“If You’re Disciplined and work at it, you can do it!”
Like so many of us, Jim’s weight crept up over the years. His first serious attempt at weight loss was in a Fasting Program at the Positive Choice Integrative Wellness Center. He lost the excess weight quickly but went back to old habits and re-gained. Feeling frustrated, he decided fasting wasn’t for him, so he joined a Healthy Balance full-food program. It was in this program he started building a practice of eating healthy foods. His counselor Kay started every class with exercise and 10 minutes of meditation; and it was Kay’s introduction to the benefits of meditation that Jim credits with his continued meditation practice. Since his class with Kay, he has logged in over 1349 days straight of meditation on his mobile app called Calm.
As long as Jim was participating in a Healthy Balance class he did well, but over time the demands of his work life took over and the long hours made it impossible for him to attend class. A busy teacher, baseball, and football coach meant 12 to 14-hour days and a lot of stress. He let go of his Healthy Balance program and the healthy habits and started to rely on the convenience of processed meals and fast food. His blood sugars crept up as did his cholesterol and blood pressure.
One summer, Jim’s work load increased significantly as he was assigned a major project designing a county-wide High School field trip for the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument. His thoughts we’re “I’ll get back to eating right, exercising, and stress management when this project is done.” Sadly, just as Jim was completing the project he suffered a major stroke at the age of 61.
Jim was forced into retirement before he was ready and the sudden loss of work, being home, and the demands physically of recovering from a stroke left Jim feeling depressed and anxious. His weight crept up, he couldn’t exercise, his health issues worsened.
Jim decided to get back into another Healthy Balance program. He had to wait a month to get into a group, but he was so motivated he started on his own practicing the many things he had learned from Kay. In this new group his counselor Lizzy, a former Olympic qualifier for race walking, emphasized the benefits of exercise.
Jim and his son adopted a rescue dog from Mexico. Jim says, “I saved the dog, and my dog saved me!” With Lizzy’s guidance and encouragement, Jim started walking his dog for short distances. In time, he and his dog were walking regularly for 1 -2 hours every day. He started being only able to walk 2 miles per hour, but over time he was walking 4, then 8, then 11 miles at a time. Often logging in 24,000 steps a day. Lizzy encouraged Jim to start some resistance training to build his muscle mass and Jim started alternating days between strength training and Pilates at home or using park benches for leg raises and push-ups while out walking.
The strategies Jim credits with helping him the most are:
- Being 100% committed
- Using the plate method of making ¾ of his plate at meals coming from vegetables, beans and grains
- Having a serving or two of probiotic rich foods every day, yogurt, sauerkraut, and a probiotic supplement
- Staying hydrated
- Practicing daily meditation and mindfulness
- Walking daily and at home resistance training
- Getting proper sleep
In just a year and a half after his stroke, Jim had made a full recovery and lost 105 pounds. He reversed his trend towards diabetes and recovered completely from a fatty liver. His blood pressure and cholesterol recovered as well. Jim was loving life and then…
While bathing his dog Jim slipped on the wet floor and hit his head. Suffering a brain hematoma, Jim required brain surgery. Now unable to drive, difficulty talking and memory issues, Jim had to start recovering all over again. Undaunted, Jim fought back and in as little as 3 months has recovered most of the fitness and health he worked so hard to achieve. When Jim recovered his speech and ability to drive he started to get his workout routine back where it was. Jim set the timer on his Fitbit to remind him every hour to get up and move. Every day, on the hour, Jim walks for 3 minutes or 250 -300 steps. He started walking around his house and backyard and as his recovery progressed, he started his walks with his dog again. Jim now regularly gets in 18,000 or more steps daily.
During his weekly speech therapy meetings, a physical therapist lent him her copy of Dr. Mike Moreno’s book, The 17-day Diet. When Jim read the book, he felt like Dr. Mike was talking directly to him. Dr. Moreno was emphasizing all the strategies Jim found so valuable. Recently Jim had an opportunity to meet Dr. Mike, the physician in charge at the Positive Choice Integrative Wellness Center and thank him in person.
Through all the challenges in this last year, Jim recovered his health from a stroke and terrible fall, lost 105 pounds, and re-discovered his life. He is waiting to get into his next round of Healthy Balance and is loving life. He describes his experience at the Positive Choice Integrative Wellness Center as “Life changing” and “What a relief!” His advice to others, “If you’re disciplined and work at it, you can do it.”