Our Current Stories on Caring for Our People
Counting Calories Adds Up
When Bill Lennon discovered last May he could save money on his medical plan deductions just by participating in the Nordstrom Wellness Program, he had all the incentive he needed to sign up.
After participating in biometric screening and completing a personal health assessment, Bill—a senior programmer analyst at our Colorado Credit office—not only knows his numbers, he controls them. "To paraphrase one of my favorite sayings, 'The loss of 40 pounds starts with the first calorie,'" said Bill. "When I took the Personal Health Assessment online, the results were what I expected—not that great. So I decided to take action.""The Wellness Program got me thinking about my lifestyle. Now I know how to move my numbers in the right direction."
- Bill Lennon,
Bill researched various healthy eating programs online and came across the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) equation, which estimates how many calories a person would burn if he or she did nothing but rest for 24 hours. From that baseline, a person can determine how many calories are needed to maintain, lose or gain weight.
"As a math major, I love that kind of stuff," said Bill. "Last spring I was consuming about 3,000 calories a day, which was 500 calories more than I needed to maintain my weight. I determined that by consuming 2,000 calories a day, I could lose one pound per week. That could really add up after a few months."
30 in 30
Bill set a goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 weeks. He set up a spreadsheet to track his progress and bought a digital scale sensitive enough to weigh the amount of peanut butter he spread on his bread each morning. Along with his change in eating habits, Bill started hitting the treadmill at least three times a week.
"After the first week, I could see progress already being made," said Bill. "Since I was counting calories, I could eat a variety of foods and still lose weight. The key was portion control. When I occasionally splurged on a cheeseburger or candy bar, I would cut back the rest of the day. Or, I would substitute a protein bar for candy to satisfy my sweet craving."
Within six months of starting his new way of eating, Bill had lost 40 pounds. Also, Bill was able to lower his bad (LDL) cholesterol from 116 to 68 mg/dL and his blood pressure from 124/78 to 110/68, both now in the normal range.
Moving numbers in the right direction
"If you had told me six months ago that I would lose 40 pounds, I would have laughed," said Bill. "But the company's Wellness Program really did get me thinking about my day-to-day lifestyle and how unhealthy it was. Now I know exactly what it takes to move my numbers in the right direction."
What advice does Bill have for others looking to lose weight? "Keep a food journal so you have an accurate idea of what you eat during the week and how many calories you consume. Then you can look up the BMR equation and crunch the numbers. It's kind of fun. And it sure is rewarding to have your old clothes fit again!"
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