Stepped-up exercise routine

Michael Raczak

A stepped-up exercise routine has made Michael Raczak, 55, of Naperville better able to pursue his new goal of training for a halfmarathon. He intended to run the Chicago marathon, but missed the registration deadline. Nonetheless, the 20 pounds he's lost through diet and exercise is making training more enjoyable.

"I feel much better," Raczak said. "I'm not dragging a tub of lard with me." Since he improved his diet and ramped up his exercise routine, Raczak's body fat percentage has dropped to 25 percent from 31 percent and his waist circumference has dropped from 40.5 inches to 36.8 inches.

He's getting his "fat" suits tailored to fit his new frame, and he's finding old suits in his closet he can fit into. "Now everyone thinks I have a new wardrobe," he said.

Making time to exercise five or six times a week has also brought balance into his life - another goal for this year. Paradoxically, spending more time working out has helped Raczak find more time for his other priorities.

"I'm finding more time for church, I'm finding more time to go out with my wife, and I haven't lost any productivity at work," Raczak said. "I guess the big thing I'm learning is if you put stuff in balance, you seem to function better."

Susan Stevens