A Healthier, Happier Me

By: Debbie Artigliere

This is the story of a journey during which I have become a healthier and happier person. I still have a way to go, before reaching my weight goal, but I am now on a path of reasonable eating and exercising.

It all began in February of 2017, when my doctor told me that I must lose some weight. My blood counts were no longer in the normal range, and my weight was negatively impacting my health. On February 4, 2017, I had my 65th birthday party, and when I looked at the pictures from the party I was shocked. How could this have happened? I looked terrible! I had become obese. I admitted it and decided I must change.

Having been a competitive swimmer through high school, I had always been in good physical condition.This continued through my career path from a police officer, to a special agent, to a security specialist. I nearly always worked out in a gym several days a week. I also ran 5K races, attended dance classes, aerobics classes, and continued to swim. My weight always remained in proportion to my height, and I remained fit and trim.

After retirement, my routine changed. Slowly, very slowly, I began to gain a pound here, and a pound there. It now amazes me how it happened that slowly; over a period of about 18 years, I became fat. This caused some depression at times, especially when I went shopping for clothes. Everything in my closet had become too tight. I kept buying larger and larger sizes, and still, it did not sink into my brain until I saw the pictures from the party. It was then that I decided to attempt to become my “old self,” a happier and healthier version of the person I had become. I wanted to feel better physically and feel better about myself, as a person.

After much soul searching, and researching weight loss in general, I set a goal…to lose one pound per week. I reasoned that by decreasing calories, and increasing my exercise each day, I would have a chance at success. I started by attending aqua aerobics sessions each morning. After a few months I felt confident enough to attend Talina Hendrickson’s senior fitness classes. I supplemented the fitness classes with fun activities that kept me moving, such as line dancing and ping pong.

I also set guidelines for the food I ate and adopted the mantra “it’s all about what I put into my mouth.” I stopped having desserts and ice cream every day. I stopped bread with butter, potatoes, most carbohydrates, alcohol, and fried foods. I also slowly decreased the portions of what I ate. Despite everything I had been taught as a child, I was an adult now, and I didn’t have to eat everything on my plate.

With this simple, reasonable plan, I have lost 68 pounds in 64 weeks. I do have “cheat” times, because if I don’t, I begin to feel deprived. Feeling deprived leads me down the road of wanting to give up. Believe me, I still have bad eating days, and lapses in exercising. But I just chalk it up to a bad day and begin anew the next.

If you believe you have a weight problem, first talk to your doctor. Being honest with your health care provider is a must. Work on an achievable goal and begin your own journey to better health. Bring positive and supportive people into your life. Speak openly with our fitness instructor, and other health care specialists available to us at JKV. They will all help you with your own fitness and health plan. Start when you are truly ready and try to remember: “it’s all about what you put into your mouth!”

Meet Debbie Artigliere

Resident Since: 2015

Birthplace: Alameda, CA

Fun Fact: Previously a police officer in Worchester, Massachusetts; a federal agent with NIS (now NCIS); and a security expert with the federal government.

Weight Loss Plan: Decreased calories with an increase in physical activity. Started by attending aqua aerobics sessions each morning, then began attending the senior fitness classes. Other activities such as line dancing and ping pong supplemented Debbie’s routine.

Early in her weight loss journey, Debbie Artigliere participated in the aqua aerobics sessions. Aqua aerobics classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 A.M. and Aqua Nuts are held Tuesday and Thursday at 9 A.M. in the pool adjacent to the Fitness Center. The aqua classes are very therapeutic for sore muscles, bones, and tendons.

Fitness Classes at John Knox Village

Debbie also took advantage of the senior fitness classes. Beginners classes are available Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 A.M. and advanced classes are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30A.M. The Monday class is held in the auditorium and is a great chance to see what senior fitness is all about. An additional advanced class is now available on Wednesday at 9:15 A.M. due to the popularity of the existing classes.

If you haven’t tried a fitness class, Talina recommends the beginners class on Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 A.M. located at the Fitness Center. The Tuesday and Thursday senior fitness classes are seated total body exercises and are a great way to meet new friends and hold each other accountable.

During the summer months the fitness classes focus on staying hydrated, happy energy, making new friends, and adding an indoor activity away from the summer heat. Chair yoga, senior stretch, and new Tai Chi classes are available which focus on mind, body, and spirit.

Fitness class calendars are available at the Fitness Center as well as on the resident portal. Make sure to schedule an appointment for fitness orientation for new and existing equipment with Talina. Appointments can be made in person or by calling the Fitness Center. For more information on fitness classes and schedules, see the Events section on the resident portal.

View our most recent Village Life Magazine to learn more about community updates, events, and news happening here at John Knox Village of Central Florida.