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#Mary Kmak

Health Warrior Mary

Hello Readers,

For the past two years I’ve shared my journey on the TMC for Women blog, specifically topics that I felt helped me with my weight loss journey.

My weight loss journey hasn’t always been easy or straight forward. For many of us it’s difficult to lose weight and even harder when life becomes stressful.

This past year was a particularly trying year for me. I lost my younger brother.  There were days when I just had a hard time going to see him in the end because he was very sick, but I did and never missed his request.  There were times where I would hit a plateau and the scale would not budge.  Eventually, I worked through each and every plateau.  2016 was my year of colds, viruses, and even a short two night hospital stay.  I kept going and never quit, gave up or complained. In fact, I believe everything I went through made me stronger and more determined to reach goal weight.

Although I didn’t achieve my goal weight this year I’m certain I will next year. There is no hurry with your health journey, it’s more important to keep going and never give up.

I learned the healthy way of losing weight through the TMC Wellness programs which I attended and the best dietitians, Mary and Laurie.

This journey started with a promise that I made to my beloved mom on her death bed. I promised to take care of myself, to lose the extra weight and regain my health that I had neglected during the 12 years I was caring for her.

Many people have ask me today if I would take care of my mom for those 12 years if I could do it all over again knowing the impact that it would have on my health and career.  The answer will always remain the same YES! Why ? I gained a lifetime of extra special memories of a wonderful lady, my mom. The job I left wasn’t as important as the job I had caring for my mom. The money wasn’t as valuable as my time with my mom and the Steeler games were just as good on TV. In fact, I had the best seat at the game.  Most importantly the promise I made to my mom helped me lose alot of weight and regain my health back.

I put myself out there with my personal journey on this blog. Often I’d talk about topics which my family and friends couldn’t believe because I am a private quiet person. I did this in the hope I could help others struggling with being overweight and the associated health issues.  I want everyone to know if I can lose weight you can too with no excuses. I  want to thank the following who I believe helped me succeed, Laurie Ledford, Mary Atkinson, TMC Wellness and Mike Urquhart. I also want to thank Rachel Miller for allowing me to write for two years and endlessly editing my posts and giving me the best feedback.

Also, last, but not least all of you, my fabulous readers, who followed and allowed me to give one last gift to my beloved mom. My tribute of reaching one million views on Mary’s Promise.

May God bless, keep you healthy and wishing everyone the best New Year.

Good bye.

Love,
Mary

Health Warrior

Mary Kmak has lost over 130 pounds using what she learned in TMC Wellness classes. She has shared her journey on TMC for Women in Mary’s Promise.  We commend Mary for all her hard work and for sharing her commitment and passion on her health journey. Well done Mary, you’re an inspiration.

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results? Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Challenges to Weight Loss – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.

Hello Readers,
December and the holidays presented some challenges to my exercise and healthy living routine. I have a family member not doing well in the hospital and I go every day to visit them. This takes time away from my daily exercises though I still managed to walk my 30 minutes every day and sometimes twice a day, but I’ve  maintained my weight; no loss no gain.

Even though I didn’t lose any weight,  I am happy with no gain, given that I’ve not been able to exercise to the same degree.

I started the New Year out right and am back to 30 minutes on the exercycle along with my 30 minute walk daily and I feel great!  In the past I would have gained the typical seven to ten pounds during the holidays, but, after making a lifestyle change I stand proud with a 102 pound loss and I’m moving forward. If this was a fad diet I would have gained weight!

The Weight loss resolution involves a lot of changes for those serious to achieving their goal. As you prepare your action plans each week try including the following in your plan:

  1. Allot time to plan and prepare your meals.

    Know ahead of time what you are going to eat and make it happen. If you don’t and you get hungry you will eat any and everything. I do my weekly menu on Sunday. I make sure for every meal I plan that I have all the correct food so I eat properly.

  2. Prioritize movement

    I stress walks because it’s easy and a good start. Even the addition of a 10 minute walk every day can help. You must start out with baby steps and work you way up from there.  Check out this information on how to start a walking program using an activity device like a Fitbit from Mayo Clinic. 

A challenging December makes me more motivated to keep going after maintaining my weight. We will always have stresses in life, but it is how we bounce back that determines the outcome. I have bounced back and made additions to my program and will be posting my first loss of the New Year next month. I hope this motivates you to never quit. Whether you maintain or gain weight just pick yourself up and get going! It’s a new year a new YOU! 🙂

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Find out more about the Life Enhancement Program, Wellness Classes and TMC’s very own non-surgical individualized weight loss program New Me with TMC . Find out more about Mary Kmak’s journey to health here and don’t miss another of Mary’s installment’s on her journey to health or any of our health blog posts by signing up to receive posts via email.  

Want to get a sneak insight to a Nutritional or Fitness assessment or even win a Fitbit Charge HR wristband? Check out our New Year New You Giveaway. 

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How to stop diet saboteurs – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.

Hello Readers,

First of all I want to congratulate the ones who put losing weight as their New Year’s resolution. Together we will lose this weight the healthy way once and for all and start making new resolutions next year.

Today, I want to talk to about diet saboteurs. What is my definition of saboteur?  It is a person who destroys or damages something usually “deliberately” although sometimes they maybe oblivious to what they are doing.  I call them ‘food pushers’ or sometimes even ‘jealous people’!

Have you ever made healthy lifestyle changes and just when you really get going and start showing results the saboteurs appear?  They come in all shapes and are often even loved friends or family. Have you tried to avoid temptations only to hear one of these statements?

  1. Try it. A little won’t hurt you.
  2. “JUST” a little piece.
  3. This isn’t bad for you.
  4. You’re going to hurt my feelings if you don’t taste this.

I’ve heard them all and more.

How to beat diet saboteurs:

  1. Form your own support group.

    Surround yourself with family members and friends who want to help you, especially ones who are making similar healthy changes and are willing to work together toward your shared goals. You can also add your doctors, nurses, neighbors, coworkers and anyone who gives you encouragement and will help you and not discourage you.  Additionally, beyond the health benefits to yourself, a support group often prompts a sense of ‘can’t let them down’ that can be a positive push for some.

  2. Be clear with those near and dear about your goals

    If all of a sudden you stop taking the nightly glass of wine with dinner, or the biscotti during a morning coffee break, or change up your whole family’s diet overnight without explaining why you may well face resistance. They don’t know what is going on! Explain in terms of your health the choices you’re making and ask for their support. With changes that affect the whole family, make gradual changes.

  3. Be responsible for what you ingest – Just say ‘No, thank you.’

    It’s difficult, but you don’t need to offer an explanation, just offer a gracious ‘no, thank you’ and after a few times many saboteurs will STOP offering. Be strong, at the end of the day you are responsible for what you put in your mouth.

  4. Praise and delay

    Your aunt has made your favorite dish, a girlfriend surprises you with an amazing array of your favorite foods for a special occasion. Food is one way some people show love and it’s difficult to refuse when someone has put effort to make you happy. Simply saying, “Thank you, this looks amazing, I know how much effort you’ve put into this and I appreciate it.”  Then ask to take it home as you’re already full or leave it for later.

  5. Take the food and leave it, or throw it away!

    Recently, a friend shared that after having a plate of cookies foisted on her she crumbled them into the trash rather than gorge on them. She knew if she just placed them on top of the trash she might be tempted! She struggled with whether or not to save them for her children as the idea of wasting food seemed abhorrent, but recognized she would be tempted and they still weren’t good for her children either. Let go of the guilt! The diet saboteur had insisted on giving the plate of cookies, leaving them in the house as she left, despite knowing about the healthy choices my friend was making and being told “Thank you, I just can’t have these in the house.” In this case the diet saboteur may need to be actively avoided or addressed.

  6. Build new traditions

    If you have spent every Friday happy hour for the past four years eating potato skins loaded with cheese, butter and bacon and chased with multiple cocktails with your friends, sitting in a restaurant while they offer you ‘just one’ potato skin, or one cocktail is going to be tough, but you want to enjoy their friendship still. Perhaps come up with new non-food related activities to do – a hike, game of Ultimate Frisbee or invite them over to yours and share some healthy alternatives to those potato skins. Make it clear that your decision to change eating habits is not a criticism of them. Let them know that their support for your healthy lifestyle changes is important to you as is their friendship.

Losing weight is difficult readers, but stay on your journey and don’t be strayed away from it for no one or nothing! Keep going and avoid those who continue to sabotage you,  you will find better friends from your support group. Life is for being around the ones who will stand by you, support you and are happy with you. Not those who want you to fail and in the end you will show them; but, most importantly stand tall! I believe in you and you can add me to your support group!  🙂

Mary Kmak, Health Warrior

Six great tips for beating the diet saboteurs from Mary Kmak, Health Warrior. #NewYear #WeightLoss #diet Click To Tweet

Find out more about the Life Enhancement Program, Wellness Classes and TMC’s very own non-surgical individualized weight loss program New Me with TMC . Find out more about Mary Kmak’s journey to health here and don’t miss another of Mary’s installment’s on her journey to health or any of our health blog posts by signing up to receive posts via email.  

Want to get a sneak insight to a Nutritional or Fitness assessment or even win a Fitbit Charge HR wristband? Check out our New Year New You Giveaway. 

giveaway, tucson, new year, new you

New Year’s Resolutions – Mary’s Promise

Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.

Happy New Year readers.

Are you ready for a GREAT 2016?

Everyone knows that the #1 New Year’s resolution is losing weight, but how many years have you been saying this? Are you ready to make it happen?

How many of you have high blood pressure? How about high cholesterol? Is your A1C too high? Do your back and legs hurt when you walk or sit down from being overweight?

By losing over one hundred pounds I no longer have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My A1C is no longer in the pre-diabetic range. The changes in my health happened long before I reached 100 pounds though. I have lost weight the healthy way and I credit the Tucson Medical Center Wellness classes.

By enrolling in these TMC Wellness programs I learned about proper nutrition, beyond calories, fats, protein, portion control and how to address the challenges that stand in my way to health. The TMC Wellness specialists also taught me simple exercises that I have added to my journey. TMC is offering their Life Enhancement Program (LEP) starting January 22nd, and there is now a 12-week individual program, New Me with TMC, where the Registered Dietitians and Exercise Specialists at Tucson Medical Center craft a program that meets your individual needs.

Thank you to those who have followed my weight loss journey and return to health via Facebook and the TMC for Women blog posts so far. Whether you’ve been checking in to see if I will fulfill my PROMISE to my mother and reach goal weight, to find recipes, or because you’re looking for tips and ideas to kick start your own health journey, welcome back! This New Year I’m continuing my journey as a health warrior and I’d love for you to join me.

Make this year the year you turn your health around, I can do it, we all can do it. Make a promise to yourself become a health warrior.

My New Year’s resolution is to reach and maintain goal weight by adding new exercises to my journey and making time for my health journey, and then to start a maintenance program.

The reports from my recent doctor’s visits were great and I can continue my weight loss journey.

“You have escaped surgery once again!” the orthopedic surgeon exclaimed. My spine is stable and shows no signs of any side effects while my endurance continues to get better from my weight loss and exercises. I got the okay to add the stair stepper and treadmill to my exercise program.

My blood work continues to get better while my A1C and cholesterol are good. My blood pressure is normal and it’s ALL because of my weight loss and exercises. Thank you Mary Atkinson and Laurie Ledford for offering us such great wellness programs.

Are you ready to join me and sign up for these classes? I want to encourage all of you to post comments or questions to me this in 2016 I would love to hear from you!

In health,

Mary Kmak
Health Warrior

Find out more about the Life Enhancement Program, Wellness Classes and TMC’s very own non-surgical individualized weight loss program New Me with TMC . Find out more about Mary Kmak’s journey to health here and don’t miss another of Mary’s installment’s on her journey to health or any of our health blog posts by signing up to receive posts via email.  

Want to get a sneak insight to a Nutritional or Fitness assessment or even win a Fitbit Charge HR wristband? Check out our New Year New You Giveaway. giveaway, tucson, new year, new you

 

Here’s to a happy healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving and the holidays are upon us. As we give thanks for the bounty that surrounds us it’s easy to get lost in the mountains of scrumptious comfort food and lose sight of one of the greatest wealth we have, our health. Mary Kmak, our health warrior, shares her thoughts on a healthy Thanksgiving

healthy thanksgivingHi readers,
I used to eat whatever I wanted for Thanksgiving dinner without giving it any thought. Afterall, it was Thanksgiving and a time to eat extra food and desserts and then lay down and watch the football games with my brothers and friends and let the pounds continue to add up on my already unhealthy weight total. I think when I ride my exercycle how many calories I burn off so why waste that on one piece of pie? I have more weight to lose and I worked so hard getting my A1C, blood pressure & cholesterol down to normal. It just isn’t worth it to me.  NOT anymore! Those days are gone forever.

My cravings are now for better health - Mary Kmak, Live Well participant Click To TweetMy cravings now are for better health. Here’s something to think about before you eat any extras. These are approximate calorie counts and the amount of exercise it would take to burn up those additional calories. Something to think about before you go for seconds, etc.

1) 1/2 cup mashed potatoes and gravy is approximately 165 calories and would take 30 minutes on exercycle to burn off.
2) 1/2 cup stuffing is approximately 180 cal and would take 20 minutes of running upstairs to burn off.
3) 1/2 cup cranberry sauce is approximately 200 calories and would take 30 consistent pushups to burn off.
4) 1/2 cup Sweet potato casserole is approximately 200 cal and would take 20 minutes performing jumping jacks to burn off.
5) a slice of pumpkin pie is approximately 300 calories and takes about 30 minutes on stairstepper to burn a similar number of calories.
6) a slice of pecan pie is approximately 450 calories and would take 1 hour on the treadmill.

Lifestyle changes don’t mean giving ALL your favorite food up; it simply means being awareAgain this is approximate, but you see my point! Be careful with portion-sizes and desserts because it adds up. Lifestyle changes don’t mean giving your favorite foods up; it simply means being aware of portion control, making better choices, and adding exercises as simple as walking.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and keep this in mind for tomorrow.  I certainly do!

Mary Kmak

Read more about Mary’s amazing story and the Live Well programs.

Baked Apples and Pears – A sweet healthy treat inspired by Mary Kmak

Baked Apple and PearsFor many of us, our sweet tooth is our downfall when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Who better to turn to for advice on beating the sugar cravings than Mary Kmak (Mary recently achieved a 100 pound weight loss goal, and has lowered her blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol in the process with our Live Well programs) and our very own TMC Nutritionista, Laurie Ledford RD?

Mary tells us that one of her favorite go-to desserts at this time of year is baked apples and pears. Baked apples and pears include a whole lot of natural sweetness without much, if any, added sugar. Combine that with some chopped raw nuts (make sure the nuts you use aren’t roasted or salted) and you have a sweet treat with a protein and fiber punch (make sure to eat the skin of the fruit too!)  While Mary adds a little brown sugar still, with the raisins and cinnamon added it really isn’t necessary.

Added bonus: If you live in Southern Arizona you have easy access to fresh local apples right now from Willcox. Yummy, local, cheap, fresh AND tasty!

Mary and Laurie’s Baked Apples and Pears

Serves four
Ingredients

2 Apples (Granny Smith or Fuji work well)
2 Pears
Chopped walnuts or almonds or pecans
Ground cinnamon
Optional: 1 tablespoon quick oats, raisins, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Preparation Time

8 minutes

Preparation

Core the apples and pears.
Place on a microwave-safe plate or dish in shallow water.
Combine one to two tablespoons brown sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or almonds or pecans in a small bowl. When dry ingredients mixed, spoon into cored apples and pears.
Cover filled apples and pears with cling film.
Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes or until fruit is tender.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note:  This recipe can be just as yummy without the brown sugar. We also like to add raisins and quick oats too. Try it!

BakedApple

An update from Mary Kmak as she approaches 100 pound weight loss!

ImaynotbethereyetHappy October readers!

First, I would like to mention October is Breast Cancer Awareness month & anyone battling breast cancer or any family members my thoughts & prayers are with ALL of you.

Keep positive and FIGHT! NEVER GIVE UP! My Mom had breast cancer & had a radical mastectomy, 2 recurrences with one spreading to her ribs & she beat it with her Faith, determination, current treatments & excellent doctors. KEEP going, BEST of luck & good wishes.

September went well with a five pound weight loss despite having bronchitis for the past 10 days. Life gives us these bumps in the road, but with patience & time we overcome them. This makes my total loss 93 pounds and I WILL hit my 100# loss this month and YOU my loyal readers will be the FIRST to know!

Other than a little lingering cough I’m back on the mends & will resume my exercises this weekend. My physical went well & my A1C (The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes.) continues to come down and I’m in the 5 percent range compared to 6.4 when I started the first wellness class with TMC. These next three months I will be posting more alternatives, NEW Fall/Winter recipes I will be trying & “healthy snack fill ups” rather than the unhealthy sugary ones! For those of you following my story won’t you join me this season and lose weight rather than fall into the statistics of gaining five plus pounds during the holiday season?

Let’s do this together get healthier and LIVE WELL! I will also post my current picture on TMC for Women’s facebook when I hit my 100pound weight loss this month. You will see my face NOW that’s behind the shadow of my PROMISE picture!

Sincerely,

Mary

To find out more about the programs offered by Tucson Medical Center that have helped Mary please check out the Live Well program.

To read more of Mary’s story check out Mary’s Promise.

Mary’s Promise – Chicken Salad Wrap with a Nutritional Punch

ChickenSaladWrapMary Kmak is edging towards 100 pounds lost – No small feat!

At the beginning of Mary’s journey she was pre-diabetic, preparing for back surgery and could not walk to help with mass at her church. She is the first to tell you that her newfound health is in huge part thanks to the support of the Live Well program, and her guides Mary Atkinson and Nutritionista – Laurie Ledford.

But just what do the lessons Mary learned in the Live Well program look like in day-to-day life? We asked Mary to share some of her tips. Today, one of her go-to bag lunches

Mary tells us that prior to Live Well she used to just grab a quick something at a local restaurant. Now she plans her lunches at the beginning of the week, prepping lunches and planning evening meals so that she will bring leftovers for lunch.

Mary’s Tip

Mary emphasizes keeping it easy and simple. Don’t get deterred by lots of prep!

Chicken Salad Wrap – 2 servings

Filling

4oz chicken breast (we used chicken substitute) chopped into cubes
3 celery stalks washed and chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Black pepper
1 tablespoon of light olive oil mayo

1 cup Arugula

Wrap

2 Whole-wheat tortillas

Chop chicken breast, into ½ inch cubes and place in bowl. Add chopped celery to bowl and chopped cilantro. Add measure of light olive oil mayo and stir to cover. Add black pepper to taste. This will create two portions.

At lunchtime place ½ cup of arugula on tortilla, add filling and wrap in tortilla!

The nutritional low down on this sack lunch from Nutritionista Laurie Ledford

Registered Dietitian by day

The Nutrionista!

There are several reasons this is a great bag lunch. Take your pick:

  1. You’ve made it yourself, so you know exactly what’s going into it. (Not true with prepared foods.)
  2. The celery, arugula and whole wheat tortillas make it high in fiber.
  3. It gives you one serving of vegetables and two servings of whole grains, both of which are things most Americans do not get enough of.

Here are a couple of suggestions for variations and for keeping it healthy.

  1. Read the ingredients on your tortillas! If you see “hydrogenated” oil in there, do not buy it. That stuff is very bad for your heart. Lard and palm oil (both sources of saturated fat) are not good for your heart either, so avoid them if possible.
  2. If you would like to make it a little more colorful and sneak in more vegetables, consider adding chopped bell peppers, shredded carrot or chopped onion.

What is Live Well Tucson?

Live Well Comm Logo OrgBluLive Well is a wellness program that meets once a week for 2 hours. During the 2-hour sessions participants hear from an expert the topic of the week (exercise physiologist, dietitian, physician, etc.) The topics covered are preventative care, nutrition, exercise, stress management, happiness, social networks, and sleep. Participants work with experts to set goals, and how to maintain change. In addition to the lectures, participants also have the opportunity to participate in a weekly exercise class. Email Wellness@tmcaz.com for more information about Live Well.

Live Well – Let us help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions

Live Well Comm Logo OrgBluDid you make a resolution to get healthy this year? To lose weight? Hike that mountain? Go for a plant-based diet? Or lower your cholesterol? If you’re anything like most people your resolution to stick to those goals may be waning a little or even vanished completely. Sounds like it’s time for a little inspiration.

We met Mary just seven months ago, when she shared her story so far participating in the TMC Live Well Tucson community wellness programs. After ten years of looking after her ailing mom, Mary Kmak’s own health had slid. Pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, spinal issues, and significant weight gain as a result of extended steroid treatments, Mary, a devout catholic, was unable even to help at mass anymore.

January, 2014 Mary signed up for the TMC Community wellness program and had remarkable success. Check out her story and her tips for success here.

We just got an update from Mary, timely because it’s just a few weeks until the start of the next Live Well series. Just in time for you to be inspired and join the Live Well program. Take Mary’s lead, make a promise to yourself for a healthier you and realize your dream.

MarysPromiseHappy Healthy New Year!
I hope you’re staying healthy and 2015 will be a great one for you, yours & me. I not only maintained my 62 pound loss, but also lost an additional three pounds this month!

I’ve lost 65 pounds from one year ago all a result of the fabulous learning from the TMC community wellness programs! I’m looking forward to the New Year & more weight off  and I’m ready to go full force with the only way I was taught, the HEALTHY WAY!

Other than some aches & pains from the weather I feel great. I did fit into those jeans my beloved Mom bought me years ago when at that time those jeans wouldn’t even go above my hips! I am getting closer to my promise and feel sure NEXT year at this time I will fulfill it! Each morning I wake up and know my Mom is smiling when she sees my results and continuous motivation to get to my goal! Thank you Mary & Laurie for your help. You two are the best nutritionists in the world!

Mary

Join Live Well Tucson at TMC and learn how to make lifelong changes that will improve your health and your life, just like Mary has done.

Our program combines 10 weekly informational sessions with optional weekly physical activities. Our team of professionals will help you develop strategies for living a healthful life, and setting realistic and sustainable goals. This program will allow you to connect with others in your community who, like yourself, want to be healthy and “live well.” Email us at wellness@tmcaz.com for more information and to sign up.

 Mary’s Promise – Live Well Tucson

MarysPromise‘Make a promise to me. Put yourself first for once…Lose the weight.’

After ten years of looking after her ailing mom, Mary Kmak’s own health had slid. Pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, spinal issues, and significant weight gain as a result of extended steroid treatments, Mary, a devout catholic, was unable even to help at mass anymore.

“I took care of my dying Mom, and those last years were devastating watching her suffer…I put her before my health, which I would still do over and over again if I could. It was my honor and pleasure, but in her final days she asked if I would promise her one thing, to lose the weight. Of course, I said yes. ”

After her mom passed away, Mary knew she needed support to keep her promise and so she reached out. A chance viewing of Rachel Tineo’s story on television inspired Mary to ask her physician whether the program Rachel had participated in was available to the public. Her physician put her in contact with a TMC Dietitian.

“I talked to one of the TMC Dietitians. At the time the program wasn’t available to the community, it was only available to TMC employees.” But within weeks of asking, Mary received a phone call from Laurie Ledford RD (aka the Nutritionista) inviting her to take part in a new program called Live Well Tucson for the community.

What is Live Well Tucson?

Live Well is a 10-week program that meets once a week for 2 hours.  During the 2-hour sessions participants hear from an expert the topic of the week (exercise physiologist, dietitian, physician, etc).  The topics covered are preventative care, nutrition, exercise, stress management, happiness, social networks, and sleep.  Participants work with experts to set goals, and how to maintain change.  In addition to the lectures, participants also have the opportunity to participate in a weekly exercise class.

The Lessons Mary took from Live Well Tucson

1. It’s not enough to hear the advice you have to take the advice

Mary took the lectures to heart, “I followed every single tip that Laurie gave, every single tip that Mary gave and every single tip Maria Luisa gave. For example, Mary Atkinson said ‘Get out and take a walk every day. 5 minutes is a great start.’ I started walk the parking lot. It started as just 5 minutes. Today, I walk 45 minutes every day. “

2. Make realistic, achievable goals

Live Well Tucson Intern Maria Luisa suggested making a smart goal. Mary’s response “I have an Exercycle. My smart goal started out as biking 12 minutes 4 times a week on my Exercycle. Now it’s 45 minutes six times a week along with the walking.”

3. Remind yourself daily what your motivation is.

Write what your motivation is on a 3 by 5 card and posting it somewhere you will see every day. Initially, Mary thought, ‘That’s not going to make a difference’ but she did it anyway. Her motivation? A single word – Promise.

“I’ve had set backs. I feel better when I exercise. I push myself. I see my promise card everyday and that pushes me.

4. Be conscious in what you eat, plan & track

“I track what I eat, I itemize my carbs, my calories, my fats. I used to eat out every day. I might get something thinking it was healthy, not counting the carbs or calories. Now, I make everything a head of time. I do all my shopping on the weekend and get everything prepared. I take breakfast and lunch to work. … It’s a big lifestyle change.”

5. Slow and Steady wins the Race

It took time to put it on, it’ll take time to take it off.

Mary’s Results:

Since January Mary has lost 44 lbs, but the success isn’t just measured by weight loss as Mary explains, “My blood pressure has dropped and I’ve been able to cut my blood pressure medication. Within 3 months my sugar level dropped…I appreciate food more. Instead of grabbing a candy bar I get a piece of fruit. I love frozen fruit.”

Mary’s enthusiasm for the program and life is infectious. Her friends and family have noticed an attitude change and greater energy. “She’s more bubbly. She’s coming out of her cocoon.” friend Mary L. shares.

Mary’s sister, Imelda says that Mary is much happier, that the pain Mary was in led her to be cranky on occasion.  Imelda has also been in the program and has lost 12 pounds, reduced her blood pressure, and her blood sugar has declined enough that she no longer needs insulin.

The next phase of the program starts August 22nd and Mary is raring to go, “The continued support from TMC has been helpful. I want to lose another 20 pounds before Phase 2 starts.”

Mary’s advice to other women:

“Put yourself first for one time and don’t quit. I had every reason to quit. I had no coordination, no strength, no endurance. Now, I walk that straight line. As a devout catholic, I attend mass. For years I couldn’t help, I was afraid I would drop the wafer and wine during communion. The church aisle is now my red carpet. I have the energy of a 34 year old. “

Update – May 5th, 2015

Mary has now lost a grand total of seventy pounds and it is not only reflected in the clothes she wears and her energy level, but also at the doctors office. She’ll be sharing her journey and experience on the Live Well program June 2nd at The Core at La Encantada.