New Mexico VA Health Care System
One Veteran’s amazing weight loss
Nationwide, weight loss is estimated as a $60 billion dollar per year industry, which seems to be growing as fast as Americans’ waist lines are. It’s estimated that 69 percent of Americans are considered to be overweight or obese.
Veterans are no different; in 2015 more than three quarters of Veterans receiving care in VHA facilities were considered to be overweight or obese.
However, not all Veterans accept this new fate of theirs and take the extra steps to do what is required to shed those unwanted pounds. After spending more than 10 years significantly overweight, 69-year-old U.S. Navy and Air Force Veteran Richard Kozloski took the first step to losing weight. He sought the advice of nutritionists at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM. Through the VA’s MOVE program, Kozloski now had direction. Soon it evolved toward the TeleMOVE program the VA offers for Veterans who may not be able to make it into the hospital for weekly appointments, a home-based version of VA’s weight-management coaching system.
“Every time that I went into my doctor I was told that I needed to lose weight,” said Kozloski. “I was sick and tired of being fat. So I knew it was finally time to do something about it.”
MOVE is the largest and most comprehensive weight management program associated with a medical care system in the United States. Encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting even small weight losses can reduce health risks, prevent or reverse certain diseases, and improve quality-of-life and longevity.
After nearly one year, Kozloski lost an astounding 75 pounds and has kept it off for an additional year since. He claims the real secret to his success is the phone application he downloaded for free referred to as ChooseMyPlate.gov. It was this simple method of accounting for everything he ate in a day that kept him on track.
“I first enter how much weight I want to lose into this phone app, and then I enter how many pounds per month I want to lose,” he added. “From there the app informs you of how many calories per day you’re allowed to eat. As long as I keep accurate information in the app, I know exactly when I need to stop eating that day.”
Kozloski wanted other Veterans to know “That no matter who tells you that you need to lose weight, you’ll never lose any unless you want to lose that weight yourself. And when you do, you’ll need something to help you keep track of your progress, like this ‘choose my plate’ phone app.”
Kozloski said that what worked best for him was losing weight gradually. The program slowly reduces your calorie intake during a longer span of time, which prevents you from feeling like you are starving to death. He wasn’t interested in any of the fad diets, the low-carb stuff or starving himself. However, by lowering his calorie intake he could still eat what he wanted; he just had to reduce the quantity to smaller portion sizes.
One might think that plenty of exercise accompanied Kozloski’s weight loss, however, it really didn’t. He said that his only exercise consists of tinkering around in his garden, which he now does with a lot more energy.
For more information about the VA’s move program, start with this questionnaire, and then make an appointment with your VA Provider, or call (505) 265-1711 ext. 2662.