Navy Veteran James Perino joined VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System's MOVE! program three years ago.
"I wanted to walk better and feel better," says the Veteran, who has been dealing with a bone condition in his feet for 30 years. MOVE! — a free VA weight-management program for Veterans — helped Perino achieve his goals.
Perino knew that losing weight would decrease pressure on his feet. He has successfully gone from 212 pounds to 179 pounds. He admits that it is an ongoing struggle to keep the weight off. He believes the key is "mind over matter." Losing weight is easy, he says, but "keeping it off is a trick."
To keep the pounds off, Perino rides his stationary bike for 26 minutes each morning. In the evening, he stretches and tones to a MOVE! exercise DVD. Perino also attends the MOVE! monthly support group and participates in our new weekly tai chi class.
While Perino and his wife eat three balanced meals each day, he says that exercise is critical. He has seen the pounds creep up again when temporarily forced to forgo exercise for health reasons.
A typical day for Perino includes coffee and a bowl of oatmeal mixed with flaxseed, a few raisins, some cinnamon and organic skim milk. A lunch favorite is a baked sweet potato filled with kidney beans and coated with melted low fat cheese. For supper, Perino enjoys fish and steamed vegetables.
The Veteran rarely eats starches at dinner, only has red meat twice monthly and tries to avoid post-supper snacking, though he occasionally indulges in a piece of dark chocolate. He drinks water with meals.
The secret to his success lies in his advice to others: "It is a setup if you think you will go back to your old ways after a few weeks or months. You need to put it in your mind that this is permanent. This is a lifestyle. There is no going back if you want to feel your best."
VAPHS also encourages Veterans' family members
to get involved in MOVE! programs to promote family well-being.
Check out the MOVE! webpage for the latest fitness news and tips.