Health Team

Retired NFL lineman shares how he shed 100 pounds

Posted December 16, 2014

Retired pro-athletes often gain weight after their playing days end, and it can lead to weight-related health problems, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and joint and back pain.

A retired NFL offensive lineman now living in Cary says he got smart and got down to a weight he can live with.

Marques Ogden played six years in the NFL, including stints with the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. Every training table was the same, especially for offensive linemen like himself.

“I mean, after meals, you could have anything you want – bread, pizza – right there and ready for you to eat and go right before you go to bed,” he said.

But grueling practices and games helped him control his weight.

“The problem is then when your career is over, if you still eat like that, you are not burning the same calories,” Ogden said. “The biggest I weighed was a little bit over 370 pounds, and today, I'm somewhere between 270 and 275 pounds.”

Now at age 34, Ogden exercises daily, at least 30 to 45 minutes, lifting weights, playing basketball and running through football-style drills at home. Dropping 100 pounds also required changes in what he eats and drinks.

“I have cut back tremendously on sodas, for sure,” he said. “Sugar, in my opinion, from what I've seen, is the number one cause of storing fat.”

He also cut back on how much meat he ate, added more vegetables and drank more water. He says it's not a diet, it's how he plans to eat and exercise for life.

“It's a marathon, not a sprint. Losing weight is not a sprint,” he said.

Ogden is not a diet expert, but his approach “hits all the points we constantly stress in our stories on diet and exercise,” said WRAL Health Team physician Dr. Allen Mask. “Number one, like he said, it's not a sprint, but a marathon.”

“Don't approach it like a diet that begins and ends when you reach your weight goal. Make it a lifestyle,” Mask added. “You don't have to be a weight lifter to get effective exercise. Even walking 30 to 45 minutes a day for at least four to five days a week is effective for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Mask also suggests cutting down on sugar, cutting out sugary sodas and using portion control.

“A fourth of your plate should include protein either with lean meat or other sources like beans. Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and the darker richer colored vegetables are the most filling and nutritious,” he said. “At least half your grains should be whole grains. And dairy, with milk, cheese and yogurt rounds out a healthy diet plan.”

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  • Andy Hairston Dec 16, 2014
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    Summary: Eat less meat and sugars, have more veggies and water, get lots of exercise. Where have we heard this before? Ah, yes, every doctor not promoting a fad diet. And it really does work.