MARQUETTE — Paul Weber joined the Healthy Weight Journal to make what he hopes will be a lasting lifestyle change. Weber, a 65-year-old native of downstate Saginaw and a retired Lutheran pastor, was called to Marquette in 1981 to lead the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church. He fell in love with the area and has been here ever since. Over the years Weber’s weight had fluctuated, but he said he recently decided to make a commitment to address his health head-on. “What’s happened in the past is I’m going to knock some pounds off and it goes good for two, three weeks,” he said. “I think, ‘Boy, aren’t I doing well?’ and I stop.” Now retired, he hopes that the Healthy Weight Journal program can provide the structure and commitment he’s looking for. “It was one of those things in retirement, I was thinking, you know, the pounds are starting to slowly come back again,” he said. “I thought, you know what? This time I think I need some help. And I felt that a four month commitment would be very helpful for accountability, knowing there’s seven others ... that are going to go through the same thing.” For Weber it isn’t so much knowing what to eat and what not to as it is establishing a pattern and a routine for making healthy choices and sticking to an exercise regimen. “It’s not that it’s all new stuff — I think the majority of us know what we should eat and how and why — but it’s so easy to fall back on bad habits,” he said. “I thought this would be very helpful for me.” Weber has learned quite a bit from nutritionist Mary Charlebois and has been reminded of even more. “I think one thing that they’ve been very good at that’s been helpful is truly learning to read labels,” he said. “It once again reminded me of the importance of doing that. Let’s face it, if you don’t do that, you’re going to be eating bad stuff.” Weber said he’s looking forward to a chef visiting the group in December, and praised the staff at Marquette General Hospital’s Department of Nutrition and Wellness/Diabetes Education for thinking ahead to when the program ends. “They’re tying in other areas that will be helpful for us when the four months are over,” he said. Weber also emphasized the importance of having support at home. “I’ll tell you what, a blessing I have is my wife, Candy,” he said. “And she is not only very supportive of this, but very helpful.” Weber said he and his wife will work together to decide what foods they do and do not want in the house and what they plan to eat in the coming days. In doing so, he said he’s found that they’ve been shopping more frequently for less food. “In fact, we actually go to the grocery store — rather than buying for a week or two — we’ve actually been doing it every few days,” he said. So you truly are keeping on looking at what are you going to have and what’s going to work best.” Weber said one bad habit he and his wife have dispensed with is buying junk food under the pretense that it’s for when their grandchildren visit. “It’s funny how the ice cream can disappear and you really supposedly thought you were having it there for the grandkids,” he laughed. “So we don’t just get those things anymore.” Overall, Weber said his number one goal was to lose weight, but said that taking part in the program his “blood pressure is already is lower than it’s been since I can remember.” Mostly he wants to establish, as part of a change in his lifestyle, a pattern, a routine that will help him to keep the weight off. “I think it takes time to change lifestyle,” he said. “You don’t do it in two weeks, or three weeks. So I guess there’s a part of me saying it’s my hope and prayer that it’s long enough that it has become a pattern.”
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.
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