Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Veteran Success Story – Be Physically Active
Veteran Spotlight-Be Physically Active
Kathleen Sasfy knew something had to change. She couldn’t keep up with her busy children and was often short of breath. During a 20 year career in the Marines, Kathleen was healthy and fit, and had no difficulty managing her weight. After retiring, she no longer had to worry about meeting fitness standards. She stopped exercising and focused on raising her four children. She ate whatever she wanted and would sometimes eat to cope with emotions. Kathleen gained weight. She weighed 150 pounds in the Marines, but by 2014 was almost 200 pounds. She was embarrassed of her appearance, suffered knee and back pain, and was unable to ride her horse.
Kathleen’s VA doctor told her about the VA MOVE! weight management program. She attended the MOVE! orientation class in November 2014. Kathleen says “It was an eye opener!” and made up her mind to get healthy and active again.
In January, Kathleen joined a fitness club. She had thought about joining before, but would always talk herself out of it. This time she was determined to be stronger than her excuses. She started walking on the treadmill five days a week for 20 minutes. It was hard at first, and she thought about quitting. She told herself “I just need to get through this week”. It soon got easier. She added the stationary bike and elliptical machine to her routine.
She already lost 10 pounds when she began the MOVE Level II program. In MOVE, Kathleen learned about food journaling, portion control, and eating healthier foods. She also added time and intensity to her workouts. Eventually, she was working out 2 hours a day, five times a week. “I was now enjoying it, and if I didn’t get to exercise, I actually felt a little grouchy!” Other benefits included sleeping better and less pain. The weight was coming off!
Kathleen kept up her exercise routine and healthy diet after completing MOVE! By July, she had lost 50 pounds and was back to her military weight of 149 pounds. She is confident she will reach her goal of weighing 125 pounds by sticking with her new healthier lifestyle.
Kathleen is proud of overcoming her excuses and committing to be a healthier person. She enjoys compliments from family, friends and even strangers. She no longer avoids high heels, dresses, or bathing suits. She keeps up with her children without shortness of breath. She laughs “I can even mount my horse without needing a stepstool!”
Kathleen has advice for other Veterans who are inactive and have gained weight. “The biggest thing is don’t talk yourself out of it or make excuses. It might be hard at first, but it will get easier. The MOVE! program can help you get on track and stay on track!”
To learn more about getting physically active, visit the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention website at http://www.prevention.va.gov/Healthy_Living/Be_Physically_Active.asp