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Adair County Free Press

Walking toward a better 'you'

Having gastric "sleeve" surgery forced Stevens to a healthier diet, stricter exercise program

Susan Stevens had a gastric "sleeve" surgery in early 2017. Since then, she's committed herself to a strict, healthy diet and to regular exercise. Through all that, she says she's shed 97 pounds and is feeling great.
Susan Stevens had a gastric "sleeve" surgery in early 2017. Since then, she's committed herself to a strict, healthy diet and to regular exercise. Through all that, she says she's shed 97 pounds and is feeling great.

She was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, and those factors were enough to wake Susan Stevens up. They led her to make a decision, that for the sake of herself and her loved ones, she was going to take charge of her obesity.

The Greenfield single mom chose the route of a “gastric sleeve” surgery. While she describes the operation as a tool to lose weight, it has certainly commanded a deep level of commitment from her in the areas of exercise and healthy eating.

Many people try to start or rekindle healthy habits as New Year’s resolutions. According to Reader’s Digest, two of the top five New Year’s resolutions people most often make are getting in shape and losing weight.

“I looked at it as ‘If I don’t do something now, it might be too late later,’” Stevens remembers.

Not wanting to waste any time, Stevens attended her first informational meeting about her surgery in October 2016. She had a consultation a month later, and after considering the cost, Stevens began the journey of preparing and going through with a February operation at a state-of-the-art hospital in Belmond.

Stevens has shed 97 pounds along her journey and the results have been quite positive.

“The diabetes, it’s gone,” she said. “I have one knee that bothers me now, but I don’t ache like I did before. Shopping for clothes is a lot easier now and sitting in bleachers or stadium seats is a lot better.”

Stevens helps coach the Nodaway Valley archery team, and on the early mornings the team isn’t practicing, she’s somewhere working out.

Keeping the pounds off has not come without a price.

“I couldn’t eat just one thing, and that was my issue. I couldn’t just eat one piece of pizza or one piece of chocolate. If I was going to eat one piece of chocolate I was going to want another piece of chocolate,” Stevens said. “It’s a lifestyle change. Yes, the surgery helped me to get to where I’m at but I can’t go back to eating how I was before either.”

Those locally who are seeking avenues of getting healthy have plenty of options at their disposal, including Lindsey Fox, who is a Certified Personal Trainer at the Adair County Health and Fitness Center.

Fox has been in her current position since September and loves catering her skills and knowledge toward the benefit of clients and their own, unique goals. She teaches classes at the fitness center ranging from the grueling boot camps and Zumba dancing to lower intensity things like line dancing or Barre.

Beginning an exercise plan involves a lot of intentionality.

“It’s important to start out small with realistic goals and milestones that you can accomplish along the way,” Fox said. “Make sure you focus on the non-scale victories.”

What are non-scale victories?

“The weight on that scale doesn’t necessarily determine how healthy you are. You think about the composition of your body and how that changes or your mindset,” Fox said. “A big thing for people is overcoming a fear of the gym. It can be an intimidating place. The good thing about being in a fitness class is that everybody is starting somewhere. Everybody has a goal they want to attain. It then becomes more of a fitness family.”

Fox says that varying workouts from day-to-day will help in sticking to any exercise plan. There are many avenues to be utilized at many gyms like machines, free weights, cardio equipment, a basketball court and maybe even a walking track.

“They say that week three is about where people will start to falter a little bit. They’ll get bored or won’t see those results right away, so about that time is the right time to use the resources you have around you. After two weeks your body is already starting to change and it’s time to challenge those muscle groups,” Fox said. “There are all sorts of fitness assets in the community that people can go to where they’re going to find the help and support that they need to continue along that journey.”

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