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Jon Jackson, Cassville

Jon's Journey to Success: Focusing on a healthier lifestyle leads to 100# weight loss

Finding my WHY and getting to the HOW.

Jon Jackson, Cassville

"I didn't know it at the time, but 2017 was going to be a year of change. A year that would set the stage for the rest of my life," explains Jon Jackson of Cassville. "At my annual physical in April last year, my doctor punched some numbers in a model (weight, age, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) and said 'you have a 10% chance of dying in the next 10 years.' This was the same thing he said the year before. My reaction was that those seemed like pretty good odds to me. He was shocked and said, "Oh no, it should be down around 3%." This stopped me in my tracks and made me take a long hard look at myself. I asked him if I was overweight and needed to see a nutritionist. He said yes you are obese and yes you should see a nutritionist."

"A new perspective became crystal clear. Thoughts of my family's history of heart disease flooded my mind. My dad, uncle and brother had heart issues at the young age of 61. I made the decision right then and there – that wasn't going to be me. My 61st birthday was fast approaching and I knew this was an opportunity to change my fate."

His WHY was to live a long, happy, healthy, and active life.

Jon enjoyed being active, loved being outdoors, kayaking, hiking, and running. He knew if he didn't change something soon – he'd have to give those up.

And so it began…my doctor highly recommended that I start nutrition consultations. Lucky for me, I learned about a local resource close to Cassville. Tracy Ackerman, Registered Dietitian at Grant Regional Health Center in Lancaster turned out to be exactly what I needed and was a lot closer than other options given to me in Beloit.

"Jon was a very dedicated participant in our program," explained Tracy Ackerman. He took every advantage of the information shared through Healthy Transformations, an individualized 8 week program that helps people lose weight, increase exercise and improve overall health and well-being. He lost 62 pounds from mid-May to mid-August during the 8 visits. His weight went from 316 pounds to 254. Jon also felt so strongly about the program that he referred his wife Jennifer to the program and a coworker who also had quite a bit of weight to lose.

Another plus, Jon also got involved in Alliant's worksite wellness initiative. He said his main interest was to motivate others who want to lose weight and serve as a real life example that anyone can do it and to let them know much better he felt physically and emotionally. "It has changed my life and was well worth it," smiled Jon.

In addition, Jon motivated a retired co-worker, 2 sisters, and 3 friends to lose weight just by serving as an example. "Believe me, if I can do it – you can do it. It only took me about 3 months to lose the weight I had gained over 30 years. I never realized how much I was eating and how it was adversely affecting me. If I can help 100 people lose 10 pounds, that's 1,000 pounds!"

Many have asked Jon HOW did he stick to it. HOW did he stay motivated? HOW did he lose all that weight? His response…

"Well, I may look like a success story. However, it was not as easy as it looks. I won't dwell on the times I didn't eat healthy…the important thing is like any sports team, if you slip up – Don't beat yourself up, you have to shake it off and start over at the basics. Don't let one bad day ruin your goal. Keep your eye on the prize and only look forward! This is a lifestyle not a diet. For me gaining weight was a little like that top drawer where you put everything that you might need some time but doesn't really have a place. Before you know it (30 years in my case), the drawer is full and you can't find anything. I decided to clean out that drawer and start over."

HOW he did it all comes right back to his WHYs. "I did it! I lost 100 pounds since April 2017!" Jon reports. There are so many reasons that support what I did. There are so many benefits of taking the extra stress of being overweight off my body.

Positive Benefits From Head to Toe:

  • Athlete's foot is gone!
  • Shoes fit better!
  • Reduced foot arch pain (planter fasciitis)!
  • I can tie my shoes without exhaling first and turning all red in the face!
  • No more swollen ankles at night (reduced salt)!
  • Knee pain is gone. Left knee is completely pain free and right knee pain is down to 1 from 8
  • I can wear my wedding ring again after 15 years!
  • Went from XXXL to XL or L shirts (46 to 38 waist pants)!
  • Even my kayaking sun hat is too big!
  • My glasses don't leave creases down the side of my face!

Other important points to mention:

  • Gone: lower back pain, high Blood Pressure Medicine, sleep machine
  • Improved: vision by 20% (pre-diabetes), self-esteem, not afraid of ID Pictures, buy clothes "off the rack"
  • My Goal: Running again, qualify for Boston Marathon this year!

Medical Testing Improvements

Body Mass Index (BMI)

  • Started @ 37 Obese (320 pounds)
  • Current @ 26.6 Overweight (220 pounds)
  • Goal @ 25 Normal (215 pounds)

Total Cholesterol

  • Decreased by 29%

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

  • Decreased 27%

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

  • Increased 29%

Triglycerides

  • Decreased 44%

Fasting Glucose

  • Decreased 15%

Grant Regional's HEALTHY TRANSFORMATIONS PROGRAM

In addition to Jon's drive and motivation to be healthier, it was essential to have the weekly accountability with Tracy's program to keep him going. He had 8 individualized consultations over a 12 week period. Tracy calculated his daily caloric goal was to stay within 2,100 – 2,200 calories per day. "She was so knowledgeable about nutrition and provided helpful insight on calorie counting. I measured, weighed and googled. It was crucial to log my food daily including everything I ate (also included logging weight, exercise, goals, etc.) During my weight loss, I would write on the log while I ate to make sure I captured everything and it forced me to eat slower giving my brain the extra time to catch up with my stomach and feeling full. One of the biggest factors that I learned in weight loss success is practicing portion control. This includes 3 meals per day with healthy servings of vegetables, fruits, proteins, starches, and dairy. She also shared the importance of exercise/stretching which isn't the end all to weight loss but helps," said Jon.

My Lifestyle Change:

Here's what worked for me!

  • Eat slowly - We need 20 minutes for our brain to catch up with our stomach
  • Eat vegetables, fruits and soft foods first to fill up
  • I write down everything associated with my eating
  • Continued to visit my doctor after weight loss for maintenance of my daily caloric goals
  • Weigh in weekly
  • Exercise!!!
  • If you eat snacks - measure your snack first (e.g., 1/4 cup of nuts versus eating from the jar)
  • Lettuce, lettuce, and more lettuce!
  • Forget about deep fried anything!
  • Go ahead and enjoy that piece of …pizza…, but write down those calories!
  • Shop for fresh vegetables and fruits….keep lots of variety on hand…and snack on those!
  • Stay away from processed food
  • Each pat of butter is 100 calories…is it really worth it?

Quotes that motivate me!

"You don't drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there." —Unknown

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon." —Doug Larson

Today Jon weighs 219 pounds – making his current weight loss just over 100 pounds! He is even upping his goals to achieve a long-term dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon – starting with a qualifying race in Green Bay on May 21st. Good Luck Jon! We'll be rooting for you!

Originally from Lancaster, Jon and his family were rooted in this small community's history. His dad, Robert Jackson, was a physician in Lancaster in the early 50's. His office was across from Walker's where Blue Boy Bakery is now. Jon's mother, Margaret (Marmie) Morse, was also born in Lancaster. His grandfather and uncle, Edward Morse Senior and Junior, had a law office on the square where Walker's is now. Jon was born in Lancaster in 1956 and lived there until he moved out of state in about 1961. He moved back to Grant County (to Cassville) in 2010 with his wife Jennifer and he now is employed as Environmental and Safety Specialist for Alliant Energy, WPL – Nelson Dewey Generating Station.

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