At 12 miles per hour on a bike, or 135 miles per hour in a free fall from 13,600 feet, Ron Bormann is different than the previous version of himself.
Last May, the Charlotte farmer signed up for the Metabolic Syndrome program (MetS), offered free through the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation and Genesis Philanthropy. He knew he had gained weight following a serious 2013 vehicle accident. He still wasn’t prepared for the results of his screening to start the program.
“I failed all five of the risk factors,’’ he said. “Getting the results was really an eye-opener. I knew something had to change.”
Ron and his wife, Jean, made several lifestyle changes. Because of the changes, he was able to do something he thought he might not ever be able to accomplish. He recently jumped out of a plane in a tandem jump with a skydiving instructor.
“I planned to do it before the accident, but I had a major hip injury and surgery. The doctor hadn’t told me at the time of the reconstruction surgery, but he told me later the injury was so severe that he thought he might have to replace my hip, and I might not farm again,’’ he said.
Limited physically by the injury, Bormann gained weight. He could no longer make the jump he planned because he weighed more than the maximum 250 pounds allowed by the skydiving company. He hit nearly 290 pounds by the time he got the news in May he was at higher risk for Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a collection of health indicators known to increase the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
“I already had a brother and sister with diabetes, and I was going to be next unless I did something,’’ he added.
What Bormann did to get back in control was participate in Naturally Slim,™ a healthy living program offered by Genesis Philanthropy.
Naturally Slim™ was initially offered to Genesis employees. It is now available throughout the region served by Genesis Health System — at no cost to participants. The lifestyle techniques taught by the Naturally Slim™ have helped thousands of people in the region reduce their risk.
The Bormanns learned about mindful eating, making informed food choices, and reducing sugar intake.
“When we had the Genesis Philanthropy event, I showed a 50-pound bag of feed to demonstrate the amount of weight I had lost. Fifty pounds is also only a half or one-third of the sugar the average American consumes in a year,’’ Bormann said. “It’s amazing how much sugar we eat or drink.
“It’s everywhere, even places you wouldn’t expect. What happened was I started looking at labels when I went to the grocery store, and we made choices of what to buy based on how much sugar there was in a product.’’
The Bormanns Made Other Changes
“We decided we would get used bikes. Not new ones because we didn’t know how much we’d use them,’’ he explained. “We live out in the country, a quarter mile off an asphalt road, and there are hills. There is a long gravel hill right by our farm.
“The first time I tried that hill, I didn’t get far before I was off the bike walking, but day after day, I’d try to go a little farther up that hill. Now I’m up to 26 miles at a time. I love it now.’’
As his weight dropped, so did his risk of MetS. He has lost 54 pounds since May.
“People ask me what diet I was on, and I tell them, ‘No diet — a lifestyle program,’’’ he said. “They see me biking up those hills, and smile and wave. Now I tell everyone about the program. I was hesitant myself about whether it would work or not, until I started losing seven or eight pounds a week.’’
It isn’t uncommon for someone going through Naturally Slim™ to reduce two or more of their risk factors. Ron Bormann reduced his numbers in all five measurements, also reducing his risk of life-shortening and life-threatening conditions.
Losing weight allowed Bormann to live his dream. For some, the dream after weight loss is to ride a roller coaster, take a trip on an airplane without a belt extender, or buy new clothes. Bormann wanted to fall out of the sky.
On Oct. 17, at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, Bormann took a tandem jump from 13,600 feet with an instructor. They free fell 8,100 feet in a minute before activating the parachute.
“It was awesome. There is nothing around you, so you don’t really know you are falling that fast,’’ he said. “And, it’s very quiet. We’re going again next spring.
“I owe a lot to Genesis Philanthropy and Naturally Slim™ for getting me back on the right track.’’
Genesis Philanthropy will be announcing additional opportunities to participate in Naturally Slim™ to reduce the risk of Metabolic Syndrome in 2016. Go to www.genesisphilanthropy.org for details.