Health Team

UNC Hospitals staff participate in weight-loss challenge

Posted August 25, 2010

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— When a person enters the UNC Hospitals Stroke Center, the first thing they see is a poster about stroke symptoms and causes - plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to clots that could break off and block blood and oxygen to the brain.

The poster inspired staff to get serious about a hospital-wide weight loss challenge.

“We did it for 12 weeks, so that's a long time to keep up that change,” UNC nurse Sonya Lester said. “One of the reasons why we did it for 12 weeks was to make it a habit.”

Lester was especially inspired by fellow nurse Derrick Brown.

“He came in every day rubbing it all in our faces how much weight he lost,” she said.

“Everyone was against me, so, of course, I had to represent,” said Brown, a former Marine.

Brown, who shed 24 pounds, lost more weight, but Lester lost a larger percentage of her total body fat.

Now, they believe they can help patients and visitors do more to help prevent strokes.

“We're telling them how to do it rather than just telling them they need to do it,” Lester said.

UNC Hospitals staff participate in weight-loss challenge UNC Hospitals staff have weight-loss challenge

Brown said he lost weight by having five servings of vegetables and eight glasses of water a day. “Once I started doing that, I wasn’t hungry for anything else,” he said.

Brown also got regular exercise, often in the hospital’s gym.

Lester said lunches were a challenge because they only have 30 minutes to eat.

“If you go up to the cafeteria and end up getting what's fast – that's something usually that's unhealthy,” she said.

So, Lester usually packed a healthy lunch from home.

The stroke ward staff members at UNC are continuing their weight loss challenge.


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  • blueridge Sep 1, 2010

    Thank you omzzig. Sounds like you had success with your deit plan! Keep it going.
    Which granola bars do you eat that do not have so much sugar and carbs? Once this extreme heat goes away, I will be able to walk about 2 miles 4-5 times wkly.

  • omzzig2 Aug 31, 2010

    Cut out ALL sugar. No sweet tea, soft drinks, chocolate, anything with sugar in it. Fruit is okay. Breakfast: Oatmeal, Grits, Granola Bars, etc. Lunch: Fruit, Salad, Turkey Sandwich (wheat bread), etc. Dinner: What ever you want. If meat be sure to broil it to get the fat out of it. Low Carb Diet. Exercise if you want to. You don't have to. I lost 45 pounds on this diet, with no exercise. It's okay to have an ocassional Slim Fast or other drinks like that. Don't let that be the only thing in your diet. Reason being, they slow down your metabolism and the first time you eat a substantial meal it becomes fat and will make you gain weight because your metabolism has slowed down too much for it to process that much food.

  • blueridge Aug 26, 2010

    Although I realize vegetables and water are a good start, they would not help me feel full throughout the day. I am one who must have protein (meat) along with veggies and water. Yes, I do drink lots a water daily due to back, leg and ankle pains (fusion performed 6/09 for L4 & 5, & S1). I also eat servings of pineapple, blueberry, banana & oranges daily. Breakfast includes cheerios with 1/3 banana, toast with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter (to keep sugar up), few blueberries and 1 full slice of grown pineapple). I am menopausal and my weakness is CHOCOLATE. Any recommendations?