Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018
Golden Years

Bagby loses 45 pounds thanks to diet, walking

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Sep 14, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Wanda Bagby poses at the sign marking the start of the Cedar View Trail southwest of Fairfield. Bagby routinely walks 5 miles on this trail. It’s her favorite trail because it’s shady and flat.

Fairfield resident Wanda Bagby was able to lose 45 pounds in six months thanks to changes in her diet and exercise.

Bagby has always fought her weight, and earlier this year she realized what needed to change.

“In January, I realized I couldn’t walk very far, and I kept eating,” she said. “The next month, I went on this [diet] with no flour and no sugar, and I promised to start walking again.”



Bagby is 65 years old and has gone through bouts where she’s been a serious walker.

“I’ve been walking since I was 30. I’d do it really hard for about 10 years and then I’d quit for whatever reason. That’s when I’d gain weight,” she said.

In 2000, Bagby began to push herself by walking several miles at a quick pace. She tracked her distance and average speed and entered it into a spreadsheet to see her progress. Now an app on her cell phone tracks all that for her.

“Let’s say I want to walk 6 miles. The app will tell me, ‘You’ve now finished 2 miles. You will be done in one hour and three minutes,’” she said. “I don’t have to look at my pedometer.”

Her daily routine involves 5 miles down and back the Cedar View Trail, which connects the Cedar Creek Timber Recreation Area southwest of town all the way to South 23rd Street.

“It’s a beautiful walk, and I feel safe out here,” Bagby said about that part of the trail. “I like that it’s flat because my legs don’t carry me as far on hills as they used to.”

Sometimes she sets out to walk 3-4 miles, but feels so much energy she ends up walking 5-6 miles. She has visions of doing a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in October, but she’s not ready to commit to it just yet. Her legs have had all they can take after 7-8 miles.

She has done half marathons before. Her first half marathon was in 2009, which she completed in two hours and 53 minutes. She felt pretty good about that race.

Bagby has walked in 5Ks, too. She’s done a few with her kids and grandkids.

“When you do them around here, you start seeing the same people, like [Pekin cross-country coach] Davis Eidahl,” she said. “You start seeing people who have beaten you before, and you want to beat them. Friendly rivalries will develop.”


Different styles

Wanda is married to Doug. Though they both like to exercise, they do so in different ways. Wanda describes Doug as a “stroller.” He likes to take in the scenery, whereas Wanda is more interested in maintaining a steady pace. Doug also prefers biking over walking, so he normally takes off on his bike while Wanda power walks after him.

The Cedar View Trail is a good place to walk because so much of it is shaded. Bagby said the bugs aren’t too bad on the trail, either. The best time to walk is dawn, before the hot sun starts beating down. Bagby walks between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Bagby is the community relations manager for the Jefferson County Health Center. The Fairfield Loop Trail runs right up next to the health center. However, because there are few trees along that part of the trail, it makes for a walk a bit too sunny in the summer months.

“During hot spells, I try to get up really early to beat the heat,” she said. “Over at the hospital, there is no shade, so if it’s going to be hot and sunny, I love to come here [to the Cedar View Trail].”

Bagby said Witham Woods is another good, shady place to walk. However, it’s a bit too hilly for her knees.

Since hills are a problem, what about a treadmill? Bagby said that is a last resort. It’s not the same as the great outdoors.

“I can’t do treadmills,” she said. “I’ll do it on bitterly cold winter days, especially if the surface is slick. I’ll walk on a treadmill in the workout room at the health center, or I might do an elliptical. It’s not my favorite thing to do.”

Bagby said she belonged to a group of walkers that sought to walk 100 miles in 100 days. At first glance, it seems easily achievable, walking 1 mile per day. But Bagby noted that you can’t afford to skip days, because you’d be faced with having to walk many miles to catch up. The program was a good way of making sure she walked every day.



Bagby vowed in February to cut out as much sugar and flour from her diet as possible. This is more complicated than it sounds, because so much processed food has those two ingredients.

“One of our favorite spices that we like to cook with has sugar in it,” Bagby said. “I ordered some eggs the other day in a restaurant. They had corn syrup. In the eggs!”

Bagby said it hasn’t been easy avoiding sugar and flour. It was especially hard on her taste buds at first. But they’ve had time to adjust.

“I really liked ice cream, bread, crackers, and desserts. But now, they don’t taste very good,” she said.

Every once in a while, Bagby will get a hankering for a can of pop, but the amount of sugar in the drink is insufferable.

“I end up throwing it away because it tastes like syrup,” she said. “I drink mostly water. I have two cups of coffee in the morning, and that’s it.”

Bagby said it took about four to six weeks for her new diet to feel normal, to the point where she wasn’t fighting those old cravings.

“I still have thoughts of ice cream, though,” she said. “But it has too many calories and too much sugar. I can’t do that.”

What about a scoop every now and then? Bagby tries hard to avoid those temptations rather than to test fate. She knows that, if she gets one spoonful of dessert, she’ll want to eat another. She’s found it’s best to never bring it into the kitchen to start with.

“Food tastes good to me now anyway because I’m not eating those bad things,” she said. “When I eat my vegetables or my meats, they taste much better because they’re not being overwhelmed with sugar and flour.”

The weight loss brought on by these changes in diet and exercise has caused Bagby to drop four pant sizes.


Food Addicts

Bagby attributes her weight loss to her membership in Food Addicts Anonymous.

“People recognize that they’re addicted to sugar and flour, and they have no control over it,” Bagby said. “I would hunt for things like Oreo cookies, chips, crackers, and eat them until they were gone. I was a mess.”

Bagby said the program teaches participants what to eat and when to eat.

“I love it,” she said. “I’d recommend it to people even if they don’t have a lot of weight to lose. Get rid of the sugar, and get rid of the flour.”

Bagby has chronic arthritis and a degenerative back condition, so doctors told her she must exercise and watch her weight. She has followed their advice, and is happy with the changes. She sleeps better at night and has more energy.

“If I live to be 85, that’s only 20 more years,” she said. “Do I want to be sitting on a couch watching TV, or do I want to get out and enjoy life?”

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