Second Crossroads resident competes in H-E-B contest
By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:11 p.m.
Randall Goode used to look in the mirror and never see himself as heavyset.
But the pills he took for diabetes and high blood pressure daily told a different story - a story of a 53-year-old Formosa operator and grandfather of two who wondered whether he would live long enough to see his grandkids grow up.
The once 250-pound Bay City man is now 21 pounds lighter, thanks to H-E-B's Slim Down Showdown, a friendly weight loss competition against 24 other contestants from across Texas. The person with the best percentage weight loss and overall health betterment wins $10,000.
The showdown kicked off with a weeklong fit camp in January. The real challenge for Goode is carrying over what he's learned into the real world - a world with work, a social life and stress.
On top of losing weight, Goode is already off his medication.
"I wanted to quit taking those pills. They're so expensive," said Goode, who feels like he has already won the competition by getting off the pills. "To me, that's huge."
Not all Formosa operators are active. Goode's duties, for instance, required a lot of sitting around. That's when the chips, dips and candy bars became a comforting, constant companion during the long shift hours.
Eating habits and obesity have been a problem for the past 30 years, but growing up, he was a scrawny kid, he said.
After high school, he said, he grew taller and slowly the weight began to pack on.
"I easily doubled my weight. After my first child was born, I gained about 50 pounds," he said. "Since then, I've been back and forth."
Now, Goode is making health conscious decisions to be better, despite his hectic work schedule - a schedule that sometimes requires him to go in at 4 a.m. and leave at 7 p.m. Instead of his favorite candy bar, Almond Joy, he eats a protein bar with a similar taste.
During his downtime at work, he makes it a point to walk around.
For Goode, it's not only about feeling and looking better. Becoming healthy is not only for him now but also for his two grandkids, including one who was born during fit camp week.
"I want to watch them grow up," he said. "I want to take them fishing or camping."
Goode recalls a recent time when he was chasing his 3-year-old grandson and became tired within a minute.
"I want to be a good grandpa," he added.
Being off the diabetes pills, Goode can already see the positives. He once worried about becoming like his grandmother, who lost a leg because of complications from the disease. That's not what he wants in life, he said.
So far, the hardest part has not been eating right and moderate exercise but getting used to the bit of limelight.
When Goode applied to be a contestant, he debated whether he was ready to expose his life.
"It's a big deal to put yourself out there," he said. "You're admitting you're fat and that you need help."
Fortunately for Goode, he has the support of family and friends.
One friend in particular is a true inspiration.
Reuben Ybarra, who was selected in 2012 for the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown, is helping keep Goode in check.
Ybarra, 47, of Victoria, is now down 93 pounds and won $3,000 and the "healthy hero" award during the finale in San Antonio.
Both Ybarra and Goode are happy to have each other's support.
"It's a really nice experience," Ybarra said. "He helped me a lot to get through it. He would come down, and he would support me."
Ybarra said it gives both of them incentives to keep each other in check. Ybarra is educating Goode in healthy eating and inspiring him in any way he can.
"It's like I'm working the program all over again," he said. "It helps keep me on track."
Goode's goal weight is 200 pounds, but he may very well surpass that.
Also, being a voice for those who are overweight is no longer something he's ashamed or nervous about.
"If you're heavy, you're probably mad at yourself and think you're alone, but you're not," he said. "You're not alone."