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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS Crucial Conversations: I Took My Life Back (Part I)

Katie_Before_2.jpgThere comes a time when a story of struggle, strife, and success must be shared to remind others that you are never alone in your battle, and that achievement and happiness are closer than you may think. Katie Feltman has such a story.

I have had the privilege to work with Katie for many years now, and I can remember the first conversation we had out in the fitness center about where she was at the time, where she wanted to go, and how we could work together to get there. I felt her struggle instantly, but I also felt a great deal of determination, evident from the progress she had made before coming to see me. She wasn’t going to take this battle lying down anymore!

I asked Katie to talk about her journey with me so that I could share it with those who may be looking for that spark, that notion that nothing is impossible, but I’Mpossible! Join me in walking in Katie’s shoes as she shares some of her journey with us.

Conversation with Katie, Part I:

Tony: So, take me back about four years and tell me what was going on with you at that time.

Katie: I was living a very different life. A recent doctor’s visit had revealed I weighed 286 pounds, I was pre-diabetic, I had high blood pressure, my LDL cholesterol was high, and I had just found out I had to wear a Holter monitor to diagnose heart arrhythmias I was having. I had lower back pain from herniated discs that required an unhealthy amount of daily Advil to keep at bay (and along with my poor eating habits had created a wicked case of acid reflux that ultimately became an ulcer) and I slept poorly. For 37 years of age, I wasn’t doing okay. I was unhappy.

Tony: What were some of the major struggles you were dealing with?

Katie: Like most people, I had my share of stress sources; nothing extreme or unusual, but I had an ill mother, and a job that looking back now I realized had reached a point that made me miserable. But generally I had nothing going on outside of me that should have triggered the kind of profound lack of self-care I was engaging in on a regular basis.

“I coped with my stress by pushing my feelings inward and washing it all down with sugary processed foods and wine. I made no time to take care of myself.”

Katie_Before_4.jpgYou’d think with the scary words the doctor was saying I would have walked out of there that day and taken charge of things right then. But change isn’t like that—not for me, at least. I was frustrated with how I felt, and I know this will sound superficial but it is true: I hated how I looked, which I didn’t realize then but now know was key to my struggle. Self-hate = no self care, and that was how I was living my life. I was living life in a muted capacity, and I lacked the motivation to do something about it—any of it.

Tony: Can you describe some of what you were feeling at that time?

Katie: I was demoralized and frustrated at what seemed like an impossible and insurmountable task—it was so daunting. Getting healthy, changing how I lived, and peeling pounds off. I wanted instant results from modest change. I’m an extrovert, and my social life at the time revolved heavily around eating out, going to bars, and generally going places where food and booze were the main reasons for being there multiple times per week. But there was a nagging voice in there that knew there was more out there for me—I just wanted to feel better, feel happy most of the time, cope better with the smaller, mundane stresses as well as major things, and sleep better.

Tony: How did these struggles and frustrations affect your life? What did you feel like before you decided to take your life back?

Katie: I felt unhappy, ashamed, and not in control of my own life, and generally was in a terrible place emotionally and physically. And if it hasn’t been stated clearly enough before, I felt like crap pretty much all the time and it wasn’t just physical—it was mental, too. I was in a fog much of the time. I didn’t handle even small stresses well, much less bigger things. I was just floating along with life rather than living the life I really wanted to live.

“I was just floating along with life rather than living the life I really wanted to live.”

READ PART 2 of this amazing story and learn what it took for Katie to make the critical changes that resulted in her being able to take her life back and overcome obesity and a lack of healthy habits and see measurable weight loss.*

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

***

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Topics: NIFS healthy habits fitness center weight loss attitude diabetes personal training heart disease Crucial Conversations obesity making changes

Never Give Up: Fighting Diabetes with Exercise and Diet

Diabetes is a very familiar topic for me. Being diagnosed with Type I diabetes in my early 20s (not far removed from being a collegiate athlete) has made a huge impact on my life and how I face every day.

Always being on the active side and loving the endorphins of exercise has been both a blessing and a curse. Exercise plays a huge role in fighting diabetes, not only in prevention but also in management. Some people who have diabetes are the unlucky ones with inherited genetics, while others develop it through lifelong lifestyle habits ranging from poor nutrition to inactivity. More often than not, we can take control of this situation and overcome the effects by following the guidelines set forth by our healthcare providers and by listening to our bodies. 

Countering the Effects of Diabetes

Covering serious health topics such as heart health and foot health, the negative effects of diabetes are vast. With limited options available, we must turn to good old Mother Nature. Healthy lifestyles consisting of proper nutrition mixed with a modest yet consistent workout routine provide your body the necessary tools to cultivate and sustain some resistance to the overwhelming complications of diabetes. From this, you can see that your best friends will soon be a good gym buddy or a personal trainer to help hold your workout routine accountable, and a myfitnesspal app or a registered dietician to help hold your nutrition plan together.

The Importance of Monitoring Glucose Before Exercise

You may say, “Thomas, this blog can’t be all sunshine and rainbows.” You are correct. There are underlying factors that make simple solutions to diabetes an even steeper hill to climb. Individuals with diabetes are affected by almost every food they eat and every rep and set of exercise they push through. High and low blood glucose levels from improper insulin dosage or other medication are extremely dangerous. The only way to ensure you are ready to work out is to utilize a glucose monitor multiple times throughout the day. This includes before and after meals, before and after workout sessions, and the first thing when you wake up in the morning (fasting) and right before you go to bed. That’s a lot of little finger pokes. 

Diabetic Neuropathy

Another diabetes-related issue is called neuropathy, which is basically the desensitization of nerves in the extremities. You may be thinking, “This is great; I won’t feel pain anymore!” But what you don’t know is that now you can injure yourself without knowing and make it even worse by not addressing the issue, which can lead to irreversible damage. From this, you’ll find that your new best friends are going to be your endocrinologist and your podiatrist.

We Are Here to Help

There are many other friends that you will make along the way, ranging from your optometrist to the friendly types encouraging you to stay on the wagon. My suggestion is to let them help you. Because diabetes is a road that is nearly impassible without the help of others, you will find each helping hand not only makes the journey easier, but lets you know you are not alone in your fight. 

For more information about how NIFS can provide you with the proper atmosphere and knowledge to succeed with diabetes, contact the track desk to speak with one of our certified and degreed fitness professionals. NIFS is also proud to offer a registered dietician who can help you make informed decisions regarding your diet plan.

NEVER GIVE UP

What did you eat today? Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. Contact Angie Scheetz ascheetz@nifs.org or call 317-274-3432 to find out more about the My Nutrition Coach app

Learn MoreThis blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Instructor at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS exercise nutrition Thomas' Corner diabetes disease prevention

NIFS Lifestyle Program Participant: Kim Flowers

KimI’d like to take a few moments to highlight a member of the NIFS Lifestyle Program. This program provides extra guidance and observation to individuals with chronic medical concerns. NIFS’s Lifestyle Coordinator communicates with the participant’s physician about their progress and helps them plan workouts geared to their specific medical needs. Take a few minutes to read about Kim Flowers and learn how this program has changed her.

SHARE YOUR STORY OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

I am 48 years old and have been a member of the Lifestyle/Scholarship Program at NIFS for about five months. Currently I am on dialysis three times a week and am awaiting a kidney transplant. Due to diabetes I lost my leg, but I am coming to NIFS to turn all of this around and get healthier in all aspects of my life! My goal is to get back to work as a social worker once I receive my kidney.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED ABOUT BEING IN THE LIFESTYLE PROGRAM:

I have enjoyed getting out of the house and learning different ways to exercise. Even with the limitations that I have physically, I have enjoyed seeing how much I am able to do that I didn’t think was possible. Working out, something that I have not done in the past, is giving me more overall energy. It is helping me to get stronger, and helping me in my everyday tasks, which sometimes are difficult with a prosthetic.

SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SURPRISED YOU:

After getting my general fitness assessment, I learned and was surprised at the amount of fat I have in my body and that could cause me to have serious health issues. I am learning ways to work on getting my body fat to a more acceptable level.

FAVORITE THING TO DO FOR A WORKOUT:

All of it! I really do enjoy everything that we do. Though some things are harder than others and really stretch my abilities, there is not one thing that Amanda has me do that I don’t like. I really enjoy working out with Amanda and it has made a difference in my life.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR:

I am able to do exercises that I was not able to do in the beginning. I have also increased my endurance. Being on dialysis and having a prosthetic makes it challenging to keep up my heart health, but I can tell when I am walking that I am able to last a lot longer than I could before*.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

THINGS LEARNED FROM YOUR TRAINER ALONG THE WAY:

I have learned about better eating habits, how to use the machines at NIFS correctly, and how to make exercise a part of my life.

WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED:

This is something that I want and that I know I need to do in order to help myself. It is helping me to take steps to my goal of getting my kidney and starting a new life.

I have really enjoyed being a part of the Lifestyle/Scholarship Program at NIFS. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in something that without others’ help I would not be able to do. Even once I hit my goal, I want to keep going! I want to say thank you to every person who helps to make this program possible.

NIFS Lifestyle/Scholarship Program

One component of the Lifestyle Program is that there is a scholarship opportunity for those involved. Many of these people have physical limitations and are unable to work. NIFS has a scholarship fund on a needs basis, allowing participants the opportunity to get the help and guidance they need. Currently NIFS funds 16 scholarships to program participants.

To help sustain our current scholarships and increase the opportunities to fund additional ones, NIFS organizes an annual auction. We need your help to continue to provide this gift to those who need it! Please consider bidding in the seventh annual online auction.

AuctionImageVisit the auction website beginning November 24 at 8:00am and concluding on December 15 at 8:00pm and see what great items you can bid on!

For questions about the Lifestyle Scholarship program or the online auction please contact Amanda Bireline at 317-274-3432 ext. 219 or abireline@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Lifestyle Program Coordinator and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise nutrition goal setting NIFS programs endurance diabetes

NIFS Lifestyle Program’s 6th Annual Silent Auction

It’s that time of year: the holidays are just around the corner, which means NIFS is hosting the Lifestyle6th annual Lifestyle Program Silent Auction.

The Lifestyle Program serves individuals who have a chronic condition and need extra guidance, education, and assistance with living a healthy lifestyle. This includes individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, COPD, neurological disease, and cancer, to name a few. Members of this program are taught how to manage and prevent progression of their condition through exercise in conjunction with their physician’s recommendations. Our goal is to help participants progress to independence and maintain optimal health. Because of this program, many participants are successfully living with heart and kidney transplants, neurological disorders, and pulmonary disease.

“Being a part of this program has improved my overall health. It is a great way to start BIDmy morning by getting up and exercising, which helps me to feel good throughout the day.”

—Current Lifestyle Scholarship Participant

This auction funds the scholarship portion of the program, which allows individuals with chronic diseases or conditions in a financial hardship to work with NIFS staff members at little or no cost. This event wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations from companies and organizations on a local and national level. We want to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to St. Elmo Steak House, Green Mountain Coffee, AMC Theatres, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Segway Tours of Indiana, Redbox, and others still coming in!

To participate and see all of the items up for auction, you can visit the auction website. Bidding opens at 8:00am on Black Friday, November 29, and closes at 8pm on December 14. Bidders who place the highest bid will win the item. Last year, the auction raised nearly $1,000 and we can’t thank those who participated enough for their kindness and generosity! We hope to make this year as successful (or more!) Let the bidding begin!

If you or someone you know might be interested in the Lifestyle Program or have any questions about the auction, please contact Stephanie at sgreer@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. To meet the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS programs health diabetes disease prevention

Dealing with Diabetes―Deliciously!

Diabetes is a disease that affects 8.3% of the population, or 26 million individuals. When it comes to diabetes, nutrition is key. The goal is to be able to choose foods that help to keep blood sugar levels under control and in the recommended range.

The best way to eat to guarantee optimum blood sugar levels is to always combine carbohydrate foods with a protein to help prevent levels from spiking too high. Foods that are carbohydrates are grains such as rice, cereal, and pasta; dairy foods such as milk and yogurt; and fruits and vegetables. Foods that have protein include meat, eggs, soy, beans, nuts, and dairy foods (which also contain protein in addition to carbohydrates).

Here are some diabetic-friendly recipes that follow this suggestion.

Mini BBQ Chicken-Topped Potato Halves

Ingredients:Shredded Chicken on Potato

  • —2 (1/4 lb total) new potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a fork in several areas
  • —2 cups prepared shredded barbeque chicken
  • —1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream
  • —1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and cook five minutes, turn, and cook another 4 to 5 minutes until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, place the barbecue chicken in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, about 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. Place potatoes on cutting board, cut in half lengthwise, top with equal amounts of chicken, and then top with the sour cream and green onions.

*Serving size is half a potato; makes 4 servings.

Calories: 83; Total Fat: 1g; Total Carbohydrate: 24g; Protein: 10g

Grilled Asparagus

Ingredients:asparagus new

  • —1 pound/bundle of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • —Pinch of pepper
  • —¼ tsp Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning
  • —1 ounce Fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Heat grill to high heat.
  2. Lightly coat the asparagus with olive oil, squeezed lemon juice, pepper, and Mrs. Dash.
  3. Grill 2 to 3 minutes.

*Makes 4 servings.  **Pair this with your favorite grilled lean meat

Calories: 116; Total Fat: 10g; Total Carbohydrate: 6g; Protein: 3g

Strawberry Yogurt Parfait

Ingredients:strawberry Small

  • —1 cup Chocolate Cheerios®
  • —2 containers (6 oz. each) Yoplait Greek Strawberry Yogurt (1 1/3 cups)
  • —2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Instructions:

  1. Save two teaspoons of Chocolate Cheerios for toppings.
  2. Take each of the serving glasses and layer 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of Chocolate Cheerios, and 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries, and repeat layers.
  3. Top with the remaining Cheerios and a whole strawberry.

*Makes 4 servings.

Calories: 136; Total Fat: 1g; Total Carbohydrate: 25g; Protein: 8g

Getting the Balance Right and Learning More About Diabetes

Most individuals need between 45 and 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. Combine this with 15 to 25 grams of protein and blood sugar levels will remain stable and in the healthy range.

Consider joining a Dealing with Diabetes class at NIFS. This four-week behavior-modification class provides participants with the tools to select proper foods and incorporate exercise into their lives while dealing with diabetes. This class is ideal for those who have been diagnosed with the disease, who have been told they are pre-diabetic, or for family members of those with diabetes struggling to help their loved ones. The program encourages gradual changes in attitudes and behaviors related to nutrition, exercise, and wellness. By incorporating these changes, participants will be able to improve their health and manage their diabetes. Contact

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. For more information contact her at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating recipes snacks diabetes