Mayor slims down for Heart Walk: The secret? No more Diet Coke
by Sarah Westwood
August 01, 2014 04:00 AM | 5824 views | 7 7 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews shows off his new trimmer form Wednesday in downtown Kennesaw, after losing 55 pounds since April. Cutting out Diet Cokes helped lose the weight, he said. He will be walking this year in the Heart Walk 5K in October. <br> Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews shows off his new trimmer form Wednesday in downtown Kennesaw, after losing 55 pounds since April. Cutting out Diet Cokes helped lose the weight, he said. He will be walking this year in the Heart Walk 5K in October.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
A 2013 photo of Mathews before his weight loss. <br> Staff/Kelly J. Huff
A 2013 photo of Mathews before his weight loss.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
KENNESAW — The mayor of Kennesaw is preparing for an event dedicated to healthy hearts by making sure his own is safe.

Mark Mathews, who will lead one of several teams associated with the city during the American Heart Association’s 5K Heart Walk this fall, has lost 60 pounds since December.

“It’s just been the craziest thing, because I’ve got more energy, I feel better, I’m sleeping better, I’m eating better, I’m thinking better. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done for me now,” Mathews said.

After putting off the “proverbial New Year’s resolution to lose weight,” Mathews said he decided to make an effort in February.

He said he began to up his physical activity and monitor his diet until his birthday in April, when he received his annual physical.

Although Mathews had lost about 10 pounds, he said his blood pressure remained high and he “still felt horrible.”

“The only thing (the doctor) would do is refer me to a dietician and suggest that I cut back on Diet Coke. That’s right, Diet Coke,” Mathews said.

Mathews said he went from drinking 10 to 12 Diet Cokes a day to just two at the end of April, and on May 1, drank his last sip.

The mayor credits the soda’s elimination from his refrigerator for his slim-down.

“That’s the only thing I can attribute it to,” he said. “I’m more active. I’m not as hungry, so I’m not eating as much. I no longer have sleep apnea.”

Mathews said he experienced no symptoms of withdrawal from a soft drink many say can be addicting.

“I’ve had no headaches, nothing people talk about for giving up Diet Coke,” he said. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Mathews said his efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle “fit right in” with the upcoming Heart Walk fundraiser, which will take place at Kennesaw State University on Oct. 25.

He said he was introduced to the event through his employer, Metro Atlanta Ambulance, and decided it would provide “a good challenge” for the city.

Mathews said he will try to raise $2,500 before the 5K, while the city has set its goal at $25,000.

So far, Mathews said supporters of his team have paid $950 and committed a total of $1,300 toward his fundraising goal.

He said the city has just begun the process of promoting its effort and has not begun collecting donations.

Councilwoman Cris Eaton-Welsh is one of four teammates who have signed up to participate in the walk with Mathews.

Eaton-Welsh said she expects the 5K to be an easy feat because she is already training for a marathon.

“I think it goes along with the wellness work we’re doing already,” she said of the city’s participation in the event. Kennesaw’s Fit City initiative puts “the focus on getting people active and moving,” Eaton-Welsh said.

Launched in 2012, the initiative partners the city with private entities such as WellStar to encourage healthier lifestyles, she said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 04, 2014
First of all let's add the part that was left out.That little bottle on liquid sitting on the table at Whistle Stop - Hydroxycut. Liquid Hydroxycut added to your water and exercise program enhances the quick and drastic weight loss. Losing the Diet Cokes alone didn't cause the drop of that much weight, and anyone who drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day and then stops will experience caffeine withdrawals, which includes headaches (this if from experience), unless they are supplementing something that has caffeine (which Hydroxycut does) as does most diet supplements. Any physician will also tell you that dropping that much weight so quickly isn't good for the body - a slower, gradual weight loss doesn't cause as much extreme shock on the body or organs. Care needs to be taken when bragging on weight loss that we don't leave out the complete process taken in the achievement. I applaud the Mayor for losing the weight but let's be realistic telling everything being done to achieve this pre-election, photo-op coverage new look. I hope people aren't fooled by the outside packaging.
For the City
August 07, 2014
Good Eye! People are tired of the bs here in Kennesaw and the biggest lies come out of the mouth of the so called mayor. Glad you let the public know the truth about the Hydroxycut! What a liar he is as usual. Example bashing his own City and Council to the students of KSU. Only two years left and you Mr. Mayor and Timmy boy are out of here.
Mark Mathews
August 07, 2014
It's good to know that the amount of jealousy is so high that someone ("Unbelievabletout") would make something up so ridiculous and more so that someone else,("For The City") would believe, endorse and support the lie.

I'm very familiar with many of the posters that like to hide behind their keyboard on this site and if they weren't so ashamed of their own obesity they would probably try to do something about their own weight.

"Unbelievabletout" If you were courageous enough to step up to the table to talk with me you would see that the "mystery liquid" on my table is actually my coffee sweetener called Stevia not a "diet liquid" by any name. I typically carry extra bottles to share with my friends and would be happy to share it with you if you like.

Also, to further clarify some of your "concern" I am under very close monitoring of my progress with my Primary Care Physician as well as my Wellness Coach at the city. I made the commitment to make a difference in my life by getting my health under control and promoting Fit City Kennesaw while doing it.

I hope that you as well as many others will follow suit, you never know, you may find that you aren't as miserable as you are today!

Great Job Mayor
August 01, 2014
Congratulations Mayor on a job well done.

What marathon is she training for? The Muffin Top Marathon?
Church Streeter
August 01, 2014
So... you drink a 12-pack of diet soda every day and wondered why you're overweight with high blood pressure? How could you not see that as a problem?

-Mind Blown

Hey Mind Blown
August 01, 2014
You are are such a positive supporter. Keep up the stellar work!
August 01, 2014
Congratulations Mark, you look great .
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