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November 5, 2012

Incredible shrinking councilor

Peabody's Barry Osborne is sporting a sleek new profile

PEABODY — Before our eyes, City Councilor Barry Osborne is disappearing.

At least there’s 90 pounds less of him than there was a little more than a year ago.

Osborne, 58, explains, “I went to the doctor, and he told me — obviously — ‘You’ve got to lose weight.’ ... The doctor did mention diabetes. ... He said, “You’re going to get older. It’s going to catch up with you.’”

Despite having good results from a battery of medical tests, he recalled family members suffering from diabetes, losing toes as the condition worsened. Worse yet, he recalled that his own father had died at 57 of congestive heart failure.

All this helped steel Osborne’s resolve to finally do something about his weight, which was more than 300 pounds. The veteran councilor set out to do it on his own, with a diet of his own making. And that worked for a time. The pounds fell away. Then politics interfered.

“The election (in 2011) came up,” Osborne notes. “I had to go to this fundraiser. And that fundraiser.” Inevitably, there would be snacks piled on the table. It was difficult to keep track of how much he’d eaten. At one point, he finally climbed on the scale and discovered he’d put back 20 pounds.

Osborne decided he needed a little help. He joined Weight Watchers in Danvers, attending a regular meeting intended for men. He was working out at the YMCA, as well. “They were very supportive there,” he says.

But the techniques he learned in Danvers seemed especially helpful, including two that were crucial.

The first was setting limits. “You can go out at night and have a beer, but you know you have to stop at two.” He realized that meals needed to be planned carefully, sometimes by substituting one food for another.

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