“It felt great,” he said of the achievement. “That was a big mental thing for me. I needed to make that.”
Kinning was tipping the scale at 347 pounds when he decided to join the first round of the local Biggest Loser contest spearheaded by Jeanne Rziha, wellness coordinator at Greenhaw Pharmacy, and Anna Woods, personal trainer with Woods Wellness.
The possibility of winning some prize money was only a secondary motivation to join the program.
“One factor was the announcement that I would become a grandfather for the first time,” he said. “So, I was thinking about the future, wanting to stick around and meet my grandkids.
“And I was starting to have some physical problems—my back was really bothering me,” he added. “It ended up not being a weight-related problem, but I figured losing some weight would definitely take some stress off of it.
“Everything, combined with the Biggest Loser contest coming around, all worked together to get me going. I was in the right mindset at the right time.”
Kinning started the contest with the goal of losing 40 pounds over the four-month span.
He lost 80, finishing fifth overall by losing nearly 24 percent of his starting weight.
He has since joined round two of the contest, which will last through the summer.
Diet and exercise
For Kinning, there was nothing magical about his success. Diet and exercise were the keys.
“I’ve been through a lot of diets, so I know how to eat (nutritionally),” Kinning said. “It was just a matter of doing it.
“I’ve made a big lifestyle change in what I eat. I still eat well, but I don’t eat what I used to. And I almost strictly drink water now. I’ve cut out soda pop and everything else.”
Kinning said he eats red meat only once a week, opting instead for a menu of chicken breast, fresh vegetables, steamed vegetables and brown rice.
“They’re good—you just have to learn to season them right,” he said.
But Kinning’s main thing is exercise.
“I just started out by taking a walk after I joined Biggest Loser,” he said. “I’d walk up here to (the office) and back—it’s probably a mile or so. Now I do about four miles a day at a pretty fast pace. The more weight I lose the more (exercise) it takes to keep losing.”
On the weekends, Kinning walks twice a day—once in the morning with the family dog, and then a second walk in the evening.
Recently, he started lifting weights three times a week to transform fat into muscle.
Kinning said getting started was the hardest part, but now exercise has become habitual.
“If I don’t do it, I really miss it—I never thought I’d say that,” he said. “I get the runner’s high halfway through my walk. Sometimes my body starts telling me, ‘You’re done.’ But psychologically, my mind tells me I want to keep going.”
High profile helped
Kinning said he knew being police chief would give his weight-loss effort a high public profile.
In fact, he counted on it.
“I knew if I announced publicly that I was going to lose weight, then I’d have to lose it,” he said. “I didn’t want the humiliation of not losing.”
To be successful, Kinning said he had to make weight loss a priority in his daily schedule.
“Time was always an excuse for me because I work a lot,” he said. “With everything else going on, I just didn’t have time. But I’ve changed my priorities a little bit. I still work a lot, but I make the time to exercise.”
He feels the positive effects.
“Not long before I started, the doctor put me on a cholesterol medication,” Kinning said. “I may be ready to come off of that now. My cholesterol is way down.
“Blood pressure was never really a problem, but I was getting to that borderline area,” he added. “It’s way down now, too.
“And my back problems are almost gone. I’m missing a disc, but between the exercise and some medical procedures, I’m almost pain free.
“That’s worth a lot,” Kinning said. “I was miserable because it was hurting so bad.
Kinning’s success has not gone unnoticed by others.
“I was amazed by how many people were interested,” he said. “I get a lot of waves and thumbs-up. People tell me how much I’ve lost and how good I look. The encouragement has really kept me going.”
Kinning said some residents have said he’s inspired them to improve their health, too.
“I’ve had several people tell me that I gave them the incentive to do it—‘If Dan can do it, we can do it.’ One couple stopped me and said thank-you.
“It’s really been kind of neat the way the community has almost rallied around me.”
So have family members, coworkers and even his boss, City Administrator Larry Paine.
“Larry Paine has been great,” Kinning said. “Larry realizes that a healthy employee is a better employee.”
And Paine put his money where his mouth is. On Monday, he paid off a friendly wager he made with Kinning back in January: “Lose 100 pounds by July 1 and I’ll give you $100.”
The money will come in handy. Kinning has decided, after losing 10 inches from his waistline, it’s time to buy a couple of new uniforms.
“I had a few (clothing) things I kept back when I was on the way up—and now I’m wearing them on the way down,” he said. “I didn’t want to buy new uniforms until I was done, but they’re falling off me now.
“Luckily, they’re worn out, so it’s time to change anyway. I’ll get a couple of new uniforms to hold me over until I get to where I want to be.”
Kinning said his ultimately goal is to get down to 200 pounds—a weight he hasn’t seen since high school.
“I can achieve it,” he said.
In anticipation of getting there, Kinning is already thinking about his weight-maintenance program.
“I’ll probably lighten up on the diet,” he said. “I know people who eat healthy and exercise, but once a week they’ll have a high-calorie meal—and it doesn’t hurt.
“I will probably eat some things that I’m not eating now, but only in small amounts. Portion-control is so important.”
Kinning said the weight loss has been gratifying—and he’s determined to make it permanent.
“This is going to be a lifetime thing. It’s a lifestyle change that’s going to be permanent. It’s got to be. My family tends to be heavy. I don’t have a real strong metabolism, evidently. That’s definitely a concern.”
He encourages others to take that first step toward better health.
“Just get up and do it,” he said. “It’s not that difficult—start with a walk. There’s a lot of good information on the Internet. If they want to join Biggest Loser, there’s Anna Woods and Jeanne Rziha. They’re great.
“If I can do it others, can, too.”