Weight loss success spotlight: practice makes possible

“I knew it was time to join again when my fat pants were too tight,” says Eileen Zahn, a college payroll specialist in Arts & Sciences, explaining why she returned to UK Health & Wellness’ EatWell weight loss program for round two.

Losing weight – and keeping it off – is a constant goal for many. For Eileen, it’s a dedication to looking and feeling her best, one day and step at a time. In four months she has already lost 25 pounds and gained a change in perspective.

“Now I feel like exercising and preparing food at home are part of who I am.”

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UK employee Eileen Zahn has lost 25 pounds and counting with the help of EatWell weight loss.

After Eileen’s first round with EatWell (then called Weight Loss Matters), she also felt strongly connected to the healthful habits she picked up. However, some of those practices that once worked needed to be re-tooled for the present. As Eileen describes it:

“Before I re-joined, I would be doing well all day eating home-prepared foods and then I’d end up noshing on carb-heavy pretzels because I felt so famished once I got home from work. I also swapped out gym time for team lunch time when I moved to Arts & Sciences because I wanted to connect with my new work group. I was lucky if I worked out once a week even though my goal was three to four.”

Just as healthful habits often slip slowly over time, Eileen discovered they can be put back into practice again, step by step. And this time she’s focused on all the small details and strategies that make her practices sustainable.

“Exercising is convenient again now that I use our new elliptical every evening at home. It was a matter of changing my workout time and place to be something I could easily stick to. Another thing I realized I needed was a good snack for the end of the work day to keep me from getting so famished that by the time I’d get home I’d eat anything. Karen, one of the dietitians leading the program, suggested that strategy for me – it’s even something she does herself.”

With the encouragement of EatWell’s dietitians Karen McNees and Vanessa Oliver, Eileen does only what works for her.

“I always make a point to go to the weekly weigh-ins at the beginning of class, and it’s so helpful to know I’m welcome to do that even when I don’t have time to attend the full class. The other major thing that keeps me accountable is their recommended app, Lose It. It reminds me everything I eat counts, even the calories in a handful of chips, so I have to log it.”

Eileen emphasizes her success so far has not been challenge-free. Last week she discovered she gained a pound back.

“Karen and Vanessa helped me move past feeling defeated.”

“We reflected on what might have happened and what I could try next time. One issue I’m struggling with is, though I’ve stopped buying pretzels, realizing that I’m tempted to eat the chips in the house that I buy for my daughter.

“It’s always a constant balancing act. For example, when our family went to the beach we stayed at a place with a gym and I started to feel bad because I wasn’t using the equipment to workout. But, I was taking walks on the beach each day, and that’s good too – it’s good for your heart, soul, everything. And those are the things that keep me going toward my goal of doubling what I’ve lost already.”

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