One Man's Health Success Story
September 29, 2009
"I am so pleased with the availability of the SAC for the Montevallo community. It has meant a lot in my life – especially over the last year. "
- Sam Scoma
I started a regular exercise program in October, 2008 and accepted the “150 Mile Challenge” at the SAC in January, 2009. I have continued tracking my miles past the spring semester and I am currently at 1,450 miles – I kind of got “carried away!” Primarily I do cardio (elliptical, bike, rowing, and treadmill) 5 days per week, weights (upper and lower body) 3-4 times per week, abdominals 5 days per week, and play/practice racquetball 2-3 times per week. Some days I do multiple workouts (due to limited time) and average 7-9 workouts per week for about 10 hours/week. This semester I have also started participation in a yoga class 2 times per week. My goal is to maintain a well rounded program that offers variety to avoid becoming bored with the exercise “routine.”
In October of 2008 I joined Weight Watchers and have participated in the program on a regular basis by attending weekly meetings. The WW program is a practical program (not a diet) where you eat regular food and monitor (track) the “points” you consume daily/weekly. The program stresses portion control, food volume monitoring, and selection (eating the right foods and limiting others). On this program you can basically eat anything you want if you plan for it and adjust your “points” allocation for the day. It accommodates eating out at restaurants as well. Overall, the consumption of fats, sugars, and carbs are limited and emphasis is placed on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. The program also stresses the value of regular exercise in conjunction with the dietary program which I believe is the most effective process and maintains a healthy balance.
When I started the WW program I weighed in at 250.6 lbs in October 2008. I have lost 70 lbs. over the past year and have maintained that level for several months. I would like to lose another 5 lbs. and maintain that level. Achieving this goal would also mean that I reduced my starting body weight by 30%. Other reductions related to the lifestyle change that are not reflected on the scale are: an 8 inch loss in my waist size, a 9 inch loss in my mid-section, and a 3 inch loss in my neck size.
In addition to significant weight loss other health benefits have been realized. In December 2003 I had heart health issues requiring two stents. My cholesterol has always tended to be elevated due to family history. In October 2007 my total cholesterol was 201mg – it is now 137mg (acceptable range is 125-200mg). My triglyceride level was 88mg – it is now 55mg (acceptable range is < 150mg). My good cholesterol (HDL) was 52mg – it is now 64mg (desired range is > 40mg). My blood pressure improved to the point that my doctor took me off medication to manage BP. My body fat percentage is at 10.5% (the ideal range for my age is 13-15%). Overall, my doctors have been very pleased with my health improvement and have told me to “keep doing whatever I am doing.”
Regular exercise coupled with a reasonable dietary program has paid great dividends for me. My accelerated weight loss has been enhanced by a greater emphasis on exercise, but a nominal exercise program could achieve similar results over time when coupled with a dietary management plan such as Weight Watchers. The greatest reward is feeling so much better and having the capacity to deal with high levels of stress in my job. The greatest drawback is having to buy a new wardrobe! ~Sam Scoma