Some people use the New Year as an opportunity to look into the mirror and then decide they want to live a healthier life, lose weight and get in shape.
However, for Audra Gross of Adel, that moment came this summer. She hopes by the time mid-January rolls around, she will have lost 40 pounds in time for her cruise.
“I’m getting there,” says Gross, who as of mid-December had lost 28 pounds since she began working out and eating healthier in August. “I’m hopeful to meet that goal in January and then lose another 35 pounds by the beginning of June.”
Gross has been working with Darci Hoffman who operates Garnett Fitness in Adel. She says she had worked out throughout the years but fell off the bandwagon. Also, with two children, she tends to put herself on the back burner and focus on her kids and their activities.
“I’ve gone through several periods of time over the years where I’ve lost a bunch of weight and then I put it back on,” she says.
Since August Gross has attended boot camp class with Hoffman three times a week and utilizes her personal training expertise. She also walks for additional exercise.
“It’s just a slow process,” she says. “You have to be dedicated to yourself and find the time to make it and realize it’s not just something that I’m going to do for this amount of time to get the weight off and then go back to how I was; it’s a lifestyle change.”
That’s what all of the trainers and health experts interviewed for this article said. To lose weight and stay in shape, it requires a lifestyle change, not just a diet.
Gross used to be an emotional eater. She says she’s turned to journal writing to express her feelings.
“That has helped,” she says. “I find when I don’t do it, then sometimes I have some of those triggers that I then find myself eating, and I’m not even sure why,” she says.
Gross also uses MyFitnessPal.com to track the foods she eats and record her exercise. It’s a free online calorie calculating program that Hoffman says she recommends to all of her clients. Gross also eats more fruits and vegetables and has tried to cut back on junk food, chips and other unhealthy foods.
Hoffman, who has a degree in exercise science and sports medicine, says she works with people such as Gross to find the program that works best for them. She provides circuit training, and boot camp and Zumba dance classes. She’ll soon begin offering yoga. She also provides nutrition advice, though she’s not a certified nutritionist.
“They need to find a program that works for them that’s fun for them,” Hoffman says. “If it’s not fun for them, they’re not going to want to work out. They need to find something they’re comfortable with, and then they’ll come back.”
Hoffman says beginners to exercise or those who are trying to get back into it don’t need to immediately hit the gym six days a week. She recommends walking or a light workout on the treadmill a couple of times a week to avoid injury and get into an exercise groove.
But most importantly, Hoffman says people who want to lose weight and get in shape shouldn’t feel embarrassed. She and others are there to help them.
“It’s difficult for some people to come in,” she says. “I’ve had some people say ‘I’ve been wanting to work out with you, but I’m so embarrassed’ or ‘I’m so out of shape.’ I don’t want people to feel that way.”
In order to be successful at losing weight or maintaining a weight loss, Hoffman recommends clients see her two or three times a week and then work out an additional two or three times a week on their own, whether it is just walking for 10 to 15 minutes.
“Keep moving,” she says. “Just always move, which is hard to do if you have a job where you sit down, but some people I tell them on their breaks just to get up and move around. If it’s cold, just walk around your office. Get away from your computer and regroup.”
Inch by inch
Mary Lea Holcomb started yoga four years ago.
She had turned 61. She participated in numerous other physical activities such as walking, biking and kayaking but found she needed something else.
“I knew I was getting less flexible and losing some strength, and I wanted to get that back,” Holcomb says.
In addition, she had shrunk in height by two inches during the course of several years. She found teacher Stephanie Clemens. Since then, she’s been attending a weekly yoga class in Adel.
With the help of it, she has been able to gain back an inch in height.
“That was a little distressing to be shrinking that much,” Holcomb says. “It’s very good to have gained that back. It’s a matter of just allowing my body to be more flexible and allowing some stretching in my spine.”
She says yoga is relaxing and noncompetitive.
“You’re working within your own self to do what you can without pain,” she says. “Always it’s to go into a position without pain, unlike some other activities.”
Those interested in the class can call Holcomb at 993-4691.
Dawn Hinton had always tried to live a healthy lifestyle.
In her 20s, she was naturally thin and pretty much ate what she wanted. But then, as she got older, she discovered it was more difficult to keep weight off. She had two children a year apart and found she had about 35 to 40 pounds to lose when she accounted for her pregnancy weight.
“I would say on the diet side of things, I wasn’t really eating the right things, but what it comes down to post-children, 85 percent of it is diet with the waistline,” Hinton of Adel says. “You can work out until you are blue in the face, but if you’re not combining it with the right foods, you won’t lose weight.”
Hinton was slightly depressed in the three years before she conceived her first child, which led her to gain about 20 pounds. Two babies later, she was able to lose her pregnancy weight but still carried the extra 20 pounds.
She turned to a clean eating diet in which she eliminated fast food and processed foods. She ate lean proteins and healthy carbohydrates to give her energy. She also no longer drank soft drinks and tried to consume at least half her weight in ounces of water each day. She lost the 20 pounds in three months.
Her friends wanted to know what she had done. They started to work out with Hinton in her garage and follow her clean-eating recommendations. Then they all began to lose weight.
Because of the success, Hinton decided to launch her own business in 2012 called Active Girl Fitness. Through it she teaches a boot camp class two mornings a week in Adel and offers virtual plans and support for clients. She says her first pilot client lived in Minnesota and was able to lose more than 65 pounds in 2012 from following Hinton’s program.
Hinton admits her program isn’t for everyone because it requires accountability on the part of the client, especially because her program is run online.
“I work with specific people who have specific goals and want to do the work,” she says. “If someone isn’t motivated or can’t work virtually, I’m not the trainer for them.”
Another option for people is to meet with a dietician, nutritionist or a health coach.
Shannon Benson, is a registered nurse who works as a health coach for Mercy Adel Medical Clinic. She provides health advice to variety of patients from diabetics to heart patients to those who are overweight and those who want to quit smoking. Her patients include both those who are referred by her doctor, as well as those who contact her on their own.
Benson says getting more healthy means different things to different people. She first meets with patients to discuss their health and their goals. If it’s a weight loss patient, they discuss how successful the person has been in losing weight in the past and how if they lost weight, what they think their life would be like in six months. It’s called “motivational interviewing.”
For other patients with health conditions such as diabetes, Benson talks to them about what an attainable goal might be for checking their blood sugars.
Benson says part of what she does is help people decide whether they’re ready to change their lifestyle to lose weight. She helps create diet and exercise plans for those who are ready. Sometimes it means baby steps for those who have health issues or have been absent from exercising for a long period.
“I tell people a lot, people who have done no exercise, do you watch TV in the evenings? Every commercial get up and walk and do two laps around the house or go up and down the stairs. … Simple things like that for people who have not done any activity,” Benson says.
Overall, she says exercise is the key to losing weight. Her suggestion is 30 minutes a day, but says it can be done to accommodate the person, whether it’s 30 minutes all at once or three 10-minute intervals. She also says diet is key, which means adding fruit and vegetables and finding the right number of calories for the individual.
Part of changing one’s diet is about educating them, she says. Benson shows her patients a sheet that has a glass of milk, a piece of fruit and three candy kisses on it. She tells them all have the same number of calories and they get to choose which one they consume, but the downfall will be that the candy won’t be as filling as the fruit.
“We work with any patient who has goals about improving their health and improving their lifestyle,” she says.