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Tri Challenge: Checking things off my list
Dr. Scott Zahn after the 100k Titletown Bike Tour, with riders Dan Cibulka (left) and Tim Hoyman (right)
July 30th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Tri Challenge: Checking things off my list

Since January, six iReporters have been training in the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. We’re following along as they prepare to compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the August 7 Nautica NYC Triathlon.

Lose weight and get fit – check

Set a better example for my patients and their parents – check

Lead a healthier and more active lifestyle – check

Get off my medications – check!

That’s right I am off my medications! My application for the CNN Fit Nation Tri-Challenge was triggered by a visit to my primary care provider for the first time in many years. I left that appointment with three medications, two for blood pressure and one for lipids. Within a couple months I was off of one of the blood pressure medications after losing some weight and having some lightheadedness. I am happy to report that my doctor has now taken me off all of my medications.

Obviously I knew that leading a healthy lifestyle and eating better would help with my medical problems, but to be able to come completely off medications in a little over six months is something that I never expected. My physician will continue to monitor my blood pressure and labs, but he feels that at this time there is no benefit to continuing with medications.

Six months! In just that short time I have made incredible changes physically and have extended my life expectancy by many years. This was one of my goals when I started this process but to actually accomplish this goal feels great. The new goal is to stay off the medications. I still have a strong family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease so I will never be in the clear. It has been hard work; I won’t deny that, but look at the results.

Now there is just one thing that is left on my list:

Kick butt at the NYC Triathlon – check?


soundoff (556 Responses)
  1. MegaRedd

    Good job! Keep up the good work :]

    August 1, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harold

      The problem is that the eplyomee loses unless the company doubles its value. This has a huge risk associated with it and it is entirely in the founders control. What is it worth to take such a risk? What is it worth to take such a risk and have no power over an exit? Clearly 1:1 is the wrong answer. You should be payed MORE for taking the risk

      September 14, 2012 at 02:11 | Report abuse |
  2. Karl Davis

    I did the same thing in roughly the same time frame. 22 pounds, 5 inches on the waist, and medicines for triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure disappeared in 5 months. Three more pounds and I'll be at my recommended weight.

    My advice: no gimmicks or fads. Eat less, exercise more, and dump bad habits like soda and beer. You don't need to be a fanatic. Go ahead and get a mini-candy from the office; I used to take five, now it's one. Alternating a day of aerobics (swim/run), and one of weights made sure I lost fat and not muscle.

    Don't use medices or imbalanced diets. Fat doesn't melt, it is oxidized and breathed out as carbon dioxide and water vapor. You don't need a sauna, and you don't need to drink a gallon of water per day. Just live healthy and balanced.

    August 1, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • C.W.

      Hey Karl... you are spot on! In the past 15 months, I lost 175 lbs. by controlling/measuring my portions; got rid of the sugar, processed food, white starches. I exercised regularly, progressively increasing my time on a rowing ergometer (Concept2) and strength training. It's th old-fashioned way, but IT WORKS! Woohoo! Congrats on having the sensible approach.

      August 1, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • RAH

      Good for you, Karl! You've taken the most sensible and lasting approach there is. You've summed up what a lot of people in the medical/health industry have been preaching for years – in just a few sentences. You should be very proud of yourself!

      August 1, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  3. Corey Kunzer

    Great work Scott. I know you will be able to check that last goal off the list in less than a week.

    August 1, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Bill

    Yes, it can be done. About 5 years ago when I went on statins my doctor said I would never get off them. I also had borderline high blook pressure. I "stayed the course" for about 3 years, then I decided to get some exercise, eat better and lose some weight. I lost 55 lbs. My blood pressure is in the normal range and my doctor says my choleserol is lower than it needs to be so I'm off the statins.

    August 1, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jeffbaseball

    Run 600-700 calories every other day. Spinning for an hour. The Subway diet 6" turkey with musturd, oil vinegar and all veggies or chicken breast. I lost 20 lbs in one month and have kept it off. Down to 185 lbs at 5' 11". The key is to not lose the muscle on the way down.

    August 1, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LivingBetter

    Last year, after my doctor worked out of his office with 3 additional medications I was supposed to start taking, I said enough. I hit the gym, started walking / then running and eating better. I am now down 55 pounds and off ALL medications. I have to say the doctors really do not have what's best for us in mind. Pills are not the answer.

    I heard a radio DJ say this this on the air once, "happiness is a 400 pound bench and a 500 pound squat". At 51 years of age, I am really close.

    August 1, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Barry

    Lost 60 lbs on the "Nike" plan and Weight Watchers. Biggest problem keeping it off is not having goals to shoot for. Now I plan a major outdoor activity every six months and train for it. Next up – my son and I are training to backpack the Grand Canyon. Bottom line – slow and steady, hard work, no fads, and have goals to train for.

    August 1, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Moderation_Not_Perfection

      The bigger problem with keeping it off is not following a sustainable diet. You need to change your life, not your diet. You dont need plans or diets like weight watchers, you need a life change. Eat more fruits and veggies and cut out the sugar and before you know it, you simply wont be able to stomach fast foods or highly processed foods. Its a natural correction to your body and your body will tell you loud and clear when you eat things you shouldnt.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  8. Al Zahn

    Great job Scott. You inspired me to lose 15 pounds in the last three months. Best of luck. Your extended family is very proud of your accomplishments and are anxious to see you. I'm hoping to get off my blood pressure and cholesterol meds by the end of the year. I just want don't want to take any unnecessary risk by going off too early. Have a great race.

    August 2, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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      September 13, 2012 at 22:54 | Report abuse |
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    Biking causes male s_exual disfunction. That's why I only run or swim. Just look at the best biker in the world Armstrong. he had ball cancer from biking.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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      I'm seriously gippalrng with this myself. Mothering River now, having had an abusive mother...wow, looking at my own responses plainly. So far, and within reason, it seems important to be able to own the way I am in relationship. That's with my child and everything else. It's about allowing things to be messy and trying to be present in the midst of it all. Making amends is a lovely thing.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.