Eating less, with more purpose during the 2020 Fittest Loser contest
By Dick Quagliano
"Listen up, this is important!"
I spoke those words into a camera 25 years ago when my family and I did a television commercial for a frozen dinner. At that time, large frozen dinners and fast foods were part of my weekly meals. I had a young family, was working two jobs and was on the go most of the time.
And I was in shape. Not the greatest; but being very busy and still young (I was 37 at the time), I could get away with poor eating habits and a minimal exercise plan.
Time can be a cruel force if you don't respect it.
I'm still just as busy (I sell packaging products and I am a freelance high school sports writer for the Daily Herald). I am still on the run nearly every day and my eating habits, well, they still are terrible. I stopped coaching youth football after 40 years, and I barely work out, except for some walks and an occasional bike ride with my wife, Debi.
I see the kids I coached when I cover their high school games. I also interview other athletes, coaches and sometimes their families for stories I do for the Daily Herald. All the time, I feel like the old, fat guy. I know I can't do anything about the old part, but I should at least change the fat part.
The Daily Herald and Push Fitness are giving me that chance.
I am not competing for anything other than the victory that comes when you can change yourself. I am going to write a weekly column so readers can follow along on that change.
I began this journey earlier this month when I met Josh Steckler, owner of Push Fitness in Schaumburg. He showed me a dietary plan that has me eating healthier and more often (five times per day) and I am consuming around 2,000 calories per day. I have already begun, and I have to say I am not hungry, and I am eating quite well.
We also scheduled workouts two days a week at Push Fitness, along with a workout schedule at home. In addition, every Saturday I will participate in a group workout -- the Push Fitness "boot camp" -- with the real Fittest Loser contestants. I know they are all as motivated as I am.
It all sounds very challenging, but I am ready to make that change. However, there is one more part to this for me.
I have always been taught that it is important to give back to your community. It can be coaching, volunteering at various organizations or churches, community service work or other things to make this small world just a better place.
It can also come from donating money for those who are in need.
One of the co-sponsors of this Fittest Loser Challenge is the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva. They are wonderful people who assist those in our community.
The Daily Herald, Push Fitness and the Northern Illinois Food Bank have given me a tremendous opportunity to help me change my life. So, in that spirit, my family wants to help as well.
We will donate $10 for every pound I lose to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. You can, if you like, follow along and encourage me on that journey and donate to the NIFB as well.
A caveat, in the event you wish to donate. My goal is to lose 30 pounds during this 12-week process. Typically, however, guys my weight who follow the program could lose around 20% of their weight. I weighed in at 273.
I am eating less and, in return, others in need will be able to eat more.
And that is really important.
• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald. In addition, he maintains a full-time day job as a packaging salesman. He and his wife Debi have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.