“Nate accomplished more in six months than most people accomplish in 5 years.” That is how coach Kat introduced our next success story. Nate had started losing weight on his own prior to joining the program, but he wanted confirmation that he was doing the right thing, and to work with someone who had the knowledge and experience to help maximize his efforts. Nate said, “I had tried tracking calories before, but it never really stuck.”
Nate was motivated to take action after receiving a health screening report with high cholesterol numbers. With close family members on cholesterol and blood pressure medications, he wanted to avoid or delay the family history pattern and increase his quality of life and longevity. He said, “My original mindset was focused on the health screening numbers, but now it’s changed to focusing on how I’m feeling, and being overall healthy.”
The initial commitment to get started was Nate’s biggest obstacle. Past failure with meal tracking gave him doubts that it could work for him. But once he made the decision to commit to health improvement, he went all in: “I told myself this was what I wanted to do, and this is what I need to do to make it happen. There was no second option.” Coach Kat added, “He made a commitment and he had an open mind about how to succeed.”
Nate used a food tracker to learn how many calories were in the foods he was eating, and how different foods made him feel. He used this knowledge to choose nutrient-dense foods and healthier snacks. He also credits his health coach for giving him new insight and knowledge about himself, “She helped me along the way with things I didn’t even think about. It was a process that took time to stick to it. This accomplishment feels good.” The combination of food tracking and working with a health coach gave him knowledge and accountability that was key to his success.
Nate also became more physically active. He said, “When I first started, I was trying to start in pieces and not get too crazy. And then I would increase it (exercise) from 3 to 4 days. Now I work out 5 or 6 days a week. I plan my workouts and choose things I like doing to make them enjoyable.” Coach Kat pointed out that Nate was consistent with his exercise and activity, and did well adjusting his caloric intake to his activity level. The combination of consistency and choosing activity he liked was the second key to his success.
He also scheduled his exercise in the mornings before work, because after work he wanted to spend time with his wife and kids. In order to get up earlier, he had to go to bed earlier. If he didn’t get enough sleep, he didn’t want to get up and exercise. He said, “Now that I get more sleep, it makes it easier to make good decisions about my health because I’m not tired. When I wake up refreshed, I’m more likely to make a healthy breakfast rather than go through a drive-through on my way to work.” Coach Kat pointed out that it’s important to note that the responsibility of a wife and kids can often be an excuse for people to say they don’t have time for themselves; but Nate made it work. The combination of making time for himself and his health, with his love for being with his family allowed him to figure out a successful balance.
When Nate first started losing weight, he was cutting calories too aggressively and losing weight too quickly. Coach Kat encouraged him to slow things down, add more nutrition, and make sure he was satisfied after eating. She wanted to make sure he was making sustainable lifestyle changes, and not a quick fix. “We know that quick fixes are not sustainable, because once you go back to ‘normal’ you gain the weight back,” coach Kat said. Nate added, “This was one of the harder things I had to deal with, because I was having success and seeing the weight come off, which was my goal. So, to start eating more and go against what I had ingrained in my head was counterintuitive and hard to make adjustments that we talked about.”
Nate’s family has supported him along the way. Nate said, “They joined me on this journey whether they liked it or not, participating in my food experiments and dealing with me when I first started and was hungry. But now all four of us are in a better spot, and hopefully I’m instilling some eating habits in my children that took me 33 years to realize.” Nate admits it was tough to go through the process of changing his lifestyle, but it was worth it to get to where he is now. He’s proud of his accomplishment, and feels like he and his family are in a better situation. “I feel good, I feel healthier, I’m in a better spot now, and I’m happier with who I am.”