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New Habits Give Father a Fresh, Healthy Start

Article / Review by on January 3, 2012 – 11:00 pmNo Comments

New Habits Give Father a Fresh, Healthy Start

Jose Burgos

Jose Burgos has started the New Year 15 pounds lighter.

It’s not the dramatic stuff of daytime talk shows, but the URMC staffer and father of five said shedding those pounds was monumental, jump-starting a health revolution that’s shaken up his daily routine.

When he’s not busy feeding his kids breakfast and loading them on the school bus, Burgos, a clinical technologist in the ED, is running around at work – keeping equipment in tip-top shape for a bustling team of trauma care doctors and nurses, and sometimes even running around delivering patients’ belongings (occasionally forgotten in the ED) throughout hospital.

“With a full schedule both on the job and off, it was really important that I get into top shape, lose weight, and find the energy I needed,” Burgos said.

And he’s found it. Already a five-year veteran at the Medical Center’s Fitness and Wellness Center, Burgos had slowly dropped weight since first moving up to Rochester from New York City back in 2005. Back then, he tipped the scale at 290.

“But I made a priority of working out before my 11 a.m. shift, five days a week,” he said. “I’d work the weights for 45 minutes, put in 25 minutes on a cardio machine, and do my sit-ups at home, and the weight started to melt off.”

Even so, his loss was slow, steady, and eventually reached a plateau. Eager to take his health revolution to the next level, this October Burgos registered for the Fitness Center’s “Amazing Weight Loss Race” – an eight week program promising cash prizes for the top 12 “biggest losers” and offering weekly, half-hour education classes, ranging from meal-time nutrition strategies (courtesy a licensed dietitian) and exercise tips (from professional fitness trainers).

“Those mini-classes equipped me with really useful advice, which I could take home and easily put into practice,” Burgos said. “For me, that was radical. I’d been an devoted exerciser, and had even eaten grilled and baked foods over fried things, but I’d not really grasped – or put into practice – the importance of watching portion size, resisting unnecessary ‘seconds,’ or filling up on salads and other vegetables first before digging into the main dish.”

Jose Burgos

By paying closer attention to his eating habits – and boosting his daily cardio exercise by a mere 10 minutes – Burgos shaved off 16 pounds in just eight weeks.

“The weight-loss competition re-energized me,” said Burgos, who now weighs almost 50 pounds less than he did six years back. “It’s broadened my perspective. I’m thrilled at trying new things – like mixing dark, leafy greens into my salads, packing fresh fruits in my lunch.”

What’s more exciting, though, is that he’s piqued his kids’ interest, too.

“They’re eating spinach right alongside me, and begging for apples in their lunch bags,” he laughs. “It’s incredible how curious they are. It’s so rewarding to see them learning these life habits at such a young age.”

Burgos (left) takes a moment to pose with Eric McCloud (right) of Environmental Services, who befriended him years back and has since encouraged him shape up. Burgos also credits Bernard Williams (not pictured), also of Environmental Services, for lending him support on his weight loss journey. Burgos (left) takes a moment to pose with Eric McCloud (right) of Environmental Services, who befriended him years back and has since encouraged him shape up. Burgos also credits Bernard Williams (not pictured), also of Environmental Services, for lending him support on his weight loss journey.

Burgos, thrilled by the fun, competitive community environment he found in the recent weight loss challenge, has already signed up for the next one, which launches in February.

And his motivation is infectious; he’s already recruited six fellow ED staff to join him.

“You have to do this for you,” he said. “Sure, it’s a really fun way to get started on your goal, but you have to ultimately want to be healthy yourself. Personally, I want to be there for my kids when I’m older. And that means not giving up on my weight loss goal, even if I hit a bump in the road. I have to stay positive. I have to stay focused on the prize at the end.”

Do your New Year’s resolutions need help getting started on the right foot? Learn more about URMC’s next Amazing Weight Loss Race, here

Don’t work at the Med Center? You can still follow Burgos’ lead; talk with your physician about small, manageable changes you can make to your diet, eating habits, and exercise routine.

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*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center

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University of Rochester Medical Center

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