No fancy diets here

Norrises lost 125 pounds in 12 months

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Tom and Monica Norris, who have lost a combined 125 pounds over the past 12 months, will broadcast live Saturday morning at Humboldt Community Fieldhouse as part of the Allen County Meltdown II kickoff and weigh-in. The Norrises are owners of KIKS and KIOL Radio in Iola. They followed two basic edicts in shedding the pounds: they counted calories and exercised more. At left is a photo of the Norrises from April 2007.

Winning the battle of the bulge came down to two simple steps for Tom and Monica Norris.
“We exercised more and we counted calories,” Monica said. “People have asked if we used some fancy diet. Our ‘fancy diet’ was good, old-fashioned counting cal-ories.”
Over the past 12 months, the Norrises have lost a combined 125 pounds, an effort that included participation in the first Allen County Meltdown last spring.
While they aren’t signing up for the sequel, the Norrises will be on hand to tout the benefits of healthy living for the upcoming 10-week effort.
The Norrises, owners of KIKS and KIOL Radio in Iola, will broadcast live Saturday at the kickoff weigh-in for Allen County Meltdown II at Humboldt Community Fieldhouse. The weigh-in runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Attendance is mandatory to participate in this year’s Meltdown, as are weekly weigh-ins.
“Actually, it’s a great incentive to be involved this way,” Tom said. “If we’re helping promote the Meltdown, we better be keeping the weight off.”

TOM AND Monica started their weight-loss effort last January, a few months before the first Meltdown began.
They had tried similar weight-loss projects before, but those efforts — followed by their normal eating habits — caused the weight to come back. In order to shed the excess pounds permanently, they agreed a change in mindset was mandatory.
Paying attention to the food they ate was the highest priority.
“We were always really bad at just eating whatever and not thinking about it,” Monica said. “The calories add up pretty quickly that way.”
“I’m a big meat-eater,” Tom added. “We had to cut back on a lot of the meat and cheese.”
The easiest way to count calories was by reading food labels. Fat-filled meals were replaced each day with soups or prepackaged frozen meals such as Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones with clearly marked labels so they knew their precise fat, sodium and calorie intake.
As an example of how counting calories changed their eating habits, the Norrises point to the salad bar.
“You think it’s healthy until you realize how much cheese, bacon bits and salad dressing you’re putting on there,” Monica said.

EATING better was only half the story.
Daily exercise routines — at first a laborious task — quickly became easier.
The Norrises set up an elliptical machine in their home with a television nearby.
“Those machines are fantastic,” Tom said. “You exercise both your upper and lower body.”
And if, say, an episode of “Seinfeld” is on, the exercise goes by even more quickly.
“Just use the machine and watch an episode,” he said. “The next thing you know, you’ve done a pretty good 30-minute workout.”
Slowly but steadily the pounds came off.
Monica noted that seemingly easy tasks — toting a load of laundry upstairs — no longer left her out of breath.
“We went to the 2008 Final 4 in San Antonio, and our seats were at the very top row of the stadium,” Tom said. “Walking those steps about killed us. We had to take a break halfway.”
No longer.
Since January 2009, Tom has shed more than 55 pounds; Monica, more than 70.
“I actually went below my goal because I knew the holidays were coming,” Tom said. “I put on a few pounds over Christmas to get back to my goal weight.”

THINKING BACK, the Norrises realized their two basic tenets of losing weight actually involved a three-step process.
“Maintenance was hard for a while,” Monica said.
“Getting started was never a problem, and then you get rolling with it, and everything’s good,” Tom said. “But after a while, you think it’s getting old. It can be hard to keep going.”
The key, he said, is to repeat the healthier eating and exercise routines until they become habits.
It’s also important to realize that through the Meltdown, participants are in the same boat with dozens of others, Monica noted.
“I think we’ve been successful because we’ve both been doing it. We could lean on each other for support. You can do that through Meltdown, too.”

SATURDAY’S broadcast begins at 8 a.m. at the fieldhouse. The Norrises will also feature Meltdown II information every other Monday during their morning “Trading Post” broadcasts.