Michael L. Jones
You have more control over your fate than you think.
Michael Jones, PhD, MBA, RN, learned this about 7 years ago (at the age of 36) when he noticed his health spiraling downward. He weighed 215 pounds and witnessed his 59-year-old father’s stomach and colon cancer diagnosis.
At the same time, Michael was diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. When his physician told him the news, he was shocked. He knew it was time to make a change, and he made the decision instantly.
“I wanted to take control of my health to ensure that I didn’t have the same fate as my father,” said Michael.
So, he did just that. Michael adjusted his diet to be more nutritious by:
- Reducing carbs and cutting out bread altogether
- Increasing proteins
- Lowering fat
- Reducing sodium
For example, Michael’s favorite recipe is 3 ounces of salmon seasoned with a pinch of lemon pepper seasoning. He cooks the salmon in an air fryer for 20 minutes. For sides, he adds a cup of steamed baby carrots and a salad made of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and light Italian dressing.
Add in Exercise
Soon after, Michael also made the decision to become more physically active. At first, he started walking about 5 miles per day. Later, he purchased an indoor cycling bike and began riding at least 3 times a week, 10 miles each time. He still continues this cadence.
Michael also loves gardening, which helps him with both physical and mental well-being. Staying active while doing things he loves keeps him motivated to maintain this newer, healthier lifestyle.
Since Michael’s sudden decision to change his health habits, he’s seen his efforts pay off. It’s been 7 years since that fateful day of change, and since then Michael has lost 50 pounds. He’s kept the weight off and has no desire to go back to where he was — unhealthy with low-self-esteem and constant worries about his well-being.
With his physician’s approval, he was also able to get off his cholesterol medication 5 years ago. His blood pressure medication dosage was lowered. He still takes it because he has a strong family history of high blood pressure and strokes, but he’s happy that his medical situation has turned around for the better.
As a nurse, Michael understands the health and wellness challenges that medical professionals face. His advice:
- Start out small. Choose something that won’t take a lot of energy from you and gradually increase it in increments.
- Set meaningful goals. Create a plan to meet the goal and stick with it. For example, “By the end of this month I’m going to lose a certain number of pounds, and here’s how.”
- Find something to do that you love. You will stick with your healthy habits longer if you enjoy what you’re doing. Michael’s example is gardening, which keeps him active and happy.
- Have someone in your corner who’s going to motivate you. Find someone who provides good, meaningful feedback, and stay away from people who will set you back. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself falling back into the rut you started from.
Michael L. Jones, PhD, MBA, RN, is a consultant for the Tri-County Male Health and Wellness Initiative at the University of Southern Mississippi. Michael also serves as adjunct faculty in the Jackson State University School of Public Health.
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