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Palatine man loses weight but stays same
By Kent McDill | Daily Herald Correspondent

Mike Anderson of Palatine works out at Push Fitness in Schaumburg going into his eight week.


Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Contestant Mike Anderson at Push Fitness in Schaumburg.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/3/2010 11:10 AM

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Mike Anderson is the same person he was in January, but there is less of the same person today.

Anderson, 23, participated in the Fittest Loser competition sponsored by Push Fitness of Schaumburg. He started the competition as the heaviest contestant at 378 pounds and was frustrated because he thought his weight was preventing him from getting work in the business management field.

After losing 72 pounds, the Palatine resident is ready to lose more.

"I definitely want to lose more weight," Anderson said. "I want to lose another 50 or 60 pounds.

"I am the same person, minus about 70 pounds," he said. "My back doesn't hurt so much. I am healthier and I know what kind of decisions I need to make to be healthier."

The competitors were put on a diet plan that required them to eat healthy foods and to do so five times a day. With Anderson, who works delivering auto parts, that meant preparing meals that he could bring with him in his truck.

"With my job, I used to eat fast food every day," Anderson said. "Now I am in the habit of bringing lunch to work.

"I am also in the routine of going to the gym every day, and I am not going to stop doing that."

Anderson's mother, Tricia, loves the new look of her son.

"It has been such a great thing," Tricia said. "I'm glad to see he is learning a healthy lifestyle. But I think it is going to have to be a lifestyle change for all of us in the family. We used to eat out all the time, but we are trying to do what we can to help him. I hope he follows through and keeps up with it."

Josh Steckler, co-owner of Push Fitness and Anderson's trainer during the competition, thinks he has attached himself and the training regimen to Anderson's life.

"He is taking the initiative to stay with it," Steckler said. "Physically, he has come quite a long way. When he walked in the interview the first time, he was breathing heavy just from walking.

"When he started, he seemed very angry at everything, but he has lightened up a lot on everything. He was able to talk about the things he didn't want to talk about before, how he gained the weight and why it wasn't coming off."

Steckler said Anderson suffered from "exercise-induced asthma" when his heart rate got too high, and that set him back competitively. But as the weight came off, the asthma occurred less frequently.

Steckler said Anderson's weight problems stemmed from a lack of physical activity and bad diet "but has moved past that. Everything is in place for him to be successful. We have set some new goals for him to reach for."

Tricia Anderson said she was most proud of her son for sticking with the diet, which severely reduced the amount of food her son had on a daily basis, not to mention the caloric amounts involved. But, in a push to win the competition, Anderson and Steckler further reduced his caloric intake the last two weeks.

"I'm really proud of him for not cheating at all the whole time he was dieting," she Anderson said. "Until the last couple of weeks, he had enough food to keep him full."

"At the beginning, we weren't losing the weight," Anderson said. "Josh switched up the diet and I found something that worked for us."