Pam Cook started exercising to beat a family history of heart disease and diabetes. As a bonus, she lost 35 pounds—and she has never looked better or felt better in her life.
But that wasn’t the case just 2 years ago, when Pam carried 145 pounds on her 5-foot frame. She found out that her cholesterol had reached 285, well above the recommended maximum of 200. Worse, her triglycerides—a type of blood fat implicated in heart disease—were 94 points higher than they should have been.
Pam’s doctor warned her that if she didn’t boost her activity level, she could expect to follow in the footsteps of many of her family members, who have histories of heart disease and diabetes. When Pam confided that she hated to exercise, her doctor suggested that she start walking.
“The first day, I started off slow and didn’t go very far,” she recalls. “But every day, I went a little bit faster and a little bit farther.” Soon, she was taking brisk walks every morning and evening. Now, she walks 4 to 6 miles every day around her hometown of Fisher, Illinois.
Pam also made some changes in her eating habits, too. “I had talked to my sister-in-law about my cholesterol problem, and soon after, she surprised me with a copy of The Fat-Free Living Super Cookbook by Jyl Steinback,” Pam says. “I used that book as a guide to eliminating all the fat from my meals. The dessert recipes are especially wonderful.”
The results have been amazing. Pam’s cholesterol level has fallen to a very acceptable 191, and her triglycerides have dropped 30 points below the recommended maximum. “My doctor was thrilled,” Pam, now 47, says. But those aren’t the only numbers that pleased Pam. She’s now 35 pounds lighter, thanks to her walking workouts. “I went from a size 12 to a 6,” she says. “It’s really nice because I got a whole new wardrobe for my efforts!”
Do it for your health’s sake. Maybe slimming down for appearance’s sake isn’t enough of a motivator for you. So do it for your health instead. Research has shown that for someone who is overweight, even a modest amount of weight loss—on the order of 10 to 14 pounds—can lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, protect against back and joint pain, boost energy, and improve sleep.