The weight is over

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

Mike Granlund and Don Leighton pose for a photo in front of the weigh station sign on Highway 53 near Superior. The pair of columnists are challenging themselves to get in shape for 2009. (Jed Carlson/

The following is another "Have Fun or Get Out of the Way" column by Don Leighton and Mike Granlund and their alter egos, Lance Boyle and Billy Pirkola, which runs occasionally in The Superior Telegram.

A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

With the new year upon us, much too quickly we must say, it's time to make those wonderful resolutions we keep for a few days or for a few hours.

There are those who want to quit smoking or quit drinking or pledge to do other things they feel will make them better human beings. Well, today is a special day in the lives of Lance and Billy because a challenge of epic proportions is being made. I am challenging Billy, and any other readers who want to lose weight, to join the Lance and Billy Weight Loss Program.

We are at the age where it is very difficult to lose weight. A change in lifestyle is necessary, and we are asking our faithful readers to help each of us attain our goal of losing fifty pounds. Any suggestions you may have to help us and the LBWLP members will be greatly appreciated.


By June 21, the first day of summer, we hope to reach our goal. We refuse to wear our Speedos before the sun has reached the highest point in our sky. In other words, we do not want to get cold, and we do not want to offend society. Come to think of it, any day with Lance and Billy in a Speedo is not a good day for society.

Here are some startling and sobering statistics regarding Douglas County and the weight problem many of us have. This information is taken from the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Plan, 2008-2012.

"Obesity and physical inactivity is related to the development of various chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. It is estimated that almost 7 percent of Douglas County residents have diabetes, with almost 30 percent of these cases undiagnosed. Over one-fifth of the hospitalizations in Douglas County in 2002 were diabetes-related costing an estimated $1.25 million. It is estimated that in 2002, the direct and indirect costs for diabetes in Douglas County was $33.8 million."

The 2007 Wisconsin County Health Rankings found that 66 percent of Douglas County residents are overweight with 24 percent classified as obese. In the western region of Wisconsin, about 20 percent of adults 18-24 years old were overweight compared to almost 50 percent of those 55-64 years old.

At a lunch this summer, our good friend Roger Nelson, formerly of Solon Springs, got us thinking about diet and exercise. Thank you, Roger, for educating us.

Since then, we have enlisted some very special people who are helping us in our quest. Cathi Austin, the health enhancement coordinator at the Superior YMCA, had some great tips on weight loss.

1. The calories you consume must be less than the calories you expend. In other words, eat less, move more.

2. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Plan your weekday meals over the weekend -- food must be readily available.


3. Eat 250 fewer calories per day and work off 250 more calories per day. If you follow this advice every day, you will lose 3,500 calories or one pound. That may not sound like much weight, but it adds up in a hurry.

4. Use a pedometer daily. Every 2,000 steps equal one mile and 100 calories burned. Pedometers are inexpensive and will give you an accurate reading on how much you walk each day.

5. Drink more water, and avoid all soda. There is no magic amount of water to drink, since we are all different. Drink as much as you can without feeling uncomfortable.

Give the YMCA a call at 392-5611 and ask for Cathi. She can give you all the information you need and a choice of programs that can help you lose and then maintain your weight. The YMCA Web site is .

Another friend of ours is Mary Mahan, a registered dietitian who works for Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Public Health Nutrition Programs. She recommends visiting the Web site to help you choose the proper foods and make the necessary choices for a healthier life. gives advice on eating habits and emphasizes the basics. Keep good nutrition simple -- be physically active, stay within calorie limits and enjoy foods rich in essential nutrients from all five food groups.

You can reach Mary at 394-2750 for further information. Her e-mail is .

Lance and Billy have also developed some strategies of their own for weight loss.


1. Eating healthy is less expensive than eating fast food. With the tough economic times, saving money, eating good and healthy food and losing weight seem like a no-brainer to us. (No comments, Pat Flynn, about no-brainer.)

2. You must set realistic goals. Stop and think about how fast time goes by. When it is winter, before you know it, it is summer. Time passes just as quickly when you are dieting, although it may seem slower. Take your time, have a realistic goal and do not go crazy! Remember Lance's favorite saying, "Moderation and restraint."

3. Go for walks. We have the mall and the YMCA when the weather is cold and yucky. When the weather is nice, we have the sidewalks. Notice how "walks" is part of that lovely word. Whoever named a sidewalk, knew what they were doing. They are not bike paths, roadways or ATV trails. Walk our sidewalks and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature.

4. Weigh yourself on a regular basis, on the same scale, and keep a log of your weight loss or gain. Be honest! The same scale is vitally important since those machines of science usually lie. If we are going to do this, it is important to know our enemy, the scale. Eventually the scale will become our friend. Get a cloth tape measure and take regular measurements of your lower and upper body parts. You should see a reduction as time goes on.

5. Imagine the sense of accomplishment when you reach your goal. In addition to looking better, feeling better and being healthier, when people see you, they may not recognize you. This will give you another chance at life to do what you want without worrying about your past. As Arte Johnson of "Laugh In" used to say, "Verrry Interesting!"

6. Join a friend in your effort to lose weight and exercise. It is easier when you are not alone. Remember, "Misery loves company."

If you would like to lose weight with two heavyweights, e-mail us and we will set you up with a secret name and ask you to regularly let us know how you are doing. We will periodically do a "Pirkolator" update on our progress. Your real name will not be revealed and only weight lost or gained will be tabulated. No weight, no names, kind of like "Animal House" and double-secret probation.

So join us, have some fun losing weight, get healthy, feel better about yourself and live longer. If you don't want to do it for yourself, how important is it to be around for your loved ones? Eating good and healthy food is not hard. Changing your lifestyle is the difficult part. Rely us and your family and friends; we are in this together.


Please join Lance and Billy in our effort to change our lifestyles. We need your help and support. E-mail us with suggestions or your desire to join us.

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