Fitzgerald Fitzpants!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jim Fitzgerald has amazed himself. October 2005, he decided it was time to get serious and lose some weight. Both his wife and doctor had been urging him to shed some pounds. "Initially, I just wanted to get my wife off my back!" he jokes. The appeal of stopping his blood pressure medication was another deciding factor. "My doctor thought that if I just lost some weight, I would no longer need the meds," he explains. Not only did Jim successfully drop 30 pounds in 3 months with the help of the counseling team at Lite For Life of Palo Alto, now, over a year later, he has dropped another 5 pounds, is off blood pressure medication, and is dedicating his efforts to staying slim for life. And he is still can't believe how easy it all was! The secrets to Jim's success have been a positive attitude, surrender to the requirements of the program and consistent follow through with Maintenance. Jim initially came to Lite for Life through a friend of his wife's. Her friend's husband had been followed the program, lost weight, and loved it. "I thought if he could do it, so could I," Jim says. After the first consultation though, he remembers thinking it would be really hard. "I wasn't sure if I could do it!" he laughs. "No alcohol, no sugar! It seemed strict." But Jim decided to take a "just do it" approach to the program. "I just sucked it up and told myself I would follow everything to the letter." "Jim did a great job," says Jeanine Davenport, one of Jim's counselors. "He came in three times a week. His wife cooks for the family, and he didn't want to change what everyone else ate, but he did a good job controlling what he could control—breakfast, lunch, snacks—and at watching his portions in situations he couldn't control." To his surprise, it was a lot easier than he thought. He found that the foods in the grocery store helped a lot, and that there were plenty of things to satisfy his sweet tooth. "The frozen cheesecakes really helped when I wanted something sweet," he says. Jim also invented a few treats of his own. One of his favorite breakfasts is fat free plain yogurt with a scoop of Jay Robb Vanilla protein powder mixed into it, which he eats with a piece of fruit for a well rounded breakfast. "The protein powder adds the sweetness and the vanilla flavor I love in yogurt," he says. "Jim told me the other day," says counselor Davenport, "that basically what he's done is stopped eating like a teenager—pizza, pasta, cookies--whatever his kids were eating. He told me ‘Now I'm eating like an adult.'" After his weight loss success, Jim knew it was really important to follow through with Maintenance. "It seemed like it could be easy to gain the weight back and after all of that hard work, I didn't want to risk it," he says. The continued structure and accountability provided by the Maintenance Program have been crucial to helping Jim keep the weight off.

Despite being a busy executive, he has been faithful with his weekly Maintenance visits to Lite for Life. When he gets really busy, he may skip a week, but then he gets right back on track. "The most important thing is having someone to answer to," he says. "Going in for weigh-ins always makes me a little bit nervous, like I'm taking a test or something," he laughs. "But that's a good thing. I need that structure!" Feeling healthy and energetic helps keeps Jim feeling motivated and focused on doing the exercise needed to help maintain his weight loss. "It's so much easier for me to exercise now that I'm lighter," he says. These days he gets up earlier to work out harder, and actually enjoys it! Perhaps most importantly, Jim is constantly monitoring his weight. "Step on the scale every day," he says. "That's my advice to anyone wanting to lose or maintain weight loss." (This advice is echoed by the National Weight Control Registry, a group that studies people who have successfully maintained their weight loss.) "Whatever you do," he continues, "don't avoid the scale because you weren't eating right. You need to monitor yourself and make the adjustments necessary. Do it now, not later!" But just do it!

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