Human interaction key for HWJ participant

MARQUETTE – Lynn Anderson joined the Healthy Weight Journal program to understand and improve her overall health, and she recognizes that, for her, human interaction is an indispensable element in that process.

“I decided to take part in it because I kind of needed somebody at the other end waiting for me to go and exercise and (who would) coach me,” she said. “Online-type programs don’t work for me. I do much better with human interaction.”

Anderson, 62, is a native of Detroit, though she has lived in the Upper Peninsula for more than 40 years. She spent 39 of those years teaching nursing at Northern Michigan University, retiring only recently, in May.

Her career, she said, bred some bad habits with regards to her health.

“My job did not help, because I’ve been sitting on my bottom in front of the computer for many years,” she laughed. “But I do know that there are inescapable outcomes to being overweight, over time.

Anderson said her family history of diabetes was another impetus to take an active approach to her health and lifestyle.

“I really felt the need to lose some weight and get better control of it,” she said. So far she has avoided her genetic predisposition to the illness.

The Healthy Weight Journal is just what she needed to provide the structure and support she was looking for, as well as the education.

“(There are) people waiting for me there, and they expect me, and they are very encouraging and they don’t criticize if I don’t lose weight that week, so all of that is very nice,” she said.

Anderson has also benefitted from having dietitians develop a nutrition plan unique to her, and to be able to consult with them about what to eat and what to avoid.

“It’s always nice to talk to a knowledgable person about calories and how to read labels,” she said.

She said that she’s learned, for example, about “healthy snacks (and) good breakfasts,” in general discovering more options for making nutritious meals.

“All those kinds of things are very helpful,” she said, but are part of a larger strategy which includes exercise and movement. She’s learned “to eat higher protein foods and a lot less empty calories, and to try to exercise more and move more.”

Such positive lifestyle changes overall are more important to Anderson than any specific goals she has to lose weight.

“I was more concerned with learning to count calories in my head and be much more aware of that than I was, and also to incorporate routine kinds of exercise in my life and make it a habit,” she said. “I was more concerned with that actually than the weight loss.”

Anderson said that having others around to support her, and to keep her accountable for her progress, has made her concentrate all the harder toward her health goals.

“It keeps you focused, that’s for sure,” she said. “And that’s a good thing.”

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.