A New Year, A New Me

August 2nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Be Well Story - (0 Comments)

* A submitted story

I have lost 56lbs since March 1, 2013.  After 3 weeks into my weight loss journey, I was taken off my blood pressure medicine.  No more sugar or diet soda and have learned to eat healthy no matter where I am.  We spend our time geocaching and walking. My weight loss program team along with co-workers have cheered me on and we have tried to eat better in the work environment. I give God the glory for making this change in my life and as a Great-grandmother I look forward to spending time and keeping up with the family growth.

Clarity in the Chaos

June 28th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Be Well Story - (0 Comments)

*A Submitted Story

Like many young adults, alcohol was a huge part of my social life.  Drinking at gatherings was accepted and a part of what we did.  It never seemed odd or out of place.  It never dawned on me that alcohol was the reason we got together, but it was always there.

During the 12 years that I was a drunk, my life was a mixture of disorder, chaos, pain, and hopelessness.  I lied – to almost everyone.  I lost important relationships.  I lost tens of thousands of dollars.  I lost and used friends.  I lost my self-respect.  I didn’t see that then, but it is crystal clear now.

Thank God that I had a friend, Julie, who was willing to risk our friendship in order to help me.

Since I have been sober I have: met my wife, been a father to two beautiful daughters, engaged a fantastic job, regained my health, attempted to help others, shared my story, and I have regained my self-respect.

I see alcohol addiction as similar to cancer, as a disease that is treatable.  I have not met many cancer patients that are embarrassed by their disease.  They are fighters and brave.  Alcoholics need to fight as well for the clarity that comes from removing the shackles of this disease.

Be brave! – ask for help! – sober life is beautiful!

Healthy Hunter On The Run

August 20th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Be Well Story - (0 Comments)

The reality of my wellness journey started on a mid-fall morning.  I had been hunting an area along the Missouri River, and I watched a deer that would be the envy of any hunter, scale a steep slope and disappear over the ridge.  As I reached the top in a weak attempt to follow, it became apparent.  My physical fitness limitations had hindered my ability to make the most of this situation.  If I were in better condition, there is a chance that I could have watched him disappear over the distance and made a plan to continue my chase.  That became a large thread in my motivation to seek better health.  At the beginning of my journey, I carried an extra 45 pounds of weight.  I would struggle to jog any distance greater than 1/8 to ¼ mile.  What surprises me most, at the time, I considered myself in “okay or fair” shape.  After all, compared to the obesity epidemic in our country, I was growing at a slower rate than others.

Sometimes it only takes a wake-up call to provide that spark of motivation for a change.  In general, we are properly taught to focus on others; we should be more caring and empathetic.  For the majority of our life, I agree with this philosophy.  However when it comes to motivation for a change in health, I can’t disagree more with this approach.  I feel we should all capture a combination of things that we can use as motivators for change.  While my story of watching a large 6×6 whitetail deer fleet up a steep slope seems ridiculous to some, it was enough for me.  Do you have to share your motivation with others?  I think that depends on you.  This is the first time that I’ve spelled out that “Ah-ha” moment when I began my journey.

Over the next 18-months, I made several changes.  I began exercising regularly.  I removed SOME (but not all) sources of fatty foods.  For me, I’ve replaced most (by most I mean 99%) fast foods with more healthy choices that include fresh sandwich shops and similar “better” choices.  These changes resulted in one of the most historically successful diet programs known – I ate less (calories) and did more (exercise).

Throughout this process, I focused on one small step at a time.  I distinctly recall the first session on a treadmill.  I would literally have to look at the small dots measuring my distance and will myself to make it 0.125, 0.2, or even a crazy 0.25 miles, before stopping to catch my breath in a near collapsed state.  For those of you who are not too familiar with distance measure, a quarter-mile is one loop of a standard outdoor track, or the length of about 4 football fields.  The key to me through this process was this, I saw what I could do, and I set small and incremental goals to keep striving for.  What started as small increments of jogging turned longer and longer as my body became more capable.  Where I once struggled to complete 1/8th of a mile, I now frequently run 3-5 miles most days of the week.  In addition to my routine running, my enjoyment of this activity has led me to more trail running and participation in several of the “extreme mud obstacle” races that are becoming quite popular.  No matter your choice in exercise, if you do as you can, and continue to push yourself for slow and steady improvement, you will find results.

Over the last 18-months, what had started as a means to lose weight has become something that I truly enjoy doing for myself.   When I first stepped on the treadmill, I never imagined that, however each day each step has brought me to where I am.  As I look back over my journey, I am thankful for the combination of that steep hill and quick deer to show me exactly what I was missing out on.  I encourage you to see what you’re missing, and take the steps to not miss it any longer.

My wellness journey started after what I viewed to be an unsuccessful weight loss competition at work.  As I recall, I did lose around 9 pounds over a 12 week period, but my heart wasn’t in it and I didn’t have the desire to continue trying and then the “trifecta” occurred. . .   my son, who was 4 ½ at the time, asked me – as he patted my stomach – when I was going to have my baby, a co-worker thought I had Type 2 diabetes – often associated with people who are over-weight, and last but not least, I saw a picture of myself at my niece’s First Communion and thought “who is that person wearing my clothes” ???  The “trifecta” occurred within a 7 day period of time and I decided that the body I was walking around in didn’t do my spirit justice and it was time to do something about it.

 

Because of my history of Type 1 diabetes, I consulted my physician for some guidance – I was directed to a dietician.  The dietician said all the things I’d heard before but for the most part wasn’t following.  What made a difference for me this time around was a meal plan specific for me.  I reduced and limited my carb intake, increased my water intake to 80+ ounces a day, increased my protein intake – making sure I had a protein source with each meal and increased my green veggie intake to 2 cups with lunch & dinner.  I tracked everything I ate, made sure I included the appropriate amounts all food groups each day and stayed away from simple sugar foods.  The dietician met with me on a routine basis to review my food logs and do body measurements – weight; arm, leg chest & waist circumference; BMI & body fat.  At the same time, we started a walking program at work.  With the support and encouragement from my co-workers/team mates, I began walking 1 mile during my morning & afternoon breaks.

 

What happened was that over a period of 9 months not only did I lose 60 pounds, but more importantly, I taught my children the importance of eating healthy and exercising.  With the weight loss came more energy and better blood sugar control – as well as a need for less insulin.   It has been 15 months since I started this journey and I couldn’t be happier about the “trifecta”!  I have gained about 5 pounds back – maintaining is the real challenge, it seems to come back faster than it leaves.

 

As I continue this wellness journey, I remind myself. . .   “Eat when and what is needed, not out of want”.

Strong Commitment = Strong Body

August 20th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Be Well Story - (0 Comments)

I have had success with different diet plans and fads in the past, but as soon as I was off the plan I would gain everything back.  January, 2012 I weighed the most I ever had, so I decided just to get back to the basics.  I didn’t start another program, but decided to just track my food and exercise.  The changes I have made nutritionally are really to cut back on portion sizes, cut out most fried or fast foods and to make sure that I eat more fruits and vegetables.  I have also added a group boot camp twice a week to my regular gym routine.  Since January 2012 I have lost 25 lbs.  I feel like by losing weight slowly, steadily and without so much pressure on myself, that this time I will just keep losing, and not re-gain everything I have worked so hard to lose.

 

My Co-workers have been my main resources in keeping me going on my wellness journey.  It’s great to be able to talk about healthy foods, exercise, and also to participate with my co-workers with our wellness programs.  Neither my friends nor my family are into exercise, healthy eating and aren’t ready to change their lifestyles at this point. If I didn’t have the support I have at work, it would be so much more difficult for me as I would essentially be doing everything alone.

 

It’s shown me that I am stronger than I realized.  Mentally, I know wellness is something you have to commit to, and I’m learning that I’m strong enough to make healthy choices a majority of the time.  Physically I’m stronger than I have been in a long time.  I don’t have dreams of being “skinny” but I dream of doing real pushups and running further than I did the time before.

 

If I didn’t have the support of my co-workers, and the support of DAKOTACARE, I don’t believe I’d be having the level of success that I have today.  I’m so grateful!