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Friedgen chews fat, only figuratively page 2
STEVE DESHAZO: Skinnier Friedgen hopes better health may inspire Terps to more wins

 His weight down to 301, Ralph Friedgen says he's adjusting to smaller clothes.
Chuck Burton/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 7/28/2009

By Steve DeShazo

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"They wanted to see me healthy," Friedgen said yesterday at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff media festivities. "So I decided to give it a try."

With the help of a diet company called Medifast, Friedgen drastically altered his eating habits. He grudgingly gave up pasta--"I married an Italian, for one, so that was hard," he said with a grin--and alcohol.

His daily regimen now includes 4 ounces of oatmeal for breakfast, soup at lunch and occasional protein bars during the day. He tries to eat small meals every three hours instead of three big ones to trick his body's metabolism into increasing. He also eschews the Terrapins' training table, eating in his office to avoid temptation.

He dropped 16 pounds (mostly water weight) in the first week of his diet, although he admits it altered his blood sugar and left him dizzy on hot days. But he has stuck to it and said his most recent blood-pressure reading was a very normal 128/78.

"The first 50 pounds were easy," he said. "It got tougher after that."

While Friedgen was shedding pounds, he didn't lose his sense of humor. He said that when the Terps traveled to Boise, Idaho's famous blue field for the Humanitarian Bowl last December, the mother of former star receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey paid him a compliment.

"I had lost about 60 pounds by that point, and she said, 'Coach, the blue field makes you look skinny.' I said. 'We've got to get one of these at Maryland.'"

Instead, the Terps are investing in facility upgrades, including corporate suites at Byrd Stadium. So while their home field grows larger, their coach gets smaller.

Friedgen's ultimate but unlikely goal is to drop 150 pounds. He said that if he can dip below 300, he and his friend, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid (who's reportedly 75 pounds lighter), may tape commercials for Medifast.

Regardless, he plans to keep the weight off for good this time. And he doesn't need a scale to tell if he's winning this battle.

"Going on a diet is like keeping score," he said. "I used to weigh myself every day. Now, it's maybe once a week. But I've gotten to the point where I can tell from my clothes whether I'm losing weight."

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443
Email: sdeshazo@freelancestar.com


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