Kevin Hannah offers a living example that a person does not need to spend a lot of money or pay for a gym membership to lose significant weight and improve their health.
The Muskogee resident weighs in at about 200 pounds. But a year ago he tipped the scale at 310 pounds, and his doctor was on the verge of prescribing medications to fight diabetes.
The turnaround was simple, but it took dedication and a change of mindset, Hannah said.
“I stopped turning food into an event and now look at it strictly as a bodily function — I see food as nutrition and something that is needed to sustain life,” he said. “It’s all about portion control with no calorie counting.”
Subtle changes in lifestyle made the difference, and Hannah is a strong advocate of taking the road all too often less traveled in transforming one’s life in the direction of better health. A free public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cherokee Nation Three Rivers Health Center, 1001 S. 41st St. E.
Registered and licensed dietician Jennifer Newton is hosting the session. While the information session is being held at the Cherokee Nation facility, it is not connected with the facility.
“We’ll be providing information on services provided locally and information on how to get in touch with dietitians,” Newton said. “We’ll also have handouts and information people can take with them.”
She said there is no pressure or urging of people to sign up for anything.
“We’ll look at medical nutrition therapy and let people know they can make small, realistic changes that make a big difference in their lives,” Newton said. “We can give people guidelines, but it’s up to them to follow them — we try to encourage people to understand why they’re important and how they can make them work in their lives.”
Newton said there is no single best practice for losing weight and improving a person’s health. That is why dietitians like to work with clients on a one-on-one basis.
“Everyone is different, we look at the individual and work with them,” she said. “We provide encouragement and serve as a kind of cheerleader.”
Losing weight and getting a person’s life to a stage they consider healthy is an ongoing process.
“A lot of people feel like it all has to happen all right now, but every little bit of improvement makes a difference,” Newton said. “Like everything else in a person’s life, you’ve got to have balance.”
She has been a dietitian for about 13 years and said she has had personal experience in reaching a healthy balance.
“I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 12,” Newton said.
But her efforts and then seeing positive results has made her passionate about helping others.
Newton said Hannah’s story is a good example of the difference a willingness to change can make in a person’s life. But his change from being extremely overweight and on the verge of being diabetic did not happen overnight.
In fact, when his physician first urged him to meet with a dietitian, Hannah listened but did not act.
“He came in because his doctor recommended it, but he didn’t really want to,” Newton said. “For about a year he didn’t do anything.”
Hannah admits he was reluctant. But life changing chronic kidney problems and being placed on disability captured his attention in a big way.
“My A1c level was off the chart,” Hannah said. “He wanted to put me on medication that day — that got my attention.”
The A1C test is a blood test used to measure the average level of glucose in the blood over the last two to three months. This test is used to check how well blood sugar levels are being controlled used in the diagnosis of diabetes.
Hannah visited Newton again and, with a new desire to turn around his destiny as being an overweight diabetic for the rest of his life, he had the will to take the initiative to strive for self improvement.
Over the past year he has dropped his pants waist size from about a 48 to 50 waist to size 34.
It was at his urging that Newton decided to organize Tuesday’s public meeting to help get information out there and plant the seed that if Hannah can do it, so can others.
He plans to be at the meeting to share his personal story and answer questions about his personal travels toward a healthier lifestyle.
Session focuses on healthy weight loss | News