Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Mike's Success Story
Meet Michael Fox of Edina Missouri. In 2005, this Vietnam Navy Veteran knew things had to change. He had just retired from his 30 year job with the highway department when he was diagnosed with cancer. Mike was overweight and in poor health. He had some unhealthy habits and was now facing the possibility of a shortened life. Mike wanted something better. He overcame a problem with alcohol and became active in his health care. He started to volunteer, helping others with drinking problems. He began to like himself again. He said, "If I wanted a better quality life, it was up to me."
A year ago, Mike decided to do something about his weight. He was too heavy and out of shape to ride his new bike. His wife of 40 years was always a healthy eater, but Mike still ate like he was a young hard-working country boy. His VA doctor asked him to meet with a VA dietitian. He was told his portions were too large for the little activity he was getting. He did not believe it until he attended a MOVE! Weight Management Class. He kept a food diary for one week and it was an eye-opener for Mike. He says, “I was flabbergasted at how much I was overeating. I wasn’t aware I was a terrible snacker.” He was now motivated to learn healthier eating habits. He continued to track his food choices and portions. Meat and potatoes were no longer the focus of every meal. He ate more fish (baked, broiled or grilled) and added more vegetables to his meals. He still enjoys meat and potatoes, but not as often and he now eats sensible portions. Mike now chooses healthier snacks.
Mike has lost 15 pounds since last September. However, he is more excited about how much better he feels. He has more energy. His blood pressure is improving and he enjoys compliments from his wife and family about his improved appearance and outlook. His advice to Veterans concerned about their weight and health is to “keep a positive attitude and believe it is possible” to make healthy changes. He suggests making small healthy eating changes on a weekly basis until they become a way of life.
Mike plans to stay active and stick with his new healthy eating lifestyle. He has a goal to ride his bike across Missouri on the Katy Trail. He wants other Veterans to know, “If old Fox can do it, anybody can do it!”
Veterans who are interested in healthier eating are encouraged to discuss their options with their primary care provider. Read more on healthy eating.
Brought to you by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program