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Published on January 12, 2018

white scale on a wood floor

Losing Weight – “You Have To Do It For Yourself”

Joy Gortmaker made the decision to get on a better trail toward health in August. In just four months, she’s nearly reached her goal and has learned a lot.

Using the Avera Ideal Living Program for Weight Management, getting good advice from her health coach, Becky Hanzen, and developing a slew of better habits, Gortmaker reflects on the fact she had to put the focus on her own health. The supports and tools help, sure, but down deep, it’s about diligence.

“Becky’s not going to be with me every day – I am though,” said the 50-year-old records analyst with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. “She keeps me on track and gives me good ideas, and I know she wants me to succeed. But you can only lose your own weight. You have to do it for yourself.”

She’s lost more than 40 pounds and more than 36 inches in the initial four months, and she knows she’s not done. The changes in her lifestyle were things she could plan, but they came with some good residuals, too.

“Becky’s been a great help, as she’s very professional but also quite personable, and she’s helped me develop plans such as eating a breakfast and having a better lunch,” she said. “One change I noticed within the first day or two was when I woke up. I used to always have an upset stomach when I awoke. That has gone away.”

Gortmaker said she attributes that change to cutting sugar from her diet. She’s cut out the fast-food lunches in her car and eliminated what she calls “garbage” foods as well. She tracks carbs on a smart-phone app, and the weekly meetings with Hanzen keep her on a schedule as well.

“Every day I have a big bowl of lettuce, and I like lettuce, so that’s something I look forward to. I also enjoy the Never Any! (a Kirkwood brand of) lunch meats, which have no nitrites or nitrates, and a variety of vegetables,” she said. “I also have an Ideal Protein packet or snack, and I keep my carb load below 45 grams a day, using the app on my phone.”

Experiences with family help her focus, too. Her family has a history of diabetes, and she faced gestational diabetes complications when her son was born 22 years ago. She’s also got a family connection tied to her initial goal of losing 50 pounds.

“My granddaughter’s first birthday is coming up in January, and that’s my goal – to lose that weight before she turns 1,” Gortmaker said. “I’m close to that goal. The biggest thing is you have to stop and think before you eat – you have the final decision about what goes into your body.

I want to be around for a long time with my granddaughter and have lots of fun with her – so I’m going to keep being accountable for me.”

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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