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Part 2: Focusing on fitness

Part 2: Focusing on fitness

For those that haven’t seen my first blog, I am writing to share my weight loss journey. For a month now, I have been participating in the Advocate Weight Management Program. I don’t know why this diet seems so easy, but maybe it’s just my resolve this time to make it work. This program seems to fit perfectly with my lifestyle. I tend to be in a lot of meetings and sometimes travel around the Chicagoland area from site to site for my job.

The portability and ease of using the meal replacements has simplified my life so much. I grab three packets and a piece of fruit in the morning along with a bottle of water and I’m good to go. If I have a lunch meeting out, I plan ahead and bring my own fat-free dressings so it’s already measured and just order a salad. In the evening I have a great meal with my husband that includes four ounces of protein and three to four servings of vegetables. Then I have a Greek low-fat yogurt around 8:30 pm at night. I have no sweet cravings but the one thing I do miss is the bread. I am getting over that, but that was the most difficult part the first month.

You may ask if I still eat out-definitely, usually every Friday and Saturday night. I’m much more selective about where we go and try to check out the menus online before so I can plan what to order. Usually the meals come with an entrée, vegetable and potato or rice. I ask them not to bring the starch serving and ask to substitute another vegetable. I also ask for a “to-go” container when the meal is served and put half of the entrée in there so I’m not tempted to overeat.

So…how did I do over the Easter holiday? I called my mother-in-law to see what was being served. When I realized I couldn’t eat any of it, I brought a big garden salad with lots of fresh veggies and dressings (including my fat-free) along with a piece of salmon I could incorporate into my salad. It didn’t bother me there were things I couldn’t eat. My resolve to make this succeed is very high.

Everything is tracked on my Fitbit – it’s more than a pedometer, as you can track your food, water, sleep and activity every day. After the third week, I met with Michael Heidkamp, MS, exercise physiologist with the Advocate Weight Management Program, to develop a plan to start getting active. He educated me on the differences between activities and exercise.

Did you know that exercise is considered a workout that is more than 20 minutes where your heart rate is up so it would make you labored to have a conversation with someone? I thought as long as I was moving for 20 minutes and not watching TV or on the computer, I was doing a good job. And no, the four hours I worked in the garden is not exercise, it is activity. While it’s good to move and not sit in front of the TV, I want to get to the point where I’m getting to that exercise level consistently.1713

My goal now is 6,500 steps a day with a minimum of 20 active minutes at a time. I have a stretch goal of 7,500 steps and we’ll make adjustments along the way. Many nights I get home tired, but now I walk every night with my husband and the dog, weather permitting. A lot of times we get back and I am still short of my goal so I try to do some more exercise until I hit my goal. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

So, how did I do my first month? The first week I lost a whopping 14 pounds. Tricia Ligon, the program manager, wanted me to add the disclaimer “results not typical.” She also commented that the whole team thought I really knocked it out of the park my first week! The second week I lost 3.5 pounds…third week 4 pounds…and the fourth week 2.8 pounds for a total of 24.3 pounds for the month.

Remember, I am doing a medically supervised program. If you are doing this on your own, it is recommended that you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week-not this large of a drop. I cleaned out my closet and drawers and no longer have any clothes that are too big to wear. I went out and bought just a couple items to fill in for right now – two sizes smaller! So when I think about eating something that is not in this regimented plan, I think about my success over this first month and the thought goes right out of my head.

Stay tuned for next month’s blog as I’m sure I will have a lot of challenges with my son’s graduation and all the spring festivities planned.

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  1. Debbie,
    Well done! You are such an inspiration.

  2. Deb, you look great! Keep up the good work. You are inspiring.

  3. Way to go Debi!! I hope I can be as motivated as you are.

  4. Great job Deb!! Love the clarification regarding “activity” versus “workout”

  5. Angela Hacke

    Wow Deb – great job! I am impressed with your motivation to keep on track. I started doing weight watchers at work and have lost over 20 lbs myself. And I just won a FitBit through HealtheYou, so I am not tracking my steps exercise as well. Keep up the good work!

  6. Debi Jordan

    Great job, Angela! I hope you like using the FitBit as much as I do. I record everything in it – water, what I eat and I love when it vibrates when I hit my steps goal. Now I’m going more for the “activity goal” – to make sure it’s at least 20 minutes of exercise at a time. I’m glad it’s getting nice out. Now I don’t want to be in the house!

  7. Kelly Jo Golson

    Thank you for sharing your story Deb! You are truly an inspiration.

  8. Julie Goldstein May 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm · Reply

    good for you Deb!

  9. Keep up the good work Debi! The Advocate Weight Management really works. Week 27 on sustaining for me!

  10. Awesome Debi, keep up the good work.. And Kathy H. congratulations. I wish you both much success in this program. You’re inspriing!

  11. Thank you for sharing your story ! Do you happen to know if there are plans to bring this program to other Advocate locations .. i.e. such as the South Side / South suburbs? Keep up the great work , I found your story very inspiring.

  12. I just went back and read your first article and see that they are working on expanding this to the South Side / Western Suburbs. That is great !! By the way you look amazing I would have never in a million years guessed your age

    • Debi Jordan

      Thanks, Tracy. Yes, they would like to expand but need to find an Advocate Medical Group physician in that area to take this on. If you know of anyone that you could recommend, please let me Patricia Ligon, manager of the Advocate Weight Management Program know or you can email me at and I will pass that along to her.

  13. Very encouraging news on your update. Congratulations! I agree with Tracy that it would be great if they can expand to program to other Advocate sites.

  14. Tom Summerfelt May 9, 2014 at 12:30 pm · Reply

    This is amazing. Thanks for sharing. Love your resolve.

  15. Debi

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is very inspiring.

  16. Debi, So excited for you! So happy you are having such great success. I am a south-sider also and would love for a program to come to our area. So jealous.
    I realize you are under medical supervision under this program; but if you could share five things that helped; that you could recommend that might help the rest of us that struggle with losing weight that would be great. How can you speed up your metabolism? What kind of foods to avoid? Etc. Again wishing you continued success.

    • Debi Jordan

      Carol – I am hoping the program will be expanded soon for you. I hope these 5 things I’ve learned so far will help. They are not new at all but when you put them all together I think it’s what is working for me.
      1. Drink water – the fluids are important to keep you hydrated and everything in sync. It should be at least half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 200 lbs – drink 100 ounces with a max of 128. Half of that should be pure water – the rest can have Crystal Light or Iced Tea. I’ve limited my soda consumption to just a couple a week and they are diet and caffeine free.
      2. Eat 6 times a day to keep your metabolism going. You don’t want to get to the point where you are so hungry that you eat too fast or overeat.
      3. Make sure you have one serving of fruit and at least 4 servings of vegetables a day. They fill you up and are great for you. Experiment with new things. I grill a lot of veggies now – green beans, squash, zucchini, asparagus and even fruit – peaches and pineapple are great on the grill.
      4. No matter how tired you think you are when you get home from work – walk. Stay active and do a hobby. You don’t have to do 10,000 steps a day at the start – I started with 5,000 and worked my way up gradually.
      5. MOST IMPORTANT – Don’t beat yourself up if you eat something not on your plan. Just start over the next day. I’ll go more into this on the next blog.
      Good luck on your journey.

  17. Great News Debi! orale!

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About the Author

Debi Jordan
Debi Jordan

Debi Jordan, health enews contributor, is senior account rep for the Advocate Health Care Media Center. She is sharing her weight loss journey.