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Single dad on right path, stops eating 'family-size'

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Alex Gillespie, 52, of Bentonville, Ark., packed on pounds over the years by eating too much late at night. As a single dad, he also found himself buying family-size quantities of food at the grocery store. n He tried many diet plans from Atkins to Weight Watchers but never stuck with them. n Then, one day this summer, he heard a friend of his 5-year-old daughter say, ''Your daddy is funny but really fat.'' He decided to change once and for all. n USA TODAY's Weight-Loss Challenge spurred him on and gave him the momentum to stick with it.Occupation: Salesman

Starting weight: 295 pounds on July 19

Current weight: 279

Height: 6-foot-3

Motivation: ''I'm tired of dreaming. I am tired of looking at people and wanting to look like them. I am tired of looking at myself and knowing that I could do better.

''And, most of all, I am tired of not showing my beautiful child (Brianna) that a person can be anything they want to be if they just take the first step.''

Program: He has stopped eating after 8 p.m. and has more protein at his last meal for the day.

''I'm now using a lot of protein shakes and eating a lot of salmon. Calories do count. The bottom line is calories.''

''I've got to eat a decent-sized breakfast or I'm lethargic most of the day.

''I bought a heavy punching bag, which I use three times a week for about 20 minutes. It's a great workout and allows me to get frustrations out. I work out with weights for an hour three days a week.''

Pitfall: ''When I don't have my child, I am alone, which is more empty than I realized. I tend to stay near the television and am bored. I hate television, but it's on all the time.''

Insights: ''I noticed this week that I went into the kitchen to see what I had and was looking for bad foods. The best thing I did is not buy them.

''With working out, I could do more but seem to lack the enthusiasm to go for it. In the past, I worked out with different friends, and that was nice.

''Also, I get down when I see people I know and they don't notice my weight loss. This makes me mad and fires me up to show them. My daughter and I are going to the theater on Dec. 1, so I want to be 30 pounds lighter by then and fit into some clothes I used to wear when I was in shape.''

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© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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