For Physical Therapy Assistant Cari Ossman, a hug provided the impetus for the first step down the road to a healthier lifestyle. In January 2011, her then three-yearold daughter tried to hug Ossman but could not get her arms around her mother.
It was a defining moment for Ossman, who realized it wasn’t fair to her daughter and her husband for her to not be healthy. Tipping the scales at 212, the 5’6 Ossman could not share the simple joys of motherhood. She chugged for breath when trying to ride a bicycle or play outside with her daughter.
“As a mom, I value every moment that I spend with my child. I asked myself, ‘why would I want to take myself out of my daughter’s life?’” Ossman said.
Ossman began a diet and fitness routine that helped her trim 70 pounds in just over 15 months. She joined Weight Watchers online and began tracking the points for everything she ate. She adopted new food rules such as eating more carbohydrates in the morning and fewer in the evening. Ossman found that drinking hot fluids such as tea helped suppress her appetite. She began snacking on bananas which provided significant potassium but no points to her Weight Watchers scorecard. For breakfast, she ate English Muffins and fruit such as strawberry, cantaloupes, or bananas. For lunch, she consumed low fat yogurt with a high fiber tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes and lean turkey slices. Dinner typically included four or five ounces of protein (steak, chicken or turkey), plus vegetables and a large salad. Ossman also allowed for one day a week to cheat on her diet.
“I found that giving myself one day a week to eat whatever I wanted helped me to stay faithful to my diet long term,” said Ossman.
She also began a workout routine that included 45 to 60 minutes of exercise four to five days per week. For two days a week, she attended a Zumba class which combined dance and high intensity aerobics. For the other two to three days per week, Ossman ran at her local gym. She even incorporated exercise into her daily lunch break, taking time to walk outdoors or on a treadmill during the winter months.
“Fitness became a priority for me. I even worked out during our family vacation in Mexico. For my daughter, for my husband, for myself, my health has become very important to me and I plan to make it a lifetime change,” said Ossman. The one thing to remember is that a diet is 80% good and 20 % bad, you will have bad days and the only thing next to do is get right back on track. Weight Watchers is a diet that teaches you how to change your way of eating, but still enjoy all you favorite foods.