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!

 

Prioritizing My Health

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

 

I have had a long struggle with my weight and fitting exercise into my schedule, but when we had the Biggest Loser challenge last year, I lost 10 lbs that I have been able to keep off!  Thanks to my participation in the G.E.T Healthy program, I have kept track of my exercise, food that I eat, how much water I drink, stress-relieving activities that I participate in, and much more.  Luckily, this program helps to remind me to keep up my health as a priority, as well as gives me a way to identify weaknesses, and to set and meet goals for myself.  I have learned to make small changes to my health and to be proud of those changes that I have made.  I have increased my fruit and vegetable intake, drink less caffeine, and work out more consistently because of the focus I have been able to give my health.

Luckily, I work for a company that participates in and encourages programs throughout the entire year that focus on personal health.  Not only does it help keep health in mind, it gives me a sense of being part of a team with my co-workers.  I have the most supportive co-workers that encourage and help me when I need it.  I would not have been able to make the changes that I have made without these people.  I learn so much from my co-workers and when health and wellness is a topic of conversation within a group of people, ideas, experiences, and encouragement is shared.

Because of the focus I have given to my health, I have been able to take less medication and I just feel better.  Of course, this is a journey, and there is a hill to climb, but what I have accomplished so far and the life changes that my fiance and I have made together, we have a head start to a healthy life together.  My fiance and I work out together, encourage each other, and help each other to make better food choices (even when it is really tough).  Plus, being able to fit into a smaller size pair of jeans is always a great feeling!

 

Try It Tuesday: Magic Pops

August 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Fitness | Nutrition | Recipes - (0 Comments)

You may have noticed this large, noisy machine in your grocery stores recently. This machine ‘pops’ out a crispy disc-like wafer toting the nutrition facts of air, or almost! At 15 calories per large disc (about 6 in. diameter), I knew I had to give them a shot. And so, the obsession began.

Kim’s Magic Pops are all natural, fat free, low in carbs, and at 15 calories any dieter’s dream. They are available in plain, onion, strawberry, cheddar, and cinnamon at the location where I got mine. My first purchase was the ‘original’ which I topped with store bought hummus. My afternoon snack was literally 60 calories and gave me the satisfaction of eating a bag of chips and dip. My next venture was to the onion, which happens to pair perfectly with my favorite food of all time: Salsa. I whipped up my famous blender salsa, broke a few wafers into pieces and fell in love. I got all the taste and flavor of chips and salsa with 5% of the calories.

My Magic Pop’s Pairings:

Onion – hummus
Onion – salsa
Cheddar Cheese – low calorie cheese spreads
Cheddar Cheese – salad bowls
Strawberry – sugar free jams
Strawberry – fruit
Cinnamon – yogurt
Cinnamon – any nut butters

Have you had the chance to try the magic pops? What are some of your favorite pairings?