No More Excuses: Teresa Blalock’s Weight Loss Journey
Siskin Hospital's "No Excuses" Bariatric Fitness Program
As tears filled her eyes, Teresa Blalock described what it was like to finally be able to play with her three-year-old granddaughter.
“I could actually play with her on the playground . . . I could push her in the swing and catch her as she slid down the slide
. . . Nana can really PLAY now!”
For Teresa, being active is a new way of life - something previously unattainable. She struggled with simple things such as walking, bending, and other general activities. These activities had become increasingly insurmountable obstacles as Teresa battled her weight for many years. It was finally time for a change.
Her doctor recommended joining the “No Excuses” Bariatric Fitness Program at Siskin Hospital's Health & Fitness Center prior to having Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery.
Tina Nolan, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology, leads the “No Excuses” program at the Health & Fitness Center. She says that the program's mission is to meet the challenges of obese patients who wish to learn effective exercise without stress on the back, hips, or knees. Participants are also educated on the metabolic aspect of weight loss. The entire program is designed for those planning to undergo or have already had bariatric weight loss surgery.
“This program provides guidance at all stages of a client's weight loss journey," says Tina. "We focus on each individual, learning to overcome any challenges while finding positive ways to encourage safe and efficient exercise.”
In September 2013, Teresa’s life change began when she shuffled into the Health & Fitness Center and made herself start the program.
“I didn’t know what to expect. Fitness centers are usually for muscle building, not for people like me," says Teresa. "But I loved it here. I am so glad I came in because there were so many people my age who were at my fitness level.
“I work with Tina and she’s been a godsend to me. She helped me safely push my limits. I started out just trying to run 10 steps and Tina helped me learn to gradually progress. She’s been more like an encouraging mentor, teaching me about protein and ways to fight hunger, and to live healthier with the choices I make.”
As part of the Bariatric Fitness Program, participants are taught to look at the whole picture.
“This becomes a new way of life. Eating correctly and exercising is part of every day," says Tina. "I find joy in preparing someone physically and mentally to exercise each time they are at the Health & Fitness Center. By helping participants feel comfortable and welcome, we are able to build a relationship and set realistic goals.”
“Initially, I didn’t have much confidence," says Teresa. "But once I began working with Tina, I had no doubt that I could do it and meet my goals.”
In January 2014, Teresa underwent weight loss surgery. She says that surgery is a great tool to set your weight, but it is not a cure-all.
“Exercise is a life-changer,” says Teresa. “I would recommend doing this -100 percent!”
When describing future goals, Teresa says she prays for her life to be like a marathon. It’s not something that happens overnight, but rather something she can work for every day.
“I can see so many changes. I could barely walk in and out of the building, and now I practically run!”
“Seeing the progress that Teresa has made is remarkable. She’s an inspiration and has changed her entire life because of the dedication she has shown," says Tina. "She attends support groups and education classes, taking advantage of the opportunities available to support her through this transformation to a healthy lifestyle. I am so very proud of her!”
Teresa is looking forward to many more play dates with her granddaughter.
Teresa encourages everyone to "Just Do It! - You can have an excuse, every day, but I tell myself I am just gonna do it."
(Exerpt from the Siskin Hospital Spirit Newsletter, Spring 2014)