Originally created 08/29/00

Support group is helping mother lose weight



Besides support and encouragement from family and friends, Sabrina Sanchez said having an outside support system is essential to changing unhealthy habits.

During a recent trip to an amusement park, the Weight Loss 2000 participant said she resisted a tempting funnel-cake and couldn't wait to tell her weight-loss group.

"They knew what a milestone it was for me," Mrs. Sanchez said. "They all immediately started clapping. I was so proud of myself; I felt so good about not eating that funnel cake."

Mrs. Sanchez said being able to discuss things like responsibility and negative thinking makes a big difference. The group members can relate to and learn from each other.

Little by little, Mrs. Sanchez is learning how to change behaviors and thinking processes that hinder her new lifestyle. And it is paying off. She has lost another five pounds since last month, bringing her total loss to 30 pounds.

One breakthrough that has helped Mrs. Sanchez stick with her program, was when she realized that all the changes she is making in her life are permanent, not just a diet.

"A diet has a beginning and an end," she said. "When you go off a diet, you go back to the way things were. This is a permanent change."

She's reveling in the fact that she's a size 14 again.

"It's a good feeling to put on a shirt you haven't worn for a year," she said. "And to be able to button it all the way up."

About this series

The Augusta Chronicle is following four people who volunteered to go public with their battle of the bulge by participating in a weight-loss program. We offer an up date on a participant's progress every Tuesday.

Today is our sixth follow-up with Sabrina Sanchez, 39, a stay-at-home mother. Her beginning weight was 201 pounds. Her current weight is 171 pounds. She is working with University Health Care System Nutrition Center. As we follow our participants' progress each week, we'll provide information that you can use in your own battle to lose weight.

This week's health tip

Tufts University's Health and Nutrition Center reported that a recent study suggested that a lack of sleep, even just a couple of hours a night, affects the way the body handles food.

Researchers tested 11 young men who slept for four hours of sleep a night and found that the sleep loss reduced the body's capacity to perform metabolic functions such as processing and storing carbohydrates. Their blood sugar spiked much higher after breakfast and their secretion of insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to be removed from the blood, became more sluggish.

"We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss," said Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study.

All of the abnormalities found in test subjects, quickly returned to normal during the recovery period, when subjects spent 12 hours in bed.

Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or lisalohr@augustachronicle.com.