Danny struggled with his weight most of his life. He tried diet fads like Southbeach Diet, 21-Day Fix, and others. Nothing worked.
At the end of 2017, Danny weighed 260 pounds. During a visit to his primary care physician (PCP), tests found high cholesterol and pre-diabetes. He felt groggy most days. His worsening health, low energy levels, and constant discomfort made his nursing job more difficult.
On top of that, Danny was about to turn the big 4-0. He had reached a breaking point: It was time for a change.
“If I keep going down this path, it’s a path of no return,” Danny thought to himself. He knew if he kept this up, he’d deal with severe medical problems all his life.
Three Steps to Begin His Life-Changing Journey
Danny calls his weight-loss story a journey because he took it one step at a time. And he was never alone — his wife, Linda, supported and joined him the entire way.
1. Food diary
Step one was starting a food diary.
“We thought, let’s measure everything and stop underestimating what we’re eating,” said Danny. “We found that every meal was double the number of calories we’d been guessing.”
The couple was shocked to learn they were eating 2,500 to 4,000 calories for dinner alone. But the problem wasn’t just that type of food was high in calories, it was the amount of food.
2. Portion control
Danny and his wife didn’t cut out certain foods right away. Instead, they measured everything they ate. They discovered that they didn’t feel full and couldn’t sustain themselves on lower amounts of unhealthy foods. This led to step three: diet change.
3. Diet change
The couple decided they needed more filling, healthier foods — often focused on fiber. Grilling lean proteins like chicken also became a staple. They still ate their favorites, like potatoes, but measured portions and replaced butter with vegetables.
They even continued to eat dessert, but only in moderation.
“We always give ourselves a little treat at the end of the day,” said Danny. “We know our bodies crave sugar, and we’ve never cut it out completely. We found options, like an 80-calorie ice cream treat, that fit.”
Danny says his Apple® Watch and MyFitnessPal® app help him track his calorie intake. He knows when he has extra calories to splurge on a treat, or when he needs to cut back.
A More Active Lifestyle
As an assistant clinical director, Danny’s job is mostly sedentary. He spends his days attending meetings and working on reports, budgets, and other paperwork — with some patient rounding sprinkled in.
After changing his diet, Danny knew he needed physical activity to burn more calories. He and his wife decided to take it slow and start with walking.
Walking turned into hiking, which became a staple in the couple’s weekly routine. Danny’s first 6-mile hike burned 1,300 calories. Getting to the top of the peak in Griffith Park and seeing the Hollywood sign beyond was not only a physical accomplishment, but a huge stress reliever.
From there, Danny’s workouts grew more aggressive. The couple started running every day, as much as 6 to 7 miles per day. The more weight they lost, the more aggressively they needed to work out to burn calories. But the weight started slipping off.
Within 6 months, Danny lost close to 83 pounds. He’s kept the weight off ever since.
Danny credits his active lifestyle, portion-controlled food plan, and support from his wife for his success. The couple still maintains their weekly hike, but now they double the hike to 12 miles and incorporate jogging.
H2: Facing the Challenges
Throughout Danny’s journey, he faced temptation and setbacks. He admits to times of wavering, but the support from his wife and coworkers always got him back on track.
Nurses face unique health and wellness challenges. As a nurse manager, Danny believes the biggest difficulties are:
- The notorious potluck. Nurses love a good potluck and bring their best-tasting (and maybe not their healthiest) food. With so much temptation, it’s easy to forget portion control and pile up your plate.
- Putting patients ahead of their own needs. Nurses are so dedicated to their patients, sometimes they forget about themselves. Danny often encourages his staff to take regular breaks.
- 12-hour shifts. At the end of a long, hard day, it’s tempting to fill up on unhealthy foods and crash on the couch. It’s a constant struggle to focus on healthy habits.
An Inspirational Journey
Today, Danny’s life-changing health is motivating others to make positive changes. His coworkers come to him for healthy living advice. He acts as a “life coach” to many of them, encouraging and cheering them on.
For example, he’s convinced a handful of coworkers to take the stairs instead of the elevator. His department is on the 6th floor, so that’s 21 to 34 flights of stairs per day.
Throughout his weight-loss journey, Danny has learned many life-changing lessons. He says:
- Anyone can do this.
- It’s OK to have a vice, just make sure it fits your daily calorie allotment.
- Don’t cut out your favorite foods like dessert or salty snacks, just practice portion control.
- No diet is perfect. Tailor it to who you are.
- Find someone to help keep you motivated and accountable.
Danny Jimenez, BSN, RN, CNRN, SCRN, is the Assistant Clinical Director of 6 East Telemetry at the Kaiser Downey Medical Center in Downey, CA.
Are you a #HealthyNurse? Would you like to be highlighted in our next #HealthyNurse Spotlight? Share your stories with us in our discussion.
Learn more about the work of our Champion partners here and become an HNHN Champion. Join us today!
Have you joined the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) Grand Challenge yet? Join us today!
Join Now - It's Free!
Join now to get immediate access to:
Log In or Join Now
- Health surveys with customized results and recommendations
- Fun and engaging monthly health challenges
- Giveaways, discounts and chances to win health-oriented gifts
- An online community to connect you to others with similar goals – share stories, gain best practices
Log In or Join Now