Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic regularly treats patients who experience hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases associated with excess weight. Despite the recommendation to lose weight for disease management and better health outcomes, the process of adapting to a new lifestyle and diet can be challenging for adults. Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult, particularly while working long hours or care taking for children and infirm family members. After learning that her own blood pressure was borderline for health complications, BIFMC’s Clinic Administrative Coordinator, Mecca Hayes, decided to make a lifestyle and diet change for herself: and saw profound results.
Learn more about Mecca’s weight loss journey, and how she was able to adapt to – and stick with – a healthier lifestyle plan that benefitted her and her family.
BIFMC: You recently decided to lose weight. What made you decide to change your lifestyle in order to lose the weight? Were you experiencing any health issues?
MH: My decision to change my lifestyle in order to lose weight was based on personal concerns, and a recommendation by my physician as an alternative to starting blood pressure meds. I did not have any other health concerns and wanted it to stay that way at all cost.
BIFMC: What steps did you incorporate into your daily routine to lose the weight? Did you work out, consume fewer calories, or eat different foods?
MH: The steps I incorporated for weight loss was portion control of all meals by limiting what I was eating (ex. starches, carbs, sugars), monitoring how much I was eating, and how often. In addition, I chose to stop eating any later than 6pm.
BIFMC: How much weight did you lose, and how long did it take you to achieve it?
MH: I lost 28 lbs in six months. However, it has been 3 months since I met my goal – and I have still manage to maintain my weight.
BIFMC: Was it difficult to change your eating habits, or did you get used to it right away?
MH: It took at least 4 to 6 weeks to change my eating habits. This was mostly due to caffeine and sugar withdrawals. So be prepared for headaches and fatigue at first, but know it will subside in time!
BIFMC: What was the hardest part about sticking to your new lifestyle diet?
MH: The hardest part about sticking with my new lifestyle was separately preparing meals from my kids, and finding alternative when eating out with family and friends.
BIFMC: How has your health changed? Do you notice a difference in how you feel, either physically or mentally?
MH: My health is much better, as my blood pressure is 25 points lower, and my BMI now falls closer in range for my gender and age. I also have much more energy and increase mobility.
BIFMC: You are a busy working mother. Was changing your diet (rather than finding time to make it to a gym) a good decision for you? Do you incorporate any physical activities into you routine that you would recommend for those who may not always have the time to work out?
MH: As a busy mother, changing my diet was much more appropriate for my schedule and daily routine rather than going to the gym. My physical activities included minimal walking and tracking my steps with a Fitbit. I recommend some type of tracking device to have as a motivator.
BIFMC: Losing weight is difficult. What advice would you give others who hope to drop some weight – and maintain their weight loss?
MH: Since losing weight can be challenging, my advice would be to know your limits and set goals. Do not be afraid to make changes and necessary adjustments. Always remember that losing weight is a continual process and journey that will ultimately have a great impact on your health and overall life.
Readers: Have you achieved weight loss and managed to keep it off? What adjustments have worked for you? We would love to share your health lifestyle adaptations. Submit a comment via our contact page.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 200 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw or James Islands. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.