Topeka man walks his way to dramatic weight loss
Topekan Gaylon Markham credits dietary changes — including cutting out soft drinks and drastically reducing his intake of beer — with helping him lose 132 pounds in less than 11 months.
But most of all, he said, walking 10 miles a day Monday through Friday and 5 miles a day on the weekends has helped him slim down from 339 pounds to a svelte 207, as of his last check a week ago.
And Markham, 67, said he isn’t done yet.
“I’d like to lose another 28 pounds,” he said this past week.
Markham said he started his “weight-loss journey” on July 20, 2017, when he went to the Batteries Plus store near S.W. 29th and Wanamaker. Next door was a Jenny Craig weight-loss center.
Markham went in, signed up and started the weight-loss center’s meal program. He also started walking, in spite of pain in his feet as a result of neuropathy.
“When I first started,” he said, “it would take me an hour and a half to go 2 miles. Now I can walk 4 miles in a little over an hour. That’s basically twice as much in less time.”
Amazingly, Markham said, within two weeks of starting to walk and changing his diet, his foot pain went away.
Markham retired in January 2017 but mostly sat around in the following few months. And though his doctor told him he was obese and pre-diabetic, not much changed for Markham, who is 6 feet tall. Then something clicked.
“When you can’t bend over and tie your shoes, you know it’s time to lose weight,” he said. “And I couldn’t bend over and tie my shoes.”
Markham walks twice a day at Hummer Sports Park, near S.W. 6th and MacVicar. He usually starts about 6:45 a.m. and walks until about 8 a.m. He sets off for round two about 8 p.m.
In cold weather, he walks twice a day indoors at West Ridge Mall, he said.
In May, Markham said, he averaged 19,900 steps a day. He has sworn off fast food — “McDonald’s is probably going broke,” he said — and reduced his portion sizes.
Instead of ordering himself a steak for two at North Star Steakhouse, he now gets a grilled chicken salad.
“I’ve become quite the connoisseur of salad,” he said.
He also drinks a lot of water. He has set his sights on getting down to about 180 pounds.
Markham said he is now eating food he buys at the grocery store, though he typically weighs in at Jenny Craig once a week. On only one occasion has he seen his weight increase, he said, and that time it was by a mere 6 ounces.
Many physicians and weight-loss centers can provide support for those hoping to shed some pounds.
For those considering a weight-loss program, Markham advises them to make the decision, start where they are and stick with it.
“I think you just have to be in the right frame of mind and say, ‘I’m going to do this,’ ” Markham said.
Markham said he has learned not to look for results right away, realizing that dropping pounds may not show up on the scale until a week after he puts in the work. He also knows losing weight and keeping it off is likely a lifelong proposition.
“I know it’s something I’m going to have to do for the rest of my life,” he said. “I may not walk 10 miles a day or even 5 miles a day, but I know I’ve got to keep moving.”