctors would advise me to exercise, but I didn't take them seriously."

His solution was to take a pill to fix his health problems, which included onset diabetes and hypertension.

"Each year I got a new medicine or an increase in dosage to attempt to keep my numbers under control so I could pass my flight physical," Welch said.

Two years ago, he decided to make a lifestyle change, and started exercising again and watching his food intake.

"I started by counting calories on my smart phone," he said, adding he also found a space to add in exercise and calories burned. "If I walked I could eat more calories, so I started walking every day."

His competitive spirit led him to walk faster each day until he was able to jog.

"After a couple weeks, I found myself jogging and soon was running 3.2 miles," he said. "Then I decided I would try to beat my time once a week and did this for 90 days."

Welch never missed a day and saw the pounds come flying off.

In less than six months, he lost more than 15 percent body fat and dropped 65 pounds.

At a friend's suggestion, he entered a 5K race. Today, he has run countless 5K and 10K races, 12 half marathons, one marathon and a 200-mile relay race.

He currently weighs 175 pounds and has less than 15 percent body fat.

"I'm completely off some prescribed medication and have significantly reduced dosage of another," he said. "My numbers resemble those of a young man!"

His provider, Elizabeth Johnson-Bailey, has noticed improvement in his blood pressure as well.

"When I first saw his chart, I thought I picked up the wrong one because I was holding information for a man who weighed more than 200 pounds with all sorts of health issues," she said.

When Welch told her that he accomplished his weight loss through diet and exercise, she said she was amazed.

"Very few people are determined enough to lose weight the healthy way, but he did it and is keeping the weight off," she said.

Welch just completed his 13th half marathon and plans to keep running.

"I feel great," he said. "I now consider myself a runner!"

Page last updated Thu April 4th, 2013 at 13:04