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August 27, 2014
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Health Journeys: Healthy eating, cycling pay off for Roseburg man

Meet Tim Beaty. Tim and his wife Shana have two boys, Jacob and Joshua, and two daughters, Natalie and Claudia. Tim spent almost 20 years working in healthcare until an allergy sidelined him. Luckily for both Tim and our community, an opportunity to become an agent and own and operate his own insurance office presented itself. Tim has been the owner of American Family Insurance in Roseburg for the past six years. He’s very involved in the community and when he’s not working, riding his bike, or spending time with his family, he’s busy volunteering and giving back to support community initiatives.

Was there something pivotal that pushed you to take steps to be healthier?

My doctor. At my yearly physical, he pretty much told me I needed to lose 75 pounds. At the time, my lab work showed that my overall cholesterol was high, my good cholesterol was terrible and I had joint pain and sleep apnea. He was pretty direct and said it was up to me, but I either needed to lose weight or start taking several medications. I chose weight loss.

You lost 75 pounds, how did you manage that?

I changed the way I ate and started to exercise. While it was difficult, it was not that complicated. I asked myself how I was going to lose the weight and started there. I knew that my food plan needed to be realistic. We have a family of six, so we have a food budget that I needed to stay within, which meant buying regular food, from a regular store. I also realized right away, that I was eating way too many calories for a person my size and level of activity. So I figured out how many calories I really needed, which was about 1800, and reduced my calorie intake to that level. One of the key things I started doing was juicing. I found a juicer on Craigslist and every Sunday I make up a gallon of juice for the week. My juice generally includes a variety of vegetables like kale, spinach, cucumbers and celery, along with green apples. I drink two 16 oz glasses a day and have found that my energy has increased and I don’t crave sweets. Again, I didn’t go out and buy a $100 plus juicing appliance, I looked around until I found a good deal. You’d be surprised at what is just sitting in someone else’s garage.

Then I added in exercise. A gym membership wasn’t in our budget either, and really I don’t like going to the gym anyway, so I had to find an exercise that fit my life and one that I would enjoy. I didn’t exercise much as a kid, so I was having trouble imagining what exercise I would like to do, then realized growing up I had liked riding my bike. So I bought a cheap bike and started riding. I ride in regular clothes too. A t-shirt and shorts. I didn’t go out and buy special biking clothes. When I started I didn’t ride a lot of miles or go very fast, just road on the bike path for an hour. I still try to ride for an hour most days and work on getting my heart rate up during my ride. I ride right after work, which works for me and my family.

Who cooks in your family?

I do. I also do the majority of the grocery shopping, which has made some of the food changes I’ve done a little easier.

Do you have any tips for healthy eating?

Don’t buy pre-made, high-cost snacks. Don’t eat fake food. Don’t eat food with ingredients you don’t recognize. Buy in bulk. To save money, make a menu every week and then shop to your menu. Having a plan for meals is helpful and can take some of the stress out of dinnertime. It also helps prevent overbuying of groceries that might end up being thrown out. I would also encourage people to learn about the different values of food, not just the cost, but also the nutritional value. For instance, red meat is not only more expensive than some other foods, it’s dense in calories, which means that it takes a bigger share of your daily calories. On the other hand, white fish is not as calorie dense, so it takes fewer of your daily calories.

Other healthy advice?

Sometimes I find that my advice makes people mad, but you really can take a common sense approach to improving your health. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money to stay healthy or fit. I don’t buy or take vitamins. I’m proof that you really can lose weight by buying regular food from a regular grocery store. You don’t need to join a gym. You can find an exercise that doesn’t require you to invest a lot of money, or buy special clothes or equipment. Be thrifty and buy used when you can. Look at Craigslist or ask your friends and family members if they have a kitchen appliance or bike or other equipment you can use, buy or have. If you have the time and inclination, grow a vegetable garden and learn to cook and can. You will save money and also know more about the food you are eating. Do some research and find out what your calorie intake should be and then start working towards that number.

How can your plan work for someone else?

It’s pretty much common sense, but that doesn’t make it easy. Start with making a list of things you like to eat and things you like to do. Also list things that might trip you up, like maybe you work a lot of hours every week and that’s why you hit the drive through regularly. Then set a goal and make a plan. Be honest with yourself. You may have to tell yourself that you may not be able to eat some foods or do that behavior anymore. Start by making small changes that help you move closer to your goal. Going cold turkey isn’t going to do it for most people in the long run. Also, do your homework. Find out what your calorie intake should be and then start making food changes that get you headed towards that number. There are a lot of great sources for information easily available where you can learn tips or skills that will help you. I like YouTube, which has great instructional videos. Ultimately, it really comes down to you. You taking care of you.

What are you reading right now?

Pretty much anything instructional or educational. I enjoy learning.

Kathleen Nickel is the director of communications for Mercy Medical Center. An avid walker, Nickel has completed a number of half marathons over the years and can typically be seen on a Saturday morning with a group of friends doing a quick six miles along one of the many bike paths in Roseburg. She can be reached at KathleenNickel@chiwest.com.

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The News-Review Updated Aug 29, 2014 11:43AM Published Aug 29, 2014 08:45AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.