A Sound Mind and Body Achieved through Lifestyle Changes

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A retired administrator and teacher, I now spend the majority of my time cooking, reading, traveling, and gardening. I had been in a weight loss program years before and had slowly seen the weight creep back on. I decided my weight had gotten to an unacceptable (and potentially dangerous) point and coincidentally saw a flyer for the Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) program in my doctor’s office. I asked my doctor if I would be eligible for the program, and when he told me I was, I joined with a determination to succeed.

When I began the GLB program, I had high blood pressure, borderline blood sugar, and a high HbA1c*. I completed the program last summer, and am still doing well. I have maintained my weight loss and have even lost a little more. My blood pressure medicine has been cut considerably, and when I visit my doctor next, I hope to be able to stop it altogether. My HbA1c has been down and at a good level since I started the program. I now swim four or five times a week for about 45 minutes, and not only is it great exercise, it offers exceptional mental relief as well. The exercise has been critical in helping me maintain my weight and lose more–slowly. My knees aren’t in great shape, so swimming is a wonderful activity and workout for me; I miss it if I skip a session. I don’t hurt myself in the pool and can do things that I can’t do on “land” like sustaining a fairly intense level of activity.

For me, the most helpful aspect of the GLB program was having someone oversee the tracking of my food and physical activity. This gave me a clear indication of what I was doing so that I could make positive changes. The only barrier I have is when it comes to eating out, which is always difficult. I have kind of trained myself that I don’t have to do the whole dinner thing, that an appetizer and salad will work. My life is now much more under control, and I just don’t feel as food-oriented. I’m not hungry all the time—and have really reduced the amount that I eat. I have cut out a lot of fat and virtually don’t buy butter anymore, and I used to be a butter hound! I eat less meat and a lot more fiber. I bought a number of used low-fat, low-calorie cookbooks that have great variety and the appropriate portion size; they are a lot of fun, providing opportunities for variety and experimentation.

There are many reasons for continuing to eat healthfully and being active: one big reason is that I want to get completely off of the blood pressure medicine, and overall, I just feel better! Losing weight and being active have helped my knees considerably and I don’t have nearly the stomach problems that I did in the past. My advice for those trying to improve their health and overall well-being is to make permanent, healthy lifestyle changes. I know that I will maintain these healthy changes for the rest of my life because it’s a given—I have to!

* An indicator of glucose control