Sometimes when you lose, you win

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This commentary is the first in a summer-long series highlighting the progress of Senior Airman Shane Dunaway in his quest to become Team Andersen's "Biggest Loser." To send words of encouragement or for information on his workout methods and diet, contact him via email at

When I look back on my Air Force career, I've come to realize we are an evolving force with fitness seemingly at the forefront of everything we do.

Regrettably, my peak in my overall fitness level was when I graduated basic training in February 2005. At the time, I weighed in at 160 pounds and had a 33-inch waist. Since that time, countless bad decisions when it comes to managing my fitness led me down a path of self-destruction.

Let's fast forward to March 2010. With a potentially life-changing hip surgery on the horizon, I was at my worst. I weighed 225 pounds and had a 41-inch waist. I had just failed my second PT test, my morale was in the gutter and my attitude was as unsatisfactory as the excess pounds. I knew it was time for a change in my life, but I didn't necessarily know how to get there.

After my surgery, I made small changes to my diet since I was on convalescent leave and was unable to exercise. In a month, I saw a 15-pound decrease in my weight, but it wasn't enough to get me on the right track. It was time for drastic changes at that point.

Once I was off crutches and medically cleared to exercise, with limitations documented in my profile, I began actively engaging workouts with a renewed vigor. I also made significant changes in my diet, cutting out fried food and limiting calorie intake. I lost 10 more pounds, but fell a few points short on my third PT test.

Around the same time, the fitness center started advertising the Biggest Loser competition. I sought out a partner and the team "Lighter and Brighter" was born. The lighter I become, the brighter my star will shine. In two weeks, I've lost four pounds, so I'm only 24 pounds away from my goal weight - 172 pounds.

My main desire for joining the Biggest Loser competition is to improve myself overall. It isn't just about saving my career and getting in better shape - it's about saving my own life.