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Heather's story: Marathon not a sprint


My weight has been something I have struggled with my entire life. My relationship with food has always been my biggest obstacle. It took me a long time to realize that there was no magic wand I could wave to change my weight or how I made food choices. It has taken a lot of hard work and careful thought and it will always be something I work hard to manage. 

I made an appointment with the Weight and Wellness Center at the recommendation of one of my providers. She had very good things to say about the program and had previously referred other patients. I was immediately drawn to the total mission and the concept of the care team. Since day one, I have been part of a team that has helped me plan for long-term weight loss through medical, nutritional and lifestyle changes. Weight loss is so much more than numbers on a scale or a dress size. It is about feeling good, living an overall healthier life and having the tools to live every day like that. 

This program helps you adapt a lifestyle - I didn’t want to not feel like I was another diet. For me, the whole team has provided the support and direction I needed. Even though most of us already know what the formula is to live a healthy life, everyone needs support and empowerment, and more importantly encouragement. Particularly, I need to be reminded that it is one step at a time and that I can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. 

Marathon not a sprint

When I joined the program, I had a goal weight in mind but more importantly I wanted to feel better about myself. I had had success at various points over the years with managing my weight using other programs, but I was yearning for something that helped me with the emotional components of my weight and my relationship with food. I was tired of being alone in these efforts. I would lose 5 pounds here and gain 10 pounds there. I wasn’t happy with myself, but I wasn’t prioritizing myself either. 

I have always liked to run for exercise and decided push myself into training for a marathon. I thought this might be the best way to focus on myself and be more mindful about my health. I took the plunge and simultaneously signed up to run the Chicago Marathon and made my first appointment with the Center. I knew I would be able to run the race with the proper training but I wanted to feel good and take care of my body. My nutritionist Lauren Fialkoff was so supportive and welcoming to the program. She was creative with meal planning and suggestions for good foods. She cheered on me through training to run and training myself to eat better. I was able to complete the marathon with a great time and a smile on my face. I was so excited by this experience; I decided to run the Boston Marathon the same year! Though I have never been so rain soaked in my life, I finished the 2018 Boston Marathon injury free and again, smiling. 

I consider myself to be on a lifetime journey. I can’t remember what my weight was when I joined the program. I am not totally sure I remember what my target weight was either. The things I focus on every now are: 

  • Did I drink enough water? 
  • Have I taken enough steps today?
  • Did I log my food today and have I eaten enough protein?

I am a work in progress yet know there is no such thing as a perfect person. I will always have to think strategically about the choices I make when it comes to the food I eat and how I treat my body, but it doesn’t have to be scary and unpleasant! I no longer feel like I am alone in this journey. I enjoy my appointments and don’t think I would have felt so connected to the program without the help of Lauren, Dr. Rajan and Dr. Siegel. I am thankful I took the first step to make and go to an appointment. 

It is easy to be overwhelmed and feel the enormity of making lifestyle choices, but it's a lot easier to do when you have help. The hardest part is making the first step and honestly, showing up is half the battle!