Village of Menomonee Falls — Three years ago this month, Gilbert Nack realized he would probably have a heart attack.
At nearly 338 pounds, the 78-year-old retired electrician's physicals had indicated his A1C blood test results were going up every year; he was pre-diabetic, his blood pressure was on the rise and his body fat was twice as much as it should be. Nack also had both knees replaced due to the excessive weight.
But in January 2014, he decided it was time to make a change.
He joined a program in Menomonee Falls called Taking off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) through the Aurora Health Center on Menomonee Avenue. Every week, he attended the program, where he was given short-term goals to achieve, weekly weigh-ins and programs on health, fitness and food choices.
During the first year in the program, Nack won first place in TOPS' State Recognition Day awards in his division for losing 52 pounds.
But Nack didn't stop there.
In 2015, he took home second place for losing 38 additional pounds. After that, he continued to shed weight through his weekly program, bringing his weight loss total to 100 pounds.
"I was informed by my orthopedic surgeon that for each five pounds of weight loss, it takes 15 pounds off of your knees," Nack said. "Now that I am 100 pounds lighter, my doctor has informed me that my A1C and blood pressure readings have returned to normal. The TOPS group that I meet with weekly has been a big help and a very encouraging group."
To lose the weight, Nack said his main challenge was to eat smaller portions, but now the bigger challenge is keeping the pounds off.
"I use a diet software program called Calorie King, and try to limit my calorie intake to about 1800 calories a day," Nack said. "The bottom line is portion control. To aid in limiting what I consume, I keep a small scale on the kitchen table that registers in grams, ounces or pounds. After I enter the food portions for each meal and snacks between meals into my software program, it keeps a running total, and at the end of each day it gives me the total nutrition count of what I have consumed. The program recommends the proper nutrient intake goals based on my height and weight and lets me know where my BMI index is at."
Nack has learned to become more conscious about reading food nutrition labels and how much the body should have of certain ingredients.
"The challenge is to avoid foods that have high sodium content, excessive sugar, saturated and trans fat," Nack said. "Another challenge is to avoid eating out; fast food is off limits."
While he does not have a specific workout regime, Nack keeps a pedometer on his belt to monitor his activity; his goal is to maintain his average of 2 miles daily, and on warmer days, he rides his bike with his grandson, Alex, even participating in Community Memorial Hospital's annual Wheeling for Healing event in Menomonee Falls.
"A lot of magazine covers have eye-catching articles highlighting some fad diet about a sizable weight loss in a short period of time," Nack said. "I'm sure that these articles promote sales, but most are a big joke. There is no substitute for long-term weight loss."