My story: Walking away the pounds

Jeff is now an avid walker and is on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

Jeff didn’t feel good. He was tired. He had aches and pains that were worrisome and vague. His breathing was labored and wheezy, and he had painful heartburn. Tired of feeling just plain crummy, he called GRHS and scheduled an appointment with his primary care physician, Dr. Bryan Petersen. Jeff was hauling 321 pounds on his 5’8” frame. At only 43, his symptoms were alarming, indeed.

Dr. Petersen had previously diagnosed Jeff with unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and acid reflux. But during this visit, he focused on his patient’s description of the nagging symptoms that were making life unbearable. Dr. Petersen acknowledged Jeff’s very real discomfort, but then leveled with his patient: There was no easy out, no convenient relief for what ailed him. It was time for Jeff to get moving – to lose the weight that was dragging him down.

The message clearly hit home. Within three months, Jeff weighed in at 271 pounds, an amazing, hard-earned 50-pound weight loss. “I just walked and walked,” Jeff explains. He lengthened the walking sessions gradually, starting with just 10-minute strolls and working up to ten laps around the track at the Panther Field House in Glencoe. He proudly shows his daily step count and miles walked on his pedometer.

Jeff also began paying much closer attention to what he eats, since high-sodium and high-fat foods wreak havoc on his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A prescription medication helps him control his acid reflux disease, and he hopes the unpleasant condition will go away completely with better diet and a healthier lifestyle.

Is it all working? By his next checkup, not only had Jeff’s weight dropped dramatically, but his cholesterol levels were also much improved. Dr. Petersen, happy with Jeff’s progress, says, “Jeff took my advice to heart. Not everybody does that, but he’s determined, and his early success has kept him going. I’m glad he could hear the warning.”

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