New Year, New You? Time for a Body Makeover

5 mins read

Diet and exercise. It’s the go-to strategy most doctors recommend to lose weight and stay healthy. But does it really work?

Mac Mitchell had his doubts. Now in his 60s, the Beaufort contractor had been living on a steady diet of fast food and snacks for most of his life. Long past the years when he worked in the field with his construction crew, his job was no longer providing him with the physical activity that had kept him in shape in his 20s and 30s.   

Mac Mitchell lost 24 pounds after the first 12 weeks of Beaufort Memorial’s 12-week wellness program.

“When you become the boss, mostly you’re just pointing,” he quipped. 

Mitchell knew he had packed on a few extra pounds, but he didn’t realize just how far he had let himself go until his wife signed them up for the Body Makeover program at Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s LifeFit Wellness Center. 

“I was shocked to learn I was 261 pounds,” says Mitchell, who is 6-foot-1.

Worse than that, an analysis of his health at the beginning of the program revealed his blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol were all high. Just one lap around the gym’s quarter-mile track left him breathless. 

“I couldn’t even do a pushup,” Mitchell admits. “I was a train wreck.” 

Back in the Groove

“Losing weight isn’t easy, but the payoff for your health can be huge,” said Ricca Callis, Beaufort Memorial Life Fit Wellness coach. “In order to help folks start the process, we created our Body Makeover program to provide the tools they need to take off the pounds—and keep them off.”

Designed to help participants create lifelong healthy-eating and exercise habits that will put them on track to lose weight and get fit, the program includes small-group exercise sessions with a wellness coach three times a week, nutrition counseling and special events, including cooking demonstrations and a shopping trip to the grocery store to learn how to choose foods wisely.  

As for Mitchell, he enjoyed the grocery store field trip and cooking demos that were part of the program, but the workouts were brutal.

“During those first two weeks, I wanted to quit every day I walked into the gym,” he recalls. “I felt awkward being in a room full of strangers trying to work out for the first time in 30 years.”

But the program’s small-group format provided the personal attention, accountability, structure and social support that he needed to help him meet his goals.

“To keep participants motivated, the program is set up as a friendly competition where teams earn points for attending classes and events, reducing inches, improving their fitness performance and keeping a food log,” said Callis, who designed and continues to manage the Body Makeover program at Beaufort Memorial. “It culminates with a final fitness challenge and awards banquet.”

For Mitchell, the work paid off. After the first 12 weeks, he had lost 24 pounds and seven inches from his waist. His total cholesterol had dropped from 195 to 182; his triglycerides from 235 to 130. 

“It was tough, but that’s the point,” he said. “If it’s not difficult, your body is not going to change.”

He was so thrilled with the results, he signed up for a second Body Makeover session. After a few months, he had dropped to 206 pounds and lowered his total cholesterol to 176 and his triglycerides to 91. While he had started out wearing a size 44, he got down to a 36.

Now a few years into his new lifestyle, Mitchell has maintained his weight, kept his cholesterol and triglycerides low, and even lost a few more inches. He and his wife Nancy continue to eat healthy and work out at the LifeFit gym on a regular basis.  

“I feel so much better,” says the father of three. “I’ve got grandkids now. I want to be able to play and have fun with them.”

If you’re ready for your own body makeover, the next session of Beaufort Memorial’s 12-week wellness program begins Jan. 21, with an orientation on Jan. 17. The registration deadline is Monday, Jan. 14. To learn more, visit BeaufortMemorial.org or call 843-522-5635. 

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