The dictionary defines challenge as something that “by its nature or character, serves as a call to battle, contest or special effort.” Jami Young of Central Point and Mark Sanford of Ashland encountered a bit of all three when they volunteered for Oregon Healthy Living’s January 2014 Challenge. For the past thirty days, they have each learned that with the guidance of a pro-in-the-know, they are able to achieve goals that may have seemed unattainable.
Jami Young’s Nutrition Challenge
When chosen for the nutrition challenge, Jami Young was excited about the opportunity to spend time with Kellie Hill, a nutrition therapy practitioner with The Right Plan in Medford. After frustrating attempts to control her weight, Young hoped that learning how to improve her eating habits would reduce her waistline and increase her energy level so she could enjoy outdoor activities with her family.
From their very first meeting, Young was encouraged by Hill’s practical approach to healthy eating. What she learned has significantly changed her perspective on food selection, preparation and portion control.
“She taught me how to prepare whole foods in a way that my family will eat,” Young explains, “and that’s really changed how I cook. I buy real food from a regular grocery store. I have learned to balance out my plate better between proteins and vegetables using more reasonable portions.”
Young also learned that losing weight is not about starving, but rather about eating smaller portions of the right food more often to keep her body fueled and her metabolism humming.
“I feel like I eat all day long now,” Young exclaims. “The first week I met with Kellie, she told me, ‘All you need to do is snack.’ I said, ‘What?’ And then she told me what kinds of things to snack on, and even though I was already eating some of those things, my portion sizes went down a lot. Controlling portion size has been a huge eye-opener for me.”
Hill has also given her practical suggestions for things to eat on the go, which has benefitted her kids, too. “Most mornings I rush out the door without eating breakfast,” Young admits. “Now I have new breakfast ideas and I prepare little snack bags to have with me in the car for when I get hungry so I’m not tempted to stop and get something that isn’t good for me.”
Until Young focused more on her eating habits, she hadn’t realized how much certain foods affected her physically and mentally. “I have learned a lot about how food changes the way I feel,” she says. “When I eat dairy products, I feel bloated and tend to be a little more grumpy. I never realized that before, so dairy is one of the biggest things that I have cut out.”
Young is excited about the changes she’s noticed since beginning the challenge and feels she is learning common sense lifestyle changes she can easily maintain long term.
“So far I have lost about 13 pounds,” she said. “I feel like I have increased energy and I am sleeping better. One of the coolest things is that I had suffered from terrible headaches for the last six or seven months and the other day my husband mentioned how long it has been since I last took migraine medicine. I know it has to do with the foods I’m eating, and probably even more with what I’m not eating.”
Young says Hill has changed her perspective on how easy it is to make healthy choices with simple things like switching regular pasta with whole wheat pasta, or instead of plain white rice, choosing long grain enriched rice, jasmine or brown rice. She says, “Kellie has been amazing when it comes to showing me how to cook things so my family will like them. Even my kids are feeling better. They’re eating more vegetables than they ever have before.”
Armed with new ways of thinking, Young is hopeful that she is well on her way to reaching her weight-loss goal and has really embraced what she’s learned about making healthier choices for herself. “My new outlook on food has been the most positive difference, asking myself things like do I really need the fluffy coffee drinksâ€”probably not. I can still choose things I like and I don’t really feel like I’m sacrificing anything.”
This has been a great opportunity, Young says. “I almost feel like I won the lottery when it comes to figuring out what works for me and for my family.” [Read More]