Weingarth’s “before” photo is above.
After giving up cigarettes and alcohol, Army Veteran Mark Weingarth decided it was time to take his health to the next level and lose weight. He was looking for a program to help him make lifestyle changes, not just lose weight. With his faith in God as the driving force behind his motivation to lose weight, he joined the MOVE program at Truman VA.
He encourages other Veterans, who might be afraid to trust VA because of negative media stories, to shut off the television and give the VA programs such as MOVE! a chance to help you reach your goals.
What motivated you to get started with MOVE!?
I decided that I was tired of everything else coming before my faith. I was reflecting on my life and how I had made it to age 59. But, I wanted to live a much longer and better life. My body is a gift and it was time to start taking care of it.
What about the MOVE! Program worked for you?
Before the class, I had no idea how many calories I was consuming on a daily basis. After keeping a food journal and tracking calories, I am much more aware of how many calories I take in and the right foods I need to eat to help me lose weight. I learned what exercises are best at burning calories.
MOVE! helped me realize that the healthy lifestyle changes did not have to stop once the program was over. After MOVE!, I started going to Tai Chi classes and I’m getting ready to join the Whole Health Program because I want the progress to continue.
Army Veteran Mark Weingarth today with the healthy food that helps him keep weight off
What benefits did you notice?
My blood pressure is lower. I went down a full pant size and I have noticed less pressure on my knees. I’m not as tired from carrying around that extra weight. Even simple things like bending over to pick something up is easier for me now.
How much weight have you lost?
From the time I started the MOVE program in July 2015 until the end of the 12-week program in January 2016, I lost a total of 22 pounds. I still weigh close to the weight I was at the end of MOVE!.
It’s been almost three years since you went through MOVE!. How have you kept the weight off?
My decision making when it comes to food has changed. Instead of eating a candy bar, I will have a handful of walnuts. I fill up on healthier foods as opposed to chips. I also try to aim for variety, incorporating new foods in my diet. I’ve seen the results of my weight loss and I want to continue that journey.
About the author: Jennifer Schmidt is a health promotion disease prevention program manager and MOVE coordinator.