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Published July 04, 2013, 11:30 PM

Holt: Fargo man decides to put his weight in past

FARGO – Michael Haller literally stands taller after losing 135 pounds. “With all the weight being pressed forward, I was slouching a lot more and my posture was a lot worse,” he says.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

FARGO – Michael Haller literally stands taller after losing 135 pounds.

“With all the weight being pressed forward, I was slouching a lot more and my posture was a lot worse,” he says.

In a short amount of time, the 26-year-old Fargo man went from a high of 317 pounds to a trim 182.

Michael had always been a bigger kid growing up in Dickinson.

“I remember hitting 200 pounds in second grade,” he says.

He was active in high school with football, basketball and track and field, but running was always difficult for him.

Now he’s comfortably running 6.5 miles per hour outdoors or at Anytime Fitness.

After transferring from Dickinson State to North Dakota State University, he left college to become a full-time manager at Applebee’s.

“That’s when, all of sudden, it got out of control,” he says.

The stress of the job and the easily accessible food didn’t help.

“It’s a lot easier to eat deep-fried foods than it is to cater to a specific diet,” he says.

When Michael finally decided to face his weight gain head-on, the numbers were higher than he expected.

“I didn’t have a scale, I didn’t want to know, and everybody was like, ‘Well, you look about 250 to 275,’ so I ran with that,” he says.

On Feb. 27, 2009, he woke up and said, “I’m done being overweight.”

By quitting his Mountain Dew habit, he quickly dropped 20 pounds.

“That’s when I really figured out, ‘OK, I can lose weight, it’s just the way I’m living that’s allowing me to be this heavy-set,’ ” he says.

After cutting out soda, Michael turned his attention to the rest of his diet.

He learned about nutrition from gym staff, “The Biggest Loser” and online resources like Livestrong.

“It’s literally like ‘The Biggest Loser’ once you attack it like I did,” he says.

A few months later, he surprised his mom with a 60-pound weight loss when she came to Fargo for a visit.

“She didn’t recognize me when I walked by her in the mall,” he says.

Next came exercise. He’d go to the gym around 2 a.m. after closing the restaurant.

Although Michael’s speed, strength and endurance have improved, his basic routine hasn’t changed – a 10-minute warm-up, followed by intense weight-lifting, ending with a long run.

He says his lower body is stronger than his upper body.

“That’s fine with me, though. I just want to be able to run long distances because that’s something I was never able to do previously,” he says.

His weight loss has also given him the courage to switch careers.

In August 2012, Michael became a sales rep for Corwin Honda.

“I was always told I’d be good at selling cars, but I never had the confidence to give it a try,” he says.

He encourages others struggling with their weight to believe in themselves but cautions against changing too much too soon.

“You can’t physically and mentally do it until you’re ready,” he says. “It’s like getting over a relationship, or an addiction, or a death in the family. You wake up and go, ‘Well, that’s over with,’ and that’s exactly how I felt about the weight.”

Do you have a weight-loss story to tell? Email me at mholt@forumcomm.com.


Forum reporter Meredith Holt lost over 100 pounds between 2010 and 2012. She will share stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5590.

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