Marty’s Weight Loss Success Story


“I hope you don’t expect me to join a gym and work out with a bunch of 20-year-olds,” Marty told me after I suggested he get more exercise. “Because I don’t think they make leotards in my size.”

Marty had a point. Even without the extra weight he was carrying in his midsection, Marty was the ideal customer for a Big and Tall menswear store. A former college football player, Marty had experienced plenty of rigorous exercise in his 20s. “I can’t do sprints and jumping jacks and all that other stuff anymore. That’s for kids. Getting the recliner to go up and down is about all the exertion I can handle now.”

I understood Marty’s reluctance to pick up where he left off with exercise 40-some years ago. He was out of shape, and even though he had lost 24 pounds recently, Marty still had another 50 or so to go. He wasn’t interested in anything too strenuous, and who could blame him? But sitting around all day was not helpful. I had diagnosed Marty with metabolic syndrome, or prediabetes, two years earlier. The weight he’d lost was helpful, but he could do more to prevent full-blown diabetes from setting in, and I told him as much. “Why don’t you try something that’s not too challenging, like yoga?”

I expected Marty to let loose with one of this trademark booming belly laughs, but he surprised me by nodding in agreement. “This probably sounds crazy, but I do want to try yoga. Both my daughters love it, and they’ve been after me, too. Maybe I’ll look into that.”

We left the discussion there, and I really didn’t expect much to change. Both Marty’s daughters live on the East Coast. I never imagined Marty would do anything as far out of his comfort zone as yoga unless someone actually took him to a studio and helped him get the hang of it. Eighteen months later when I saw Marty again, I discovered I’d been wrong.

“I lost 30 pounds so far, my blood pressure is down, and I can touch my toes now. And that’s from just three hours of yoga a week. What do you think, Doc?”

“I think that’s truly impressive, Marty,” I replied. “How do you feel?”

As you might imagine, Marty felt great. He told me he was sleeping better and his energy was back. “This must sound crazy, but I think much more clearly now. I used to read a paragraph in a book or magazine three or four times before I got it. Now I can read it once and move on. This is really the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Marty’s experience is in line with researchers’ findings that show yoga helps decrease stress and fatigue that often clouds our thinking. In addition, clinical trials show that people who do yoga lose weight and body fat, develop flexibility, and reduce blood pressure and inflammation. And as Marty noted, yoga can be tailored to each individual’s specific needs. And as Marty noted, yoga can be tailored to each individual’s specific needs. “I really like that all I have to do is tell the instructor if my knee is bothering me or whatever, and she shows me how to do the exercises without making it worse. I used to think yoga was some woo-woo thing that no real guy would ever get involved in. And now I’ve got a couple friends who go with me every week. Of course, I’ve got my girls cheering me on, and that helps. But it’s really just feeling better that keeps me going back.”


Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: November 5, 2012