As financial administrator for the North Georgia Health District based in Dalton, Steve Tonya (pictured below) is used to keeping track of accounts. But it wasn’t until he took account of his own personal health inventory that he realized it was time to invest in a new plan for a healthier lifestyle – an investment that has paid off well as we mark the importance of Men’s Health Month in June.
“I had elevated blood pressure and my weight was the highest it had ever been,” Steve said. “Plus, I had knee problems when playing tennis and I suffered from sleep apnea. But now that I’ve dropped 50 pounds and am consistently physically active, I no longer wear a knee brace or have any sleep issues. Most importantly, my blood pressure is at a normal level for the first time in years.”
Patience and perseverance is what it took for Steve to be successful. Realizing that sustained weight loss does not happen overnight, he knew that a healthy meal plan and physical activity throughout each week would be crucial toward not only becoming healthier, but would also help him maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“If there has been one key component to successful weight loss for me, it has been keeping track of everything I eat,” Steve said, noting that the Weight Watchers program has worked best for him.
“Not only am I able to record everything I eat each meal, but I frequently go online to view many of the success stories there, and it keeps me motivated.”
Being a ‘numbers man,’ it took Steve seeing the high amounts of calories, sugar, carbohydrates and other data listed in the nutritional charts of many of the products he consumed to fully understand how negatively these choices were impacting his health. So, he began eating more fruits, vegetables, fish and lean meat and less starch.
His fitness routine began with a workout video from Tony Horton called Beach Body.
“The video helped me focus on core exercises to build strength and endurance,” Steve explained. “The more basic I’ve kept the routines, the better chance I have had of keeping a consistent schedule.”
His exercise regimen has now evolved into three 10-minute routines each day of stair stepping and three basic core exercises that include sit-ups, push-ups and squats. These routines make it easy for Steve to take advantage of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) physical activity policy, which allows all employees to take a 30-minute break from their jobs each day to be physically active.
Financially speaking, Steve appreciates that his healthier lifestyle is cost-effective.
“Not only am I avoiding more expensive medical costs later on down the road due to my healthier lifestyle, but I don’t spend money on a gym or find time to go to the YMCA,” said Steve. “I simply walk around the block or drop down and do 20 push-ups anytime.”