GJ man says no ‘magic’ to his weight loss

Special to the Sentinel—Scott Martin of Grand Junction sits on a boulder with his two dogs, Wiggley and Sammi, recently. The 55-year-old decided in January he needed to lose some of the 283 pounds he had reached when the photo, below, of him and Sammi was taken last year. Today, Martin weighs 165 pounds.

The red light never went off for Scott Martin.

Not when he struggled through back surgeries and muscle strains. Not when he was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. Not even when he nearly had a heart attack and got two stents put in his arteries at St. Mary’s Hospital.

A lack of activity combined with his appetite for cooking Paula Dean- and Emeril Lagasse-inspired treats helped Martin, once an avid outdoorsman, gradually pack on the pounds in his 40s and 50s. The 55-year-old Grand Junction resident continued his lifestyle even after a series of health scares and ended up tipping the scales at 283 pounds at the start of this year. His weight gain and declining health happened so incrementally, he said he never had an official “aha” moment when he realized his weight-related health problems were becoming dire.

Instead, he saw a green light to give diet and exercise a try on Jan. 12, when he had his first meeting with Vanessa Carter, a dietitian and diabetes educator at Primary Care Partners. He met with Carter to meet an insurance requirement for weight loss surgery, which he was considering at the time. After discussing weight loss with Carter, though, he decided he would attempt to shed pounds on his own, just to see if he could get off of some of his medications for diabetes and other conditions.

Nearly nine months later, Martin has met that goal and far surpassed it. He shed 118 pounds through a restricted-calorie diet and walking. He started with a net caloric intake of 2,200 calories a day and worked his way down to a net 1,200 calories each day and walks four or five 15-minute miles each week, up from a starting point of three miles a week at a pace of 20 minutes per mile.

“To say there’s something magical or out-of-the-ordinary about what I’ve done isn’t true,” Martin said. “The only thing I’ve done that other people maybe don’t do is I was brutally honest about what I ate and how much I exercised.”

Martin said he tracked his diet and exercise on an iPhone app called My Fitness Pal. He also met with Carter in February, April, June and August to discuss his workout and eating habits and what challenges or barriers he faced in his weight loss journey.

While many clients come up with a plethora of barriers, real or perceived, to sticking to weight loss goals, Carter said Martin rarely made excuses.

“Until the patient’s truly ready to make changes, I don’t think it’s going to work. I saw him at the right time,” Carter said.

Carter admits temptations are everywhere in a society with easy-to-access food and plenty of advertising for cheap, fatty eats. She is impressed with Martin’s willpower and predicts he’ll stick with his new, healthier choices.

“He’s completely changed his life and I’m so excited for him,” Carter said.

Martin said his motivations to stay thin include his improved health and access to more activities. He enjoys fishing, hiking and camping more now that he can move more freely and said he may ask Powderhorn Ski Resort if he can do some ski instructing there this winter. He also plans to continue meeting quarterly with Carter for weight checks and to discuss maintaining his new weight of 165 pounds.

Because of his history of weight gain, Martin said he will try to keep his calories down to a net gain of 1,750 calories each day so he doesn’t gain weight as he begins to eat more. A self-described “meat and potatoes” guy, Martin said he has learned to eat more filling foods with fewer calories.

“I love ribeye steaks. But I’ve trained myself to be willing to trade one for a chicken by telling myself if I eat chicken I’ll probably live longer,” he said.


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