As many of you know, I am a co-creator of a Wellness and Lifestyle Group at the Family Practice Group (FPG). The Wellness and Lifestyle Groups are by far my favorite part of the job. This is because my groups graciously invite me into their lives. I get to see their struggles and triumphs in a more intimate way, that I often don’t get to see in my individual appointments. I look forward to every Tuesday evening because I watch these amazing people, who have so many obstacles in their lives, take steps to transform and it is astonishing. Losing weight is not that hard! However, the struggles to keep weight off, create a NEW YOU and a new lifestyle in my opinion is one of the most difficult and challenging things anyone will ever have to face in their lifetime.
My inspiration for motivation story today features an incredible man who has transformed his life and surpasses me and most of my clients when it come to the optimal healthy lifestyle. Rick joined our groups in 2011 at 237 pounds and 42 inch waist. Through his journey he has lost 82 pounds and 10 inches in his waist and more importantly he is in tip-top shape and healthy has improved immensely.
From day one you could not miss Ricks’s determination and attention to detail, he used his fitbit to track his activity and loseit.com to track his intake. He set himself up for success because he got direct feedback and data to work with and made adjustments around his habits. He realized one-size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss, so he had to find the lifestyle that worked for him. The real victory for Rick in my opinion, was he was willing to change the culture of who he was, so much so he has now taken on a vegan life style. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he does more “walking the walk” than most of us. He should be very proud of all his success in transforming his lifestyle and I am so happy to share Rick’s story with you.
Why did you want to lose weight & when did you start your journey?
My family was concerned that I had gained weight, and my wife mentioned she was concerned that by the time I retired, I wouldn’t be healthy enough to have the active lifestyle we each look forward to.
What changes have you noticed/appreciated the most other than the weight loss?
My energy levels are higher, and my stress levels are lower. I’m in a high-stress finance job, and I find I am much less likely to be “reactive” in stressful situations… In some ways it is like they say on the airlines, “put your own oxygen mask on before helping the person next to you.”
Additionally, the blood test results that were so concerning in July 2011 have been completely reversed:
|Measure||July 8, 2011||Feb 13, 2012|
|HDL “Good Cholesterol”||40||93|
|LDL “Bad Cholesterol”||165||104|
|Risk Factor (Total/HDL)||6.5||2.3|
When/why did weight become an issue for you?
Weight has been an issue for most of my life. When I exercised vigorously, I could keep it under control, but anytime my life started getting busier, my exercise would slack off, and I would gain weight. The issue became acute in early forties when I realized (with Dr. Altman’s help) that my cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides and weight combined to put me at significantly elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, and/or Type II diabetes. That was when I decided to enroll in the Wellness Group (July, 2011).
What does a day of eating look like for you most of the time now?
I eat primarily whole grain, plant-based foods. Breakfast is usually Kashi Go-Lean original cereal (great fiber and protein). Lunch is a large salad with a variety of vegetables and legumes to really beef it up, plus Jalapeño peppers for zest, and occasionally walnuts for fat and calories. Dinner is another salad, or sometimes another vegetarian, non-dairy alternative. I find eating healthy in restaurants is actually pretty cheap and easy this way as well, I simply order a salad and ask for cheese to be replaced with nuts or other vegetables, and/or order a veggie burger if salads don’t seem appealing at the moment.
What do you do for exercise?
I exercise at least 3-4 times per week, using a combination of cardio (either calisthenics or the Elliptical machine), as well as exercises to strengthen my core, and weight lifting which emphasizes the stabilizing muscles by using unstable surfaces, one armed movements, body weight, etc., rather than doing basic lifts with heavy weights.
What was the key to your success?
The biggest difference for me between this time and previous efforts is the sense of control I have by learning about and practicing nutrition… it gives me a real sense of control, even when I am unable (or uninspired) to work out. It feels so good to know “all is not lost” if I miss a workout.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, and find what works for you. If you are someone who likes videos, I found ‘Forks-over-Knives’ and ’23 and ½ hours’ both very inspirational and educational. If you like to read, both ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’ and ‘The China Study’ are great inspirations to me.
What keeps you motivated?
As a bottom-line finance guy, I enjoy seeing the results of all this work, and having detailed metrics of my progress. Consequently, I use an application called loseit.com on my phone to track my food intake, exercise, weight and key measurements. That way, it is easy for me to see whether I am ‘on-track’ or ‘off-track’ at any given time, and to recover appropriately when the inevitable lapses occur. Note, because I follow a fairly regular diet, it takes me only seconds per meal to track, and works very well for me.
Who supports you and how?
My wife and kids have been very supportive, and my wife is actually adjusting her nutrition in similar ways. Interestingly, many other people seemed disturbed by the changes in my body, and keep saying “you’re not going to lose any more weight, are you?” It has taken me a while to simply accept the fact that I am the best judge of what feels right for my body, and to let their judgments go.
What are your next goals for health/weight?
Primarily to maintain this healthy lifestyle, and perhaps to begin doing some heavier lifting to regain some of the muscle mass I had in college.
My challenge this week is make lifelong commitment to YOU! When you do, share your success with others, you never know who you are going to inspire!