Sports journalist Dan Truttschel recently added boxing to his workout regimen. In the past year, he has lost more than 200 pounds while embracing a healthy and active lifestyle.

Sports journalist takes weight-loss journey that few seldom have traveled

By Todd Mishler

SLN Staff

Dan Truttschel never imagined accomplishing such a feat. But to do it, he became half the man he used to be.

Jan. 8 marked a milestone few attain in a lifetime, nonetheless in 12 months.

That date signifies exactly one year, and the loss of more than 200 pounds of body weight — talk about a New Year’s resolution.

And to celebrate, Truttschel is hoping to do something else he never dreamed possible, especially considering he doesn’t like heights. He wants to go skydiving as a gift to himself for the past 52 grueling and emotionally and physically challenging weeks.

Truttschel, 48, has been documenting his arduous journey with hopes of writing a book.

“I’ve done a lot of reflecting about this past year,” he said. “I want to help people get through what I’ve been going through.”

He grew up in Hartland, graduating from Arrowhead High School in 1989 before getting his journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1994.

Many should know his name because he has been a sports journalist in the Southern Lakes region ever since, also working on getting a teaching degree while coaching with several high school athletic programs throughout most of that time.

Dan Truttschel started his yearlong weight-loss journey on Jan. 8, 2019.

Physical transformation

“I was always on the heavy side … I weighed 220 pounds playing football in 1988-89,” Truttschel said. “But my bad habits really took over during college. You know, going out, drinking and not eating right. And when I got out of college, with my job and sitting at a desk and computer all of the time. Plus, I just didn’t care.”

But everything changed one fateful night in December 2018.

“I was out with friends and tripped and fell, breaking bones in both of my hands and really beating up my face. The next day I could barely move my hands and had to drive home … it hurt so bad.”

That’s when he made a life-changing decision.

“Like always, the first thing they do is put you on a scale. I was 431 pounds at that moment and was thinking, ‘What the hell have I done?’ I knew I needed to fix myself.”

His first step was contacting Weighless MD and Wellness in Kenosha. He met with dietitian Elizabeth Kletti for a consultation. Two weeks later he met her and registered nurse Amanda Picord at its Brookfield location. The latter has overseen his care and proved to be Truttschel’s No. 1 supporter the entire way.

That day (Jan. 8) they set up a regimen that focused on the controversial HCG diet — taking the hormone while adhering to a strict 800- to 1,200-calorie diet with the idea of losing as much weight as possible quickly.

“It meant cutting almost all carbs and fat and eating tons of protein and drinking tons of water,” Truttschel said. “I wanted to lose 5 to 6 pounds per week, and I lost 70 pounds in the first 12 weeks. So in April I stopped taking the HCG because it can have serious side effects.”

As one of Truttschel’s coaching colleagues, Catholic Central’s Wayne Schultz, once told him: “You can’t outwork a bad diet.”

So his revised program, starting in May, increased his daily calorie intake to about 1,600 to 1,700 and emphasized exercise and working out four or five days every week.

“I started out just walking a couple of miles around my house, and getting out in nature and the weather was great,” Truttschel said. “Then I joined Planet Fitness and got on a treadmill. I mixed in some light weights and did a little of everything from then through September or October.”

When it came to his diet, he removed bread entirely, along with alcohol, processed foods and snacks/junk food.

“It was a lot of chicken, and that got boring. But I eat a lot of fruits and veggies.”

He admitted the holidays didn’t help and that he cheated at Christmas.

However, Truttschel recently discovered a new element to his workout routine that he is confident will help him stay the course — boxing.

“Amanda also is a personal trainer and is an instructor at Body By Design in Muskego. I decided to try it and will be taking a class to see how I handle it. It was the hardest workout I’ve ever done, but I loved it.”

Registered nurse and personal trainer Amanda Picord has been along for every step of Dan Truttschel’s program.

Emotional roller coaster

Despite all of the visual signs and qualitative physical strides, the mental and emotional factors involved in such a major physical metamorphosis have been equally difficult to tackle.

“I look in the mirror all the time and can see the weight I’ve lost, but it’s a struggle getting over not being satisfied,” Truttschel said. “I get it that it takes time. That’s why you have to set reachable, short-term goals. I’m not there yet. That’s the whole mental part.

“But Amanda always tells me that this is all part of it,” he added. “And she knows all about what I’m dealing with because she’s been where I’ve been.

“Amanda has been a godsend to me,” Truttschel said. “I never would have continued without her, and she never takes any credit. You can’t put a price on how much she’s helped me, and we’ve become really good friends.”

Picord has lost more than 115 pounds and has used her experience and knowledge to pay it forward.

“I understand and appreciate what I’ve accomplished … the pictures don’t lie,” Truttschel said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication and support from the people helping me.”

Truttschel pointed out that when he started tests showed he had 54 percent body fat; today that number has melted away to 22 percent.

Now he is trying to raise enough money to undergo a surgery to remove excess skin that results from losing so much weight, which also involves a painful six- to-eight week recovery period.

But his insurance calls it cosmetic and doesn’t cover the procedure, so he has started a GoFundMe page and plans to schedule some public speaking engagements in hopes of reaching his financial goals.

So, that has added stress to the typical mental hurdles that Truttschel, who also has tried yoga, and others must clear during such a process.

“My energy level is so much higher and I’m so much more active, and I need to enjoy the fruits of that,” Truttschel said. “It’s about losing a pound here and a pound there, but you get too obsessed with the scale and the numbers, and that’s a big thing I need to get over. It’s hard to make yourself enjoy what you’ve done.

“But I never ever, ever thought I’d get to this point,” he added. “People have been cheering me on, and I don’t ever want to revert or go backward.

“So many people have reached out … kids I’ve coached, family and friends, so I want to help because you can’t do this alone,” Truttschel said about recent donations and support throughout his ordeal. “This has been a life-changing journey for me.”