Suzie Rickels knows her family’s health history. The list included excess weight, high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels. But it wasn’t until her mother passed away that Rickels decided it was time for a change.
“My mom had several health problems, including Type 2 diabetes.” Rickels says. “After she passed away last year, I knew if I didn’t do something about my health, I was heading in the same direction.”
At her yearly physical, Rickels’ doctor reported elevated blood sugar and blood pressure levels. It wasn’t anything serious yet, but the doctor suggested Rickels lose 10 to 15 pounds. In her search for help, she found support through a prediabetes group with UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge.
“I worked with a dietitian through the hospital. But my sister is a dietitian, too. She always says, ‘what you eat is what you’re going to crave.’ I always thought she was full of bologna. But, it’s true. I was a 100 percent white bread person. But now I crave the one I currently eat with all types of grains and seeds in it. Also, I never used to like black beans. Now, I toss a little salsa in and I must have them every week,” Rickels says.
Rickels’ program also connected her with a support group. She says talking with others gave her a new perspective.
“I liked hearing what others were going through and things they would try. I loved learning about new things for my diet. I found out about HALO ice cream – mint chocolate chip and birthday cake are the best!” Rickels say.
She also ramped up her workout routine.
“I don’t have any equipment, but I made do. I wake up every morning, seven days a week, and jog in place for at least 15 minutes. I also go to the workout room in my office three to four times per week. I usually do the elliptical or treadmill for 30 minutes. I’m still trying to work in more strength exercises,” Rickels says.
She also knows keeping her stress levels in check is key for continuing and maintaining her weight loss efforts.
“I lost my job for a while, and that was really stressful. I found myself getting up later, eating badly and sitting on my behind. Thank heavens that was only for about a month.” Rickels says.
With her support group around her, stress in check and eating under control, Rickels started losing weight. Then, she decided not to stop at 10 or 15 pounds. Now, she’s shed 56 pounds since November of 2018.
“When I go clothes shopping, I would always buy for my daughter because she’s thin and looks good in everything. I would try something on, and it was not fun. It was awful. I recently went shopping with my sister and daughter and it was so much fun. My daughter made the comment, ‘Mom, this is the best day. You haven’t had fun clothes shopping and you’re having such a good time.’ It was wonderful. Having people notice the weight loss and feeling good about myself, there’s just nothing better.”