Volunteer, Husband, Family Cook and 60 Pounds Lighter After Nutrition Counseling
“My nutrition counselor taught me the right way to eat . . . She put everything in very simple terms and took the time to make sure I understood.”
From Beef to Buffalo Randy Neitzel Finds a Healthier Diet in Simple Food Alternatives
Randy Neitzel of Edmore knows you’re never too old to learn something new. After seeking nutrition counseling, he learned an entirely new way of eating that may have saved his life.
Last June, routine blood tests indicated that Randy’s cholesterol and blood glucose levels were high. “My doctor told me if I didn’t do something I would develop diabetes,” he said. His doctor’s warning spurred him to seek help from a nutrition counselor at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot.
Randy said his counselor was an excellent instructor. “She explained things in a way I could understand. She put everything in very simple terms and took the time to make sure I understood,” he said. After an initial face-to-face meeting, they followed up with email and telephone sessions.
An early -- and valuable -- lesson learned was portion control. “That really hit home,” Randy said. “For several weeks I wrote down everything I ate and drank. It made a world of difference when I realized how much I was eating.” Before starting his healthy-eating plan, he would eat two big cheeseburgers at a meal. “Now, I eat eight ounces of meat for the entire day.”
He also learned to make better food choices. “We eat more fresh fruit and veggies. We also eat a lot of fish and buffalo, which is a leaner meat than beef,” Randy said. “I read labels, too. It’s unbelievable how much sugar and salt are in some foods.”
At first, Randy thought changing eating habits would be a problem because he loves to cook. As it turns out, he also enjoys gathering new ideas and healthy tips and incorporating them into his cooking style. He has mastered the art of substitution; he now uses soy cheese instead of milk cheese and uses broccoli coleslaw instead of spaghetti. Randy and his wife, Cindy, frequently shop at a farmer’s market for fresh produce.
He admits it took a few weeks to adjust to the new eating plan. “Initially I was dissatisfied with my food compared to what I had been eating, but I stuck to it. The threat of developing diabetes scared me,” Randy said. He pointed out that his preference for food changed, too. “One day, someone gave me a little snack cake and it tasted terrible – I no longer have a desire to eat them.”
Randy’s efforts paid off; he is 60 pounds lighter and his health has dramatically improved. He takes fewer medications, his cholesterol dropped from more than 300 to 141 and his blood glucose levels are now in the normal range. “Simple food substitutions can go a long way in maintaining a healthy diet,” says Adrianne Scates, R.D., C.N.S.C. at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. “Educating yourself on food and nutrition is the first step.”
For Randy, the best news of all is that he is beating the threat of diabetes. He is happy to share credit. “My nutrition counselor taught me the right way to eat,” he said. “I really appreciate her help.”
Experienced, registered dietitians are available for one-on-one counseling at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot. For more information call (989) 466-3378 or (989) 466-3244. Participants learn about healthy eating habits and behavior change, nutrient content of foods, food preparation techniques, grocery shopping, food labels and eating out. Counseling can also be tailored for special dietary concerns such as diabetes, high cholesterol, food allergies, pregnancy, bariatric surgery and more.
To learn about other weight-loss programs and services available through MidMichigan Health visit www.midmichigan.org/weightloss.