Beaufort Memorial’s Living Well Blog brings health and wellness to Lowcountry living.

Mac Mitchell's Fitness Journey

Posted by Living Well Team on Jan 3, 2017 1:55:40 PM

Losing weight isn’t easy, but the payoff for your health can be huge. Beaufort Memorial wellness programs provide adults and children with the tools they need to take off the pounds—and keep them off.

Diet and exercise. It’s the go-to strategy doctors recommend to lose weight and stay healthy. But does it really work?

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Mac Mithcell's dramatic weight loss began with the Total Body Makeover Program.

Mac Mitchell had his doubts. At 63, the Beaufort contractor had been living on a steady diet of fast food and snacks for most of his life. 

And he was well past the years when he worked in the field with his construction crew, so his job was no longer providing him with the physical activity that had kept him in shape in his 20s and 30s. “When you become the boss, mostly you’re just pointing,” he quips.

Mac knew he had packed on a few extra pounds, but he didn’t realize just how far he had let himself go until his wife, Nancy, signed the couple up for the Total Body Makeover program at the Beaufort Memorial LifeFit Wellness Center. “I was shocked to learn I was 261 pounds,” says the 6-foot-1 Lowcountry resident. Worse than that, an analysis of his health at the beginning of the program revealed his blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels were all high. And just one lap around the wellness center’s track—one-twentieth of a mile—left him breathless. “I couldn’t even do a pushup,” Mac says. “I was a train wreck.” 

Designed to help participants trim down and tone up, the comprehensive weight loss and fitness program blends nutrition counseling with three-day-a-week small group exercise sessions led by a wellness coach. Mac enjoyed the grocery store field trip and cooking demos, but found the workouts brutal. “During those first two weeks, I wanted to quit every day I walked into the gym,” he recalls. “I felt awkward being in a roomful of strangers trying to work out for the first time in 30 years.”

To learn proper form and get himself up to speed, Mac signed up for personal training sessions twice a week with his wellness coach, Christina Hardy. “It’s tough, but that’s the point,” Christina says. “If it’s not difficult, your body is not going to change.” The work paid off. After 12 weeks, Mitchell had lost 24 pounds and seven inches from his waist. His total cholesterol had dropped from 195 to 182, and his triglycerides from 235 to 130—lowering both numbers is shown to decrease risk of heart disease. 

Mac was so thrilled with the results that he signed up for a second Total Body Makeover session and now continues to work out at the LifeFit gym five days a week with Nancy. Eight months into his new lifestyle, he had dropped to 206 pounds and lowered his total cholesterol to 176 and his triglycerides to 91. “I started out wearing a size 44 and I’m close to a 36 now,” says the father of three. “I feel so much better. I’ve got grandkids now. I want to be able to play and have fun with them.” 

If you want to start 2017 off on the right track, Beaufort Memorial’s 12-week wellness program can help you get fit and—most important—create lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits. To keep participants motivated, the program is set up as a friendly competition in which teams earn points for attending classes and events, reducing inches, improving their fitness performance and keeping a food log. It culminates with a final fitness challenge and awards banquet.

If you’re interested, don't delay! Registration deadline is Tuesday, January 10. To learn more, call 843-522-5635.