If you asked Mary if she wanted to exercise a few months ago, she would have politely turned you down. Exercise was not an activity Mary enjoyed and she slowly started to gain weight due to inactivity and a poor diet which, as a result, she gained 11 pounds in one year.
Due to Mary’s Autism and adversity to change in her routine and lifestyle, Mary’s team knew that it would be a challenge to work with Mary to make healthier decisions. Mary was spoken to by her physicians and staff about making healthier choices and began an exercise regime that included walking and climbing the stairs where she lives as well as boxing on her new punching bag. Mary often became agitated while doing these exercises, but was encouraged to continue to exercise regularly and started to accept the exercise as a normal part of her routine.
As Mary started to exercise more frequently, her team noticed that Mary was still not losing weight. Mary, like most people, enjoys food high in fat and sugar which inhibits weight loss. Mary’s team discussed with Mary the importance of a well-balanced diet coupled with exercise and she agreed to change her grocery list and center her menu planning on nutritious items.
Mary began working with her team to find healthy variations to food she enjoys and new recipes she could enjoy trying. Mary was still getting to enjoy the food she loves, but in portioned sizes and healthier versions. Mary began to independently pick different fruits and vegetables at the store and take a more active role in her menu planning as she gained a better knowledge of what it means to have a nutritious and healthy diet.
In just one year, Mary has made many lifestyle changes to better her health. Mary now enjoys eating healthier foods and is more active in her life by exercising daily.
When asked how exercising makes her feel, Mary said, “Happy!”
Mary also enjoys going to the ARC to swim and taking walks with staff when the weather is nice. As a result of Mary’s hard work and dedication to accepting change, she has lost 14 pounds in the last six months.
Mary was asked if there was anything else she wants people to know about her exercise and healthier lifestyle and Mary said, “It’s fun!”