By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Although Tim Kampsen joined his family’s annual New Year’s challenge to lose weight and make healthier choices in 2011 — losing 20 pounds — he gained back half of what he had lost. But in 2012, he committed to losing a sizeable portion of himself, and succeeded in doing just that.
The Kampsen family adults renew their desire each year to lose weight, exercise more, drink more water, not eat certain foods or to drink no alcohol. Kampsen’s siblings, parents, nieces, nephews and in-laws can all participate in the “weight challenge.”
“My brother, Doug, from New York, thought of this. We each put $10 – 15 in the kitty,” Kampsen said. “There is a point system given to each activity and accomplishment.”
There are three different categories with a winner in each category and an overall winner. After two months, the kitty is divided up for the winners.
Kampsen, an American Family Insurance agent in Sauk Centre, realized he needed help after a lose/gain seesaw of weight loss. At 43, he was tired of being heavy. He was also motivated by the desire to participate in his children’s young lives. He and his wife, Stacy, have three children — Jamine, 20, Kallie, 14 and Riley, 11.
“I love any kind of sports, and didn’t want to be the fat, lazy dad who couldn’t play with them or was tired all the time. I wanted to play with them in the back yard,” he said.
Kampsen had been heavy all his life, so making a permanent change was a true challenge.
He ran into a colleague who had lost about 30 pounds and he asked her what had worked. He was given a nutritionist’s phone number to call for a free consultation.
The nutritionist told Kampsen about “Ideal Protein,” a program which includes personalized coaching, education and a wide choice of meal items.
“She told me that if I would stick to the program, it would work. Diet and exercise weren’t enough,” he said. “I was going to take this chance. “
The start of the program was timed to coincide with the Kampsen family’s challenge. Between Jan. 2 – April 30, 2012, he lost nearly 50 pounds.
“My wife was really skeptical at first, but I felt that it was something for me to try,” he said. “I’ve spent money more foolishly than that — we all have.”
The Ideal Protein program provides a selection of food products that are loaded with good carbs and lots of protein, Kampsen said. Two meals a day are provided, with the participant being on their own for the third meal using program recommendations.
With Kampsen’s mind set on making a change, when he saw the weight that came off in just the first two weeks, he firmly decided that “I’m not going to cheat,” he said. “It would just take that much longer to get back on track if I did.”
At the beginning, there were some difficult moments such as when his kids made popcorn. “It was in the first 10 days,” he said. “The whole house smelled like popcorn and my stomach was growling. I just had to get away from it; the program was so new.”
But Kampsen got past that point by telling himself that he could do it. All of his kids’ birthdays and Easter were within the four months he spent using the program.
“I just got past it,” he said.
More than one person remarked to him that they would be waiting to see how long he kept it off.
“It just made me try harder,” he said. “This program may not be for everyone, but it worked for me.”
One of the changes Kampsen made during those four months was to drink 84 ounces of water each day to flush his system.
“The more you drink, the less is retained,” he said. “Now I try to drink 108 ounces a day.”
Kampsen drinks about 16 ounces of coffee daily, but then drinks 16 extra ounces of water to balance that choice.
In the year since he completed the program, Kampsen has made his own food choices. He has not cut any foods out of his diet, instead being more aware of what he is putting into his body.
“Rather than eating a whole pizza, I’ll have one or two pieces and eat it with vegetables,” he said. “I can tell if I’ve had fried food; I don’t feel very well.”
When Kampsen ran into people he hadn’t seen for a while, they would ask if he was sick. “I’m probably healthier than I’ve ever been,” he said. “People did not recognize me. One of my clients even asked me who I was.”
Kampsen had never been much of a runner, but since losing so much weight, he runs 5k three times a week. Two or three days a week, he walks. “It’s thinking time for me,” he said.
The weight has stayed off for the year he has been off the program. “I haven’t been to the doctor during that time,” he said.
Kampsen was unbelievably thrilled at one change since his weight loss. “I can do a pull-up,” he said. “I could never, ever do even one before; I was just amazed.”
He is not as tired anymore when playing sports with his family. He enjoys football and basketball with his kids.
“My oldest son, Jamine, jokes with me, saying, ‘Dad, can I have my pants back?’” Kampsen said. “I could still lose a little bit of weight, but I want to tone now.”
Kampsen’s brother, Doug, lost 22 pounds in this year’s family challenge.
“Did I inspire him — I don’t know,” said Kampsen. “But when my family started the challenge this year, Doug said, ‘Look what Tim did last year — we can do it.’”
The challenge is not just about losing weight, but creating healthy habits, something Kampsen has taken to heart. Drinking a lot of water is something that helps him maintain his weight.
He reminds people that losing weight is seldom easy, but “if you put your mind to it, stick to it, you can do it. The difference you feel is amazing. I can feel it in my knees; my whole body feels different.”
There are times when Kampsen has to decline food that a gracious client has offered in their home. Once he explains, they understand. He still needs to have his wedding ring sized, since it slipped right off his finger one day recently.
No matter the difficulties and rough moments that he had to work through during those four months — “I’m very glad I did it,” he said. “It was life-changing.”