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DHS Weight Loss Series: Dale Woodall

Date: 05/14/2018

How long I’ve kept it off: My name is Dale Woodall.  I started working on my weight the day after Christmas.  I’ve made steady progress since then.  With it being April I’m four months into my lifestyle change. I’ve gotten off to a good start. 

Personal life: I’m a Division of Developmental Disabilities Services Facility Manager. I’ve held this position for 18 years.  I manage capital expenditures and major maintenance projects for the state’s five Human Development Centers. I am truly blessed to have a job serving the DD community. It’s a job I enjoy very much.

Before my tenure with DHS I was a physical plant director for Arkansas State University and a construction inspector for the Arkansas Building Authority.  Overall, I have 33 years with the state and look forward to a few more before I retire. When I’m not working, I’m usually with my wife Lisa. We both enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and horseback riding.  We have three boys and involve them and their families in our activities as much as possible; that especially includes our little granddaughter.  

Keeping track of progress: I keep a set of scales close to the dining room table.  Every few days I climb on to see if I have gained or lost any weight.  The best motivator for me is to make a little progress.  My weight tends to rock back and forth about five pounds so it’s hard to be sure when you weigh as often as I do.  I can’t help it.  I’m always looking for the next five pounds lost.  I keep a record so it’s easy to see the pattern over a month’s time.        

Turning point: During the Christmas season there’s always several family pictures taken and passed around.  And I wasn’t very happy with what I saw.  My clothes were not fitting well and to make matters worse, I was struggling to get around. Fun activities like chasing my granddaughter or things I do each day like feeding my horses, became difficult.  Hiking any distance was out of the question.  The holidays were over so it was time to get serious about losing weight and taking care of my body.

Diet plan: I am very much a routine person.  I found a good breakfast sandwich with only 290 calories.  Eating that sandwich along with a spicy V8 juice is how I start my day.  For lunch, I try to eat a salad with grilled chicken or some kind of protein. I have found some excellent salad dressings with little or no calories along with several spices, and that’s a very satisfying lunch.  For dinner I eat a lot of vegetables and charcoal grilled meat. Portion control has been my biggest challenge. No bread, very little sugar, and very little fat.  I always have snacks with me.  In between meals I eat pre-packaged 100 calorie snacks.  I’m not starving myself, but I am eating much different than I was before Christmas.           

Exercise routine: Being out of shape was as much my problem as being overweight.  I work on the fifth floor of the Donaghey Plaza North building. I always park on the 4th or 6th floor of the parking deck.  I decided to swear off elevators.  My New Year resolution was to always take the stairs in my building and in the deck.  I sometimes ride the elevator going down but never going up.  I thought the first two or three weeks would kill me, but it’s not near as bad as it was.  I can actually talk when I get to the top of the stairs now.  And I now do a lot more walking than I used to.  On weekends Lisa and I take some pretty long hikes and even take our granddaughter in a toddler backpack.  That can be challenging … but it sure is a lot of fun.   

Biggest challenge:  Like most people at DHS, I sit at a desk all day.  That along with my love for food is a killer.  I love cinnamon rolls, cookies, cakes basically most variety of pastry.  I haven’t quit eating that stuff, I now just eat sweets every once in a while.  My family celebrates every gathering around good food. However, they have been very supportive. But it is hard not to bake a cake or whip up a batch of cookies when we’re all together.  Chips and dip – yum, yum.

How life has changed:  I can now walk where I want, take care of my horses, and keep up with the grandkids without getting out of breath.  That was the whole point of losing weight.  My eating habits have changed but once it became normal, it was no big deal.  My clothes fit better. Actually some of my clothes are baggy. But most of all I am much more comfortable.  I have lost 50 pounds since Christmas.  My new goal in life is not to lose more weight, but it’s to not gain any weight back.  I want to be even more fit so I can keep chasing those grandkids and hiking the Ozarks with my wife and family.  The only advice I would give is live every day to the fullest by doing things you enjoy doing.                       


Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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