Franchise News Release: Westford, MA - (Mar-20-2011)

Winning (and Losing) Big in Westford

In December 2009 Darwin Asa weighed 354 pounds and when he closed the door at his doctor’s office, he opened the door to Westford’s Fitness Together and began a journey that gave him a whole new life.

Asa, a Westford resident, has lost the equivalent of a small person in the period since he became a serious exerciser and dieter and today he is a different person inside and out.

“Before my recent workout I weighed 245 pounds so I’m down 110 pounds. I haven’t lost inches, I’ve lost feet.” Asa said.

Through his affiliation with Fitness Together, Asa began a tailored exercise regimen that involved 60 to 90 minutes of strength and resistance training and cardiovascular exercises three times a week. The company’s approach incorporates each individual’s goals, said owner Greg Briggle. A personal trainer is assigned to each client, one-on-one.

“I sometimes wonder why people are hesitant to take charge of their body and their health,” Briggle said. “Then I realize that perhaps they really do not believe momentous change is possible. But I know it is. I see it every single day.”

Asa was born in Flint, Mich., and he and his wife Cheryl and daughters Marissa and Mallory have lived in Westford for a dozen years. Now in his mid-40s, this weight loss makes him, “feel like I did when I was in my 20s with more energy and more stamina. I stopped using an alarm clock, I just jump outta bed!”
Asa’s memories of how he felt before keeps him motivated and disciplined.

“Sometimes I would go days or even weeks when I could not sleep,” he said. “I was so tired from carrying around so much weight, I had no energy. In 2009, I went to visit my mother in Michigan at Thanksgiving and saw my brother. He was always the chubby kid and I was always the skinny kid. He looked at me and said, ‘Gosh! What happened to you?’ He thought he was fat, but he weighed 30 pounds less than me, and he’s five inches taller. That was my wakeup call — the moment I knew I had to do something.”

“I was like a lot of people; that is, in denial about my weight,” Asa continued. “I had come to accept that this is how I am and this is how it’s going to be. It was the helplessness that bothered me. I used to console myself with thoughts like, ‘Grandpa was big and fat, and so I take after him.’ He made it to 86, so I’ll be all right. It’s just genetics and there’s nothing I can do about it. I knew better though, I am a biochemist by training and have studied enough physiology to know what happens to fat people. Food was my reward and I was an addict.”

“My daughter Marissa was always embarrassed by me,” Asa added. “I would be on the sidelines watching her soccer games, and I was the big, huge, fat guy. I was loud and I was big so people were afraid of me. I had that in my head but even that still wasn’t enough to get me to do anything about it.”

Asa’s weight loss and focus shifted into fifth gear when he began to shed the pounds. The marketing manager at the scientific instrument company, Bruker Corp. in Billerica, said his co-workers began treating him differently as he approached a normal weight. To read the rest of the story, buy the Eagle at these newsstands, or subscribe here.


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