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History
Minnesota National Guard
How Do You Measure Up?

Minnesota National Guard Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes used to struggle with the physical fitness test and some years didn't pass  During the body composition tape test he remembers how he would tuck his chin in to change his neck diameter and improve his score  Now, he wants other Service members to know not to be afraid of failure because that's what it takes to succeed

Zirbes lost over 70 pounds on Weight Watchers for Men and was selected as a spokesperson  He is passionate and excited to share his story so that, "It might be that kick in the pants for someone who needs it," he said

While sitting on his couch, on January 6, 2011, he noticed his t-shirt creeping up over his belly and he said to himself, "Oh no, that didn't just happen"  That's when a commercial for Weight Watchers came on He signed up on-line  He was 236 pounds then, but after one week on Weight Watchers he lost five pounds just by following the plan, adjusting his food choices and making small modifications to his routine like taking the stairs or parking further away

"At first others thought it wasn't going to last and that it was just for the fitness test After losing 20 pounds and keeping it off, others started to pay attention"  Being overweight he used to feel extra stress during promotion boards and physical training tests Now he can see, "it isn't all about smarts, you need to improve physically as well as mentally" 

To succeed he began to look at food in new ways with the help of the Weight Watchers points system and the easy to use on-line program and phone application  He started to eat breakfast on time and having dinner before six  Things like having a beer became more of a reward  His approach was simple he said, "Don't look at it as what you can't have, look at it as substitutions

When Zirbes reached 216 pounds he hit his first plateau, he was an E-6 and was in phase one of the Army Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course  He started to check on Weight Watchers blogs and engage in chats where he was able to talk to another military person who pointed out that he was likely consuming far too much salt  He began taking into consideration what causes fluctuations in his weight and learning more about his body 

When Zirbes reached 190 pounds, he hit another plateau and that is when he started working out, biking, lifting and running to gain more muscle  After six months, in July 2012, he had reached his goal weight of 175  Today, he looks forward to working out and has established equilibrium in his weight maintenance  That is not to say it he is not without setbacks  Zirbes explains, "It's a matter of how you handle speed bumps or road blocks, and mental fortitude comes into play  Choose something that is proven (like Weight Watchers) and stay the course"

He points out that he used to hear a lot of "if only," and now he tells Soldiers "YOU CAN!"  In August 2011 he put a packet in for the Warrant Officer program and was accepted in March 2012 He accepted a commission and quit smoking in September 2012  During training he received a State Command Warrant Officer Award for exceeding the standards  With his new drive and ambition he feels that he has pushed himself far and isn't ready to stop

"It isn't about doing the minimum its about exceeding the minimum, exceeding your minimum and pushing yourself to the max standard, to be the leader and to help other people progress" Instead of "sticking to the corners" now he wants opportunities, he wants to be a leader and have Soldiers to look to him as an example 

Zirbes advice for others struggling with weight,  "Look at yourself, don't look to others around you  It is all about making yourself better  Losing weight is 'all good'; nothing is going to harm you  You have to be willing to do whatever it takes!" 

After being selected as a contest winner for Weight Watchers success stories, Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes was asked to be part of the Weight Watchers Campaign  He did a video interview in Minneapolis and was further selected to be used in a national commercial campaign  Weight Watchers flew him and his wife out to Los Angeles, California and where he spent three days creating various spots  Select the links below to view them 

By Staff Sgt Jennifer Rechtfertig
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
April 15, 2013

Video Links:
http://wwwtwincitiescom/turningpoint/ci_22543074/minnesota-man-leans-up-wises-up-and-stars?IADID=Search-wwwtwincitiescom-wwwtwincitiescom

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE783Vt08jo

http://wwwweightwatcherscom/men/ Find out what makes Weight Watchers online for men work: How it works video


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