October 2019 - Northwest Weight & Wellness Center
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Ken’s Bariatric Success

Ken’s Bariatric Success

Ken had a sleeve gastrectomy at NWWC in July 2018.

What is the best part about this journey?

The best part of this journey was the reward for following through with all the advice. When I came in in February 2018 and spoke to Dr. Chock, she told me, “You’re going to need to make a lot of changes and it’s not going to be easy. It’s not a magic pill or a magic bullet but it will be worth it.”

After that, I quit smoking and drinking alcohol. I used to make craft beer and it was something I really enjoyed. Quitting all of that was a feat that seemed almost impossible. It was somebody’s Everest or somebody’s 4.0 at the end of grad school or a moon landing. All of those insurmountable changes… it has taught me that I can do anything.

What has been the hardest part?

I had a serious complication two weeks after surgery. I had a clot and was readmitted back in Alaska. It was scary but it really taught me how fragile everything was. That was the linchpin that got me fully committing myself to everything. I was walking laps every hour and was working out for 7 days in the hospital. I begged the nurses to allow me to exercise and they let a friend bring me a dumbbell.

The hardest part of the entire journey was relearning and coping with my stressors. I was a really bad stress eater. Three months post-op, I caught myself stress eating and I got full to the point that I threw up. I thought, “I can’t do this. This whole time I’ve been stress eating and it has got to stop.”  I spoke with my boss and my wife and I quit my job and decided to go back to school. I’m now finishing my Bachelor’s degree to become a teacher.

I had to reinvent myself. I realized I couldn’t stress eat anymore. You could say that I made the right choice in the “choose your own adventure” book of life. The choice that I made that has resulted in a path that is going to end way further down the line with a longer life.

What goals did you set for yourself? Have you made progress towards those goals?

Ken competing in the Northern Fitness Games CrossFit Competition

I had always wanted to become a firefighter. When I was finally able to pass the fitness test, I felt that I had made it to the moon.  I am now a carded basic firefighter and wildland firefighter.

My activity level is where I’d always dreamed it would be. I’ve surpassed my fitness level from when I was in the Marines. I run 7 miles every Sunday. I can do a GORUCK hike with 50 pounds on my back.  I can go to CrossFit and I’m actually good at it. While I have to make a few modifications, my fitness level and strength is through the roof. I used to make fun of CrossFit and I think deep down inside, it’s because I wasn’t good at it.  Now that I can do it, it has changed my tune. These are things I wasn’t able to do before.

My next step is the Boston Marathon. I’m doing a walking marathon next March in New Mexico. I’m hoping to climb Mount Hood in the next 4 years and Denali in next 10 years.

I ended up becoming a personal trainer. I work with people who have gone to the local bariatric facility here in Alaska. I went through surgery. I know what it’s like. I can help these folks.

I’ve hit my goal weight and have been maintaining for over 5 months.

What advice would you give those who want to pursue weight loss surgery?

I’m a goal-oriented person. It’s what keeps me going. Make a goal and keep it. Start small and go larger. You’re not getting any better just sitting there complaining. If you get up and do something, you are better than you were the day before. It might not be noticeable at first but the results compound themselves.

Listen to the providers. Listen to what they have to say. They are not people with letters at the end of their name without good reason. I can tell you that Dr. Chock is an angel as far as I’m concerned. All the staff, everybody I’ve dealt with, are angels. From talking to Christine once per month to my appointments with Ginny to working with Dr. Chock, they know what they’re doing and they do it well. I know I did the hard work but the quality of care that I received was like none other.

Fitting in Fitness

Fitting in Fitness

A few years ago, I made a promise to myself: My physical and mental health is worth 4-6 hours a week. When I take time for my health, not only does my personal health get better but my relationships with my kids, husband, co-workers, family, and friends become healthier too. But I’ll admit that being a parent is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. Throw in a full-time job and life gets very hectic. How do you possibly fit in time for fitness?

My exercise routine has changed drastically over the years. Twenty years ago, in my BC life (life before children), I never struggled to get my workouts in, even working 60+ hours per week. I often worked out in the evening to meet people. Having just moved from Montana to Washington, my exercise program was an amazing way to help me shake my homesickness. Fast forward to 2003, I’m married and working at Columbia Athletic Clubs. I was still living my BC life and I was able to exercise after work. Often my husband would meet me so we could exercise together.

In 2006, my daughter, Ella, was born. During my 4-month leave, my exercise program consisted of walking outside with Ella in a jogging stroller and DVD workouts I could do while she was sleeping. When I went back to work, I found myself wanting to get home right at 5pm to spend time with my new baby girl instead of doing a workout. On the days I wasn’t teaching fitness classes, I worked out during lunch. On the weekends, my workouts were fun and social. I took group tennis lessons with my sister and we put our kids in the club’s daycare. We were terrible at tennis but we had fun together while exercising.

In 2013, my husband and I welcomed baby number two. With my son, Jase, I was able to stay at home for 12 months but my workouts really changed. Jase was diagnosed with sleep apnea when he was 6 months old and he would wake up 1-4 times every night. I was so sleep deprived I could no longer work out while he was sleeping like I did with Ella. When Jase was sleeping, I was sleeping. The way I fit exercise into my day was to walk while Ella was at dance class. I always kept my jogging stroller in the back of my car. While Ella was in dance class for 45 to 90 minutes, I would walk the dance studio parking lot with Jase in the stroller.

In October of 2014, I joined NWWC part-time. I now had to work out with small bits of time such as walking at work between patients, walking when Ella was at dance, and using my elliptical trainer at home when my husband could watch the kids. My workouts were not one hour sessions; they were small sessions here and there. By age 3, Jase had surgery for his sleep apnea and could finally sleep through the night. I had survived 3 years of waking up 1-4 times a night. Mom WIN!

By 2016, I was a full-time mom to 3- and 10-year-olds and working full-time at NWWC. My kids had activities and my husband was working his full-time job plus had started a small business. My workouts were suffering. I felt like my weekdays were shot and I was only getting workouts in on the weekends. How in the world was I going to exercise? I had to have an honest conversation with myself, look closely look at my days, and set myself up to be successful.

I asked myself:

  • Can you exercise after work? Before work? On the weekends? At home? At the gym?
  • How many hours do you have during the weekdays? I started with 120 hours and subtracted the number of hours I worked, commuted, slept, managed household chores, and spent with family.
  • How many hours do you have on the weekends? I started with 48 hours and subtracted the hours I had committed to kids’ activities, household chores & errands, and family time.
  • How many hours per week are you willing to dedicate to your health?

I realized my windows of time were early in the morning, late evening, and weekends. I knew late night workouts were not good for me because I get hyped up and then I can’t sleep. It was beginning to look like early mornings and weekend mornings were my days to get exercise in.

I’m that annoying morning person that doesn’t hit the snooze bar when the alarm goes off. I’m used to getting up at 6:00am. But 4:45am? OMG! That’s early, people. To become a successful early morning exerciser, I had to start with my bedtime. I had been going to bed at 11:00pm but that would give me less than 6 hours of sleep. With 15 minute increments, I changed my bedtime to 10:00pm.

I also needed to get myself organized. Before I went to bed, I put my workout clothes and shoes in the bathroom, put a water bottle in the fridge, placed a sweat towel on the elliptical trainer, and placed the TV remote next to the elliptical trainer. I eliminated all excuses I could use to not get up and work out in the morning.  

I’m not a perfect Pinterest mom and my house is not spotless. I am a mom that can keep up with a busy 13-year-old dancer and a crazy 6-year-old football player. Don’t think that one hour of exercise a day is being selfish and taking time away from your kids. You are actually adding time to your life by becoming a regular exerciser. You are going to be the active parent you want to be for your kids. Taking time to care for yourself will give you more time to be with your family.  

Staff Spotlight: Lindsay Berndahl

Staff Spotlight: Lindsay Berndahl

NWWC Staff Spotlight

Name: Lindsay Berndahl

Role: Nocturnal Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Joined NWWC: October 2018

Personal Life: Lindsay is a Washington native. She is grateful to have all of her extended family in the state for lots of fun family memories. She has a very sweet dog-son, Dexter, who thinks he is human. J She spends her free time enjoying life with her friends, family, and boyfriend.

Life Before NWWC: Before joining NWWC, Lindsay worked as a patient care technician on the cardiology and intensive care unit floors at a busy urban hospital. She transitioned to health unit coordinator and monitor technician roles. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, telemetry, neurology, intensive care unit, adult family homes, and private in-home care. She also cared for her grandma in the last years of her life. 

A Day in Her Job: As a nocturnal CNA, Lindsay works with patients overnight while they are recovering from surgery. She measures vital signs, assists patients with moving, helps with pain management, and provides emotional support. At night, Lindsay and a nurse manage care for all of the patients in the surgery center so it’s essential that they work well as a team. Each patient is extremely different. Lindsay prides herself on being able to read individuals and meet them on their level. During her night shifts, she tries to pick up any “puzzle pieces” that may linger from the day and assembles them to provide the next shift with all of the information they need to provide the best patient care. When she works day shifts, she helps with admitting patients to the surgery center, turnover of the operating rooms, and discharging patients to home.

What Else to Know about Lindsay:

  • The summer of 2005 served as a catalyst in Lindsay’s decision to pursue a job in healthcare. Until then, her main experience with hospitals was for her sister with diabetes. In a crazy turn of events, Lindsay became the patient after being a victim of a random drive by shooting. Three weeks later, her father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. This was the tipping point that drove her to her healthcare career. “As many of us can attest to, it seems like medicine sought me out and I love it to this day.”
  • It is fitting that we are spotlighting Lindsay during the month of her favorite holiday: Halloween! She has thrown many elaborate Halloween house parties over the years.
  • She loves friends, family, laughing, music, tattoos, and the outdoors! “I love to laugh and spend as much time as possible with those who I can make laugh in return.” She enjoys camping in the summer and spending time near the water. Her “pseudo-nieces” are the loves of her life. “Watching them develop their own strong, vibrant personalities has been so special.”