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Photos courtesy of Chip Alredge.
Chip Alredge operates The Eagle Radio Group from his home-base studio in Russet Woods. He lost 200 pounds in 18 months.
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Photo courtesy of Chip Alredge.
Chip Alredge operates The Eagle Radio Group from his home-based studio in Russet Woods. He lost 200 pounds in 18 months.
For 15 years, radio personality Chip Arledge struggled with his image.
His job at The Eagle Radio Group, which he operates from his home-based studio in Russet Woods, making trips as needed to the station’s home base in northern Michigan, has kept Arledge in the skies often.
Judgmental looks from fellow passengers became the norm for him. At 423 pounds, he expected it. Still, Arledge found humor to be his best defense. He would break the ice at the start of each boarding process the only way he knew how — by calling himself out.
“I tried to be as polite as possible, and of course I’d make jokes about it,” said Arledge, reflecting on one particular flight he’d taken to Detroit.
“This one day, I made eye contact with this woman next to my assigned seat, and I said, ‘You drew the short straw today. That’s my seat beside you,’” said Arledge. “She was a delightful person, and we had a lovely conversation during the flight,” he said.
Fast-forward 18 months later and 200 pounds lighter, and Arledge found himself once again sharing a flight with the same woman.
By that time, he’d gotten used to the double takes from those who had known him at his heaviest. But her response, to date, is what Arledge treasures as the greatest compliment he’s received throughout his weight loss journey.
“She remembered what it was like for me that day on the first flight we’d shared together,” said Arledge. “And she asked me, ‘How does it feel to go from being the person no one wants to sit next to, to being the person everyone wants to sit next to?’ It was the kindest remark I’ve received all this time. I was so touched that I hugged her and damn near cried.”
The experience reflects what Arledge found to be one of the most critical, and personal, points of his health turnaround.
“You have to have a very strong sense of self,” he said. “People who did not give you the time of day before all of a sudden want to hear what you have to say.”
Though he’s now a lean and mean 202 pounds, a weight he’s held steady since March 2014, the seasoned radio personality still maintains his old-school radio moniker, “The Fat Man.”
When asked how he did it, Arledge pulls no punches and offers no easy way out.
“People have a tendency to complicate things,” he said. “You just have to make up your mind and do it.”
It’s what Arledge started three years ago and what he still does today.
Scaling back on alcohol and portion size led him to drop the first 50 pounds without exercise.
Moderate walking in quarter-mile intervals through the Russet Woods neighborhood soon followed, as did physician office weigh-ins every three weeks. In one year’s time, he lost 100 more.
Arledge began to incorporate exercise into his care regimen twice daily. What began as an out-of-shape man seeing if he could even walk 40 steps up a moderate hill has turned into a dedicated athlete who routinely clocks in 25 miles of running per week.
Arledge still enjoys his carbs, both in pasta and fermented form, but saves those indulgences for the weekend.
And as good as he said it felt to walk into Belk one day and buy a pair of pants off the rack, instead of what Arledge calls “the big and fat catalog,” nothing compares to the health benefits he’s reaped.
The same man who was once facing grim circulatory problems and pre-diabetes is now free and clear of chronic disease.
“I didn’t really do this under any formal guidance,” said Arledge. “It was just common sense, and a realization that I didn’t want to invite the kinds of health problems I would have been facing. If I can do this, anyone can.”