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Joe Poelker

Release Date: 12/4/2012

Paluck beats battle of the bulge, deals diabetes the death knell

For most of his life, Travis Paluck fought a losing battle with his weight.

For most of his life, Travis Paluck fought a losing battle with his weight.

For most of his life, Travis Paluck fought a losing battle with his weight. Three years ago, he weighed 320 pounds, had a size 44 waist, and was a borderline diabetic with high blood sugar, gout and borderline high blood pressure.

“I figured, if I continue on the track I’m on, I’m not going to make it,” Paluck said. “I decided I wasn’t going to have these problems as I became older.”

Paluck, 35, is manager of Central Sterilization and OR Supplies Management, and has worked at St. Anthony’s for 6 ½ years. He now weighs 185 pounds and has a size 32 waist, the result of a gradual diet and exercise plan he has tailored to fit his own needs and lifestyle. It has paid dividends: he is diabetes-free, gout attacks are rare, and his blood pressure and blood sugar levels are low. And he’s kept the weight off for 1½ years and continues to tone his body and build muscle.

Many years of trial and error preceded this winning strategy. The problems started at the age of 5, when the North Carolina native was diagnosed with a degenerative hip disorder known as Perthes Disease. Paluck spent a month in the hospital in traction, followed by a year in a cast, and another year and a half in braces.

 “After I got out of the braces, it was a battle with my weight from then on,” he said. “My weight ranged anywhere from 210 to 365 pounds. I’d lose a lot in a couple of months, then would gain back all the weight and then some. This time I took it slow, altered my food intake and increased my daily activity. I consume more veggies than fruit…I try to watch even natural sugars. I also eat lean protein throughout the day… I try to keep my daily calorie intake at work before my evening workout below 800 calories.”

Paluck spends an average of five evenings a week in sessions at St. Anthony’s Fitness Center, where he works on the elliptical trainer, lifts weights and does core exercises. He strives to burn as many calories as he has taken in during the day. And when he gets home at night he treats himself to a leisurely meal consisting of the foods he most desires, but in moderation.

“So if I am craving pizza, a burger or ice cream, I will eat two pieces of pizza instead of the whole thing, half of a burger instead of the whole burger with fries, or a cup of ice cream instead of a whole pint or more, but that will be my meal,” he said. “It is all about portion control and making sure if you put fuel in your system you are working your body enough to burn it.”

Tips from Travis:

  • Find a plan that works for you. If it doesn’t work, it isn’t that you can’t lose weight – perhaps this is simply not the plan for you. Doing only what people tell you to do will never work out in the end. Do your own research: look at what has worked in the past, and figure out why the weight loss did not last.
  • Alter things slowly, to make the shock of your changes more bearable.
  • Do you really want this lifestyle change? If so, you must respect yourself enough to commit to it, and love yourself to make it part of your life and not just a quick fix or fad.
  • Don’t keep yourself from eating certain things you like (e.g., ice cream). If you stop yourself completely from doing certain things, you’re going to crack and eventually regress into unhealthy habits. Instead, focus on realistic portion sizes.
  • Sneak in exercise whenever possible: park farther away from buildings, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
  • To quash cravings, load up on vegetables: tomatoes, beets, asparagus, bell pepper, cucumber, low-sodium canned green beans.
  • Eat a little lean protein with every meal, such as tuna, turkey, chicken or egg whites.

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