Finding The Balance
Sonja Herrera spent the last two decades putting the needs of her family before herself. But with her kids now grown and off to college, she felt now was the time to focus her attention on her health and well-being. She wanted to lose weight but in a healthy way.
“I didn’t want to do shakes and fad diets,” she said. Sonja decided to try the Healthy Balance weight management program at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital last spring.
“Healthy Balance is based on science, not fads,” explained Michelle Smith, coordinator of both the program and cardiac rehabilitation at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
“The program emphasizes nutrition and exercise with a goal of 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss a week,” she added. “That’s the kind of weight that stays off. The aim is to lose body fat and not body mass.”
A team of physical therapists, a dietitian and an occupational therapist work with program participants to achieve weight loss and fitness goals. Sonja joined the eight-week program in March 2009, and five months later she had dropped 34 pounds.
“The first 10 pounds are the easiest. But after 12 weeks I lost 24 pounds,” she said. “The program really made me more aware of my eating and exercise habits. I’m really happy with the results.”
Portion control plays the key role, she explained: “I learned that when it comes to eating, it’s all about moderation and knowing how much a healthy portion size is compared to what we tend to eat.”
When she first began her exercise program, she had some knee pain. Her doctor determined it was arthritis. But by gradually increasing her strength and stamina, she was able to run comfortably.
“At first I wasn’t able to run for more than a minute on the treadmill,” she admitted. “But now I’ve been able to build up to running for a quarter mile.”
Sonja’s trim and glowing appearance is now having an influence on her friends who also want to make a change for the better.
They want to lose weight and get in shape now, too, after seeing what I was able to do,” she said. “But I tell them, the key to success is you have to do it for your- self, and not for anyone else.”
Read other stories from the Winter 2010 Cottage Magazine here.