Creating a New Image

Fat and Forty? I Don't Think So Participants Lose Body Fat and Inches

Nancy Patchell with her friend Joan Hanson. Both live in the active adult SaddleBrooke community near Tucson, Arizona

“My middle sister was the athlete, and my baby sister was little and cute,” says Nancy Patchell, who grew up in the 1950s. Nancy was considered ‘the smart one.’ “As a child, I sat inside reading—I never played sports.  We accepted our roles and these became our personas. “

After the birth of her son, Nancy joined Weight Watchers to lose unwanted pounds. “I would go up and down weight-wise at least once a year.  She still wasn’t willing to exercise, though. “Nothing budged me from my view that I am not an athlete and no one was going to make me into one.  Many times I didn’t have the patience to stick with WW and would go for the latest fad diet.  I have tried them all.”

As Nancy aged, her unwillingness to exercise left her on the losing side of the battle-of-bulge. “I started facing pressure from doctors to lose weight for health.  When I read about the Fat and Forty Trial, I was unhappy about my looks. I even went so far as to look online to see if photographs make you look fatter than you really are.”

 I decided to give 6 months to the program to see if I could change my body, lifestyle, and attitude. Failure of the study would be my ‘proof’ that you can’t teach old dog new tricks.”

A rude awakening greeted her.  “My BMI and body fat analysis were horrifying. I had worn elastic waist pants for decades so I had no idea I was as big as I measured. “

Her re-introduction into the world of exercise wasn’t much better. “The first exercise class just about killed me in the first three minutes.” Others were keeping up and “I was having trouble breathing and every muscle in my body hurt. “

When the time came to submit diet and exercise records, drop-outs exceeded data received. Nancy stuck with it. “Having to track what I ate kept me honest.  Sure, I could make up data, but it wasn’t going to help the trial and it sure wasn’t going to help me decide if I could really ‘do it.’”

I liked that I could mix and match activities I liked and felt comfortable with.  I preferred a class setting to doing it alone; I like the camaraderie of a group. As I was able to do more, I started feeling a sense of pride in myself.”  Nancy took classes, followed exercise DVDs and walked. She discovered two new fun exercise disciplines—Nordic  Walking and Drums Alive.

Nancy’s body changed, too.  “I had to get smaller underpants—yippee—and my legs felt different when I shaved—I could feel muscles.” In just 6 months, Patchell decreased her body fat percent from 38 27 percent .

Encouragement from her husband and friends inspired Nancy.  Her friend Joan Hansen also lost body fat and inches on the Fat and Forty? I Don’t Think So program. She “gave me my first pair of non-elastic waist pants.  For the first time in my life, exercise is a part of my day.  She [Joan] and I are committed to keeping up with our programs no matter if we are in the trial or not.”

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