Tuesday, March 09, 1999

Harry Moore shares his diet secrets

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The letter was brief, to the point:

        “The photo on the left is what I looked like before I started reading your column in the Enquirer. The photo on the right is how I look now. A coincidence? I think NOT.”

        The change was dramatic.

        Harry Moore had dropped 139 pounds. His blood pressure had gone from 146/88 to 132/74. Blood sugars dropped from 296 to 91. Cholesterol plummeted from 274 to 168. By now, his doctors are turning handstands.

        And there's more. Soon, his tailor and menswear clerk are joining the celebration. Harry needs all new clothes. His waist went from 54 inches to 34 inches. His neck shrank 6 inches, and his shoe size went from 11 to 91/2. He lost 14 inches from his chest.

        All from reading my column, Harry?

        “Not exactly.”

        OK, Harry, let's start at the beginning.

        The beginning was Dover, Ky., where Harry was known as Peewee. He left home for college at Eastern Kentucky State University. There he gained 60 pounds. “My mom was English, so she was a good cook. But bland, very bland.” He discovered the joy of cheeseburgers and beer.

        After graduation, he taught shop at Walnut Hills High School. He was not svelte, but he was holding his own in the weight department.

        Then he got a divorce. Fat city.

        He joined one of those packaged meal diet plans and lost about 40 pounds. “They'd test your urine to see if you were cheating.”

        I guess he cheated.

        He gained the pounds he'd lost and several more for good measure. “I was officially "morbidly overweight,'” he says.

        Then he went on a liquid diet. He had six chocolate shakes a day and dropped 80 pounds in 15 weeks. It didn't take him long to get that 80 pounds back plus 60 more.

        In 1995, Harry, who was 5-feet-91/2 inches tall, weighed 304 pounds. Worse than that, his doctors told him he was diabetic. And worst of all, that he would have to lose weight. Again.

        “It just seemed overwhelming,” Harry says. “I'd have to lose 60 pounds just to be considered morbidly obese.”

        He started slowly, walking 10 minutes a day. Every week, he increased his walk by a minute a day. Then he joined Weight Watchers and started eating sensibly. “I also faced up to the fact that being overweight was my own responsibility. My mother and my ex-wives were not to blame.”

        Today, he walks an hour a day, six times a week. He feels great, and he's off the diabetes drugs.


        Harry, 49, who lives in Northside, says he wrote me because he wants everybody to know that they don't have to squeeze into airplane seats and dread stepping on the scales. I said I'd pass his story along.

        Diet and exercise. Taking responsibility for your own life. No magic pills. No surgery. No miracle fat burners. So, if you are looking to drop a few pounds and get healthy, you can't do it simply by reading this column.

        But I am sure it would help.


        Laura Pulfer's column appears in the Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 FM), and as a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. E-mail her at laurapulfer@enquirer.com