As a healthcare provider I encounter multiple patients each and every day who have developed significant health issues related to their obesity. This includes hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many joint related problems. Often times these health issues go undiagnosed until a significant complication has developed. Unfortunately, by the time of diagnosis, the obesity related diseases have wreaked havoc on the entire body resulting in significant systemic issues that can last a life-time.
Knowing this information I began to really examine my own health! I recognized my body mass index was not within a normal range and my overall lifestyle had become sedentary outside of work. I was struggling daily with back and joint pain and had noticed a steady rise in my total cholesterol level. It was clearly evident that I was heading in the same direction as many of my patients and if I did not make some serious changes I might not be able to enjoy a long and healthy life with my children and family.
I tried several dietary plans, but none of them seemed to work. Just like my patients, I would lose a few pounds and quickly gain it all back. The outcome would leave me more frustrated and discouraged with each attempt. It had become clearly evident that simply changing my dietary plan without really addressing the core issues of my poor lifestyle would result in this continued roller coaster effect.
I shared my frustrations and concerns with a dear friend who quickly told me of her success story with the Grace and Strength (GNS) Lifestyle. I looked into the program online and immediately realized that it was more than just a weight-loss program, but that it was a faith-based health plan that would encourage and support me to develop a healthy way of living that could last a life-time. Knowing that this was what I needed, I immediately signed up.
Within a few short months I reached my goal weight, but more importantly during that time, through prayer and bible study, I recognized some real issues that were contributing to my weight gain and unsuccessful weight loss. One problem was failure to simply prepare a healthy lunch or snack that could be eaten while away from home. I had developed a lifestyle of eating “on the go” that often resulted in consumption of fast-foods or high calorie snacks. That problem was amplified when I was stressed or running out of time. I would simply eat whatever was available not considering the nutritional value of the food or the overall long-term effect it would have on my health. The GNS lifestyle has encouraged me to plan my meals ahead of time and to always leave the house prepared! The temptation to eat unhealthy foods is much stronger when we don’t have a “go to option” or when we are hungry. So now, when walking out the door in the morning, I always have a healthy snack in hand, even if I am just running an errand.
Another problem that was contributing to my weight gain was the consumption of foods high in carbohydrates. As a healthcare provider I understand that carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen. If there is an excessive amount of glycogen because of high carbohydrate intake it is converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. Until GNS I had not really considered the amount or type of carbohydrates I consumed in a day. I simply looked at the total calories and would sometimes consider the amount of sugar in a product. I recognize that carbohydrates are foundational to a healthy diet as they contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, I have realized through the GNS lifestyle that to avoid recurrent weight gain and unwanted storage of fat, it is very important to choose wisely the type of carbohydrates that I eat while also limiting my daily consumption.
I am very pleased with the healthy weight I have once again attained through living out the GNS lifestyle. However, more importantly, I am so thankful the Lord helped me to recognize my areas of struggle and develop several very practical ways to maintain this new way of living. I am also very thankful to have walked this road so that I will be better prepared to help my patients combat the disease of obesity and live long and healthy lives while enjoying time with their family.
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