Chippewa Valley (WQOW) – You may have heard the phrase, “New year, new me.” Well, local gyms are filling up for that exact reason, as locals set a weight loss resolution for 2019.
However, a U.S. News report shows 80 percent of resolutions fail by February. But not to worry, we are going to help you lock down those resolutions, by sharing tips from local experts and following a mother from Menomonie, who found success nine years ago and has a new resolution because of it.
“I was just 220 pounds and I was just sick,” said Suzanne Schwartz of Menomonie. “I just needed a change. I said ‘It is time for a change.’ And it’s been nine years now.”
Schwartz, a mother of six, struggled with weight for much of her life, but tossed her excuses aside.
“I need to do this for myself and for my family,” said Schwartz. “So I continued on with it. I had two babies and I still ended up losing the weight.”
Schwartz lost more than 80 pounds. Her success is similar to what others are looking for this year and could help combat the growing problems of weight gain in the Chippewa Valley.
Obesity Rates Rise
“Obesity has been prioritized as one of the top five health concerns for Eau Claire County,” said Susan Krahn, public health nutritionist at the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.
A recent report from Health Atlas shows obesity rates rising in the county.
“In Eau Claire County, It ranges from 40.2 percent to 53.3 percent and that’s for adults ages 18 and older,” said Krahn. “And then for children, for Eau Claire County we know that it’s about 15.4 to 21 percent of children who are obese.”
So, Eau Claire health officials want to inspire change, but sticking to a resolution can be tough.
Sticking to a Resolution
“I think the big thing is to start small,” said Health Krieger, clinical dietitian at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. “Make one goal. Give yourself two weeks to make that goal at least somewhat achievable, and then work from there. If you have one to two things you are working on over one to two months, I think you are more likely to have that change be life long, than versus a quick fix.”
There are local programs (listed at the bottom of this article) that can help people stick with their goals, and having a support ground around you can also help. For Schwartz that was her family.
“Every single day, they look at me and they tell me how proud they are of me,” Schwartz said. “For me that was really important because I never had that when I was a kid. To have my kids look at me and say ‘Mom, I really look up to you, you are inspiration to us.'”
Nine years ago, Schwartz made the change, and now she has a new resolution. In May, she will be competing in a bikini competition in Bloomington.
“I’ve never ever liked people looking at me,” said Schwartz. “I’ve always hidden behind the camera and everything. It’s going to be a fun experience.”
If you’re inspired by Schwartz’ progress, her message to you is to stay focused.
“It gets easier,” Schwartz said. “It will change your whole life. I mean the things you will be able to do after you lose the weight. I am so much more active. I don’t have to be on medications anymore. I am actually going back to school to be a nutritionist. I mean it just changes your whole outlook on life.”
Many people may think that more exercise is all you need to lose weight when it comes to setting a New Year’s resolution, but local dietitians said otherwise.
They said the biggest change comes from in the kitchen. On average, dietitians look for between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. You can also include whole grains, lean meats, fish, chicken, pork and more in your diet. When there are YES foods, there are NO foods, like sugar sweetened beverages filling you up on empty calories, and of course, fatty and processed foods.
Eau Claire health officials said to cut back on the number of times you go out to eat, eat only half of your meal, or share your food with a friend. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you should eliminate exercise.
“Per week, it’s about 150 minutes that is a recommendation as a minimum through the American Heart Association,” Krieger said. “So, I always tell people to start slow. Break your intervals up and do maybe 10 minutes, three times a day. And then go from there.”
Krieger said benefits to eating healthy and shedding weight can include preventing heart disease, relieving joint pain, certain cancers and diabetes.
Obesity Prevention Programs