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CHRI’s Church Media Coordinator, Trudy Connelly’s Weight-Loss Success Story!

February 1st, 2015 Posted in Healthy Living
Have you found it difficult to stick with a lifestyle change to meet a weight loss goal? If so, I hope my story will encourage you. Of course, anyone with a medical condition must check with their medical professional before making significant changes in diet or beginning an exercise program.Just like any change we want to make in life, it takes a decision to get started and, in particular, to keep going to reach the desired result. And, setting a specific goal is important. Resetting the goal is allowed.

trudy_beforeIn the past I’ve been sceptical about the effectiveness of making New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of January, or more accurately sticking to resolutions for the duration. But, I decided in January 2014 that I wanted to be healthier and lose 15 pounds, which would take me down from 145 to 130 lbs. I’m only 5’4″ so I was carrying extra weight that I really didn’t need and I want to be healthy well into my senior years, God willing. I really set my mind to the goal and was determined to work towards it. Possibly the added inspiration of seeing a couple of my CHRI colleagues very successful with their weight loss endeavours played a role. I also kept picturing in my mind the ultimate result of better health and looking better – and the potential excuse for a new wardrobe or a few new pieces of clothing at a minimum was pretty exciting.

trudy_fitbitTo make it easy, I started with some simple gradual changes. Firstly, I implemented a regular at-home mini-exercise program comprised of a 10 to 12 minute workout 4-5 days a week using an easy-to- follow video. I knew that if I started out with a lengthy intensive workout I would probably not stick with it. I did (and still do) my workout first thing in the morning which I found is best for me. Then it’s done for the day and I can focus on other things. I don’t particularly like getting up at the crack of dawn but the prospect of just 10 to 12 minutes earlier wasn’t too daunting. A few mornings it did take a bit of self-talk to get out of bed earlier than usual but most mornings I really looked forward to the workout. The routine was simply a 1-2 minute warm-up, 4 minutes of aerobics (simple jogging in place works), 2-3 minutes of core exercises, 2 minutes of free weights and a 1 minute cool down.

trudy_appSecondly, I knew I had to focus on nutrition as the other important ingredient to reach my goal. The old adage “You are what you eat” makes perfect sense.  I have never been much of a junk food person but I do like to eat and eat frequently. How happy I was to learn that eating frequent small meals is highly recommended. Of course, what you consume during those frequent meals is key! Again keeping it simple was my approach. I didn’t want to have to spend much time counting calories or weighing food so I used a phone app that allowed me to easily enter the foods I ate at each meal & snack and then the program totalled the calories & percentage of fat, carbs & protein at the end of the day.

I took a weight management genetic test a couple of weeks into January to determine what type of diet best suited me specifically for optimum results. Results are divided into 3 categories: 1) carb reducer,2) fat trimmer and 3) better balancer. I received my results within 4 to 5 weeks. In the interim I did my short exercise routine and did my best at making better nutrition choices.   The genetic test result recommended the “fat reduction” program for me – with no more than 30% of daily calories from fat; 50 – 65% carbs, and 15% or more from protein. With that information in hand I simply adjusted some of my food choices to those with lower fat content (i.e. lower fat milk, cheese, yogourt) and focused on the good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. I started to closely read the labels on food items checking for the fat & protein content and aiming for low sugar content as well.

trudy_yogurtThe genetic test result also indicated more vigorous exercise was in order. I wasn’t terribly thrilled with that recommendation, but to keep things simple (again) I just doubled the 4 minute aerobic portion of my program and added a little intensity. So, I was still doing a short routine of no more than 14 to 20 minutes max in the morning for exercise. On the fun side I purchased a “fit bit” wireless wrist band which tracks steps, distance and calories burned. I focused mainly on the number of steps per day and set a goal of 10,000 steps.   It became a fun game to see how close I could get to that goal by the end of the day. I wore the wristband all day so it calculated the steps from my early morning workout and all steps taken in the course of the day. As the weather warmed I started “serious” walking outside in the early evening and on weekends. On the days that I reached my 10,000 steps the wristband would flash a light and vibrate. I was simply competing against myself and it became great fun and the pounds came off. On the nutrition side, I discovered how tasty Greek low-fat yogourt is with fresh berries – just about as good as any dessert. I developed the habit of checking and comparing the ingredients listed on food labels in order to make better choices.

trudy_afterSlow and easy wins the race and by the end of May I had reached my goal and lost 15 lbs. I then decided to shoot for another 5 lbs which I lost by late June so I ended up at 125 lbs which seemed like a good weight for me.

Some may have preferred faster results but I was thrilled and it hadn’t been all that difficult. Most importantly I have developed the habit of a healthier lifestyle with regular workouts and good nutrition. The occasional treat isn’t a bad thing but I quite enjoy my regular diet. I eat frequently (i.e. morning and afternoon snacks) plus main meals. I don’t use my food app anymore since I have a good sense of what is best for me to eat. I regularly check the labels on foods before I purchase anything new. I don’t eat much bread but when I do I look for unbleached non-enriched flour and whole grains. And, I’ve maintained the same weight. Come spring I will likely pull out the “fit bit” again and do some serious walking just because it’s fun as well as a great exercise with the added benefit of fresh air.

If my story helps to encourage one person to pursue a weight management goal which they had given up on then I will be very happy. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy lifestyle in 2015.

By Trudy Connelly
Church Media Coordinator

 

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