April Baker was a healthy, happy recreational horseback rider when her world was turned upside down. She was tossed from her horse and suffered a spinal cord injury that left her in constant pain.
April turned to food to cope with her pain. “I was heading down a very unhealthy path,” says April. “One I knew I wanted to change.” In her search for change, April found the Virtua Center for Weight Management.
The Virtua Center for Weight Management provides one-on-one counseling that teaches healthy lifestyle changes so individuals can lose weight and keep it off.
While with the Center for Weight Management, April learned the key to her weight loss: “It wasn’t just about eating right and exercising. It was about changing my mindset, so that I could achieve life-long results.”
April learned to stop using food to deal with her pain and found other creative outlets including quilting, quilling, and other hand crafts. Armed with a new mind set and healthy eating tips from the Center for Weight Management, April was able to lose 1/5 of her original self and has no intention of stopping. She will continue to apply the things she’s learned at the Center.
The top six things April has learned at the Center include:
- “I was trying to lose weight by limiting how much I ate, but I found out I wasn’t eating enough,” shares April. “When you eat too few calories, your body’s metabolism slows down and stores fat rather than burning it.”
- “I learned that I could lose weight and still go out to eat with my husband,” says April. “I look at the restaurant’s menu and nutritional information online and choose my meal before I get there. Also, I ask the chef to cook my food without using butter or substitute one fatty ingredient for a more nutritious one. They are always happy to help.”
- “I count calories,” says April. “I do that by using an iPhone app called ‘My Fitness Pal’. It’s a great tool to help me keep track of my daily calories.”
- “I bought a food scale to weigh my food,” says April. “This also helps me count calories and gives me a good perspective as to how much food to eat when my scale isn’t available. For example, at a family picnic, I know a fist-size chicken breast is about 120 calories.”
- “You need a support system,” says April. “Whether it’s a family member or friend, you need someone who’ll support and encourage you throughout this journey. The buddy system works.”
- “Keep a journal,” encourages April. “Write down when, why and how you eat. This will help you identify events or feelings that trigger you to eat. By understanding why you eat, you can get more control over your cravings.”
At age 67, April is a prime example that it’s never too late to make a change. “Never tell yourself you cannot do something.” says April. “There is always a way; you can do anything you want, you just have to believe it”.