Mo Minard: 39 Lbs. Lighter and “Feeling Great,” As the DMC Health Challenge Continues in 2016!

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Now that the 2015 version of the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge has gone into the record books, it’s time to step back for a moment and count our blessings.

Starting, of course, with the remarkable saga of the DMC’s own Imana “Mo” Minard – the skilled and dedicated MSN-RN who in recent years has managed the Emergency Department and Clinical Decision Unit here on the midtown campus of the Detroit Medical Center.

Some background: When the 2015 Challenge (“Less Sugar, More Steps, Eat More Fruit!”) kicked off last Halloween, Mo Minard made headlines by announcing that she’d taken the “Pledge” to improve her health by avoiding empty calories from soda pop, candy, doughnuts and other junk foods, while also exercising more.

She meant it, too.

After only six weeks of her new regimen, the upbeat and enthusiastic Ms. Minard had lost 24 pounds and reported that it was “getting easier all the time” to say no to the French fries and the chocolate-with-caramel candy bars that had helped to trigger her unhealthy obesity in recent years.

And guess what?

Ten weeks after the launch of the third annual DMC Challenge, Ms. Minard says that she has now lost 39 pounds . . . and that she’s determined to drop an astonishing 100 pounds of flab by the time this year’s Challenge gets underway in late October.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear a round of applause for Mo Minard!

Interestingly enough, the hard-working DMC ER manager says she’s also been greatly encouraged by the interest other Detroit-area residents have been showing in her successful weight-loss and exercise gains.

“I’ve really been amazed by the responses I’ve been getting,” Mo told me the other day. “In recent weeks, I’ve gotten more than 500 responses on my Instagram page, with many people saying they’re interested in learning more about the health benefits to be obtained by saying no to sugar and yes to exercise.

“The response has been so exciting, in fact, that I just changed my Instagram page [address] to: mo_is_melting_away!

Ms. Minard also says she’s now more convinced than ever that “education is the key to improving health” . . . and that the yearly DMC Challenge is rapidly becoming a powerfully effective program throughout the Detroit area for people who understand that eating better and exercising more are essential elements in a winning strategy to reduce our risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

“The journey I’m on is a journey toward a healthier life,” says Ms. Minard – and as a medical doctor and hospital president, I can tell you for sure that those words of hers are music to these ears.

Here’s wishing Ms. Minard – and all the rest of us – a happy and healthy 2016, as we keep on watching what we eat and taking more steps each day.

To learn more about the DMC Challenge and how you can continue to benefit by eating better and exercising more during 2016, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.

Roz Thompson “Knocks the Ball Out of the Park” As 2015 DMC Health Challenge Comes to a Close

        Have you heard that old saying, “Time really flies when you’re having fun?”

        In the case of the 2015 DMC 61 Day Health Challenge, that ancient maxim seems especially true. Has it really been more than eight weeks since we launched our exciting journey together through the world of “Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit”?

Indeed it has.

But before we declare the DMC’s 2015 holiday health-education campaign to be a ringing success and start wishing each other a Happy New Year, I want to take a moment to salute yet another Challenge participant for her outstanding diet-and-exercise accomplishments during the past two months.

Her name is Rosalind (“Roz”) Thompson – and she recently told me (with totally understandable pride) how she managed to lose about 20 pounds during the Health Challenge, while also improving her score on a blood-sugar test designed to help measure her risks for developing adult-onset diabetes.

For Ms. Thompson – a veteran nurse (RN, MSN) who also owns an MBA and has enjoyed a fabulous, 37-year career as a care provider at the DMC – the Challenge began in earnest after she received an alarmingly high blood-sugar score during a similar test back in October.

Troubled by that score and by the fact that she was also significantly overweight, the hard-working Ms. Thompson (who currently serves as Clinical Coordinator of Inpatient Psychiatry at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit) decided eight weeks ago that she was going to take the Challenge “Pledge” – and would therefore refrain from consuming the “empty calories” contained in candy, soda pop, doughnuts and other “junk” foods . . . while also engaging in moderate exercise frequently and including more fruit in her daily diet.

And she did!

“I gave up my Ruby Red Squirt [soda pop],” a proud Roz Thompson told me the other day, “along with my fried chicken and other sweets. And I want to thank you – and the DMC Challenge – for providing me with the motivation I needed to better manage my blood sugar and lose weight!”

Like the triumphant Roz Thompson, hundreds and hundreds of Detroit-area residents in recent weeks have benefited from the lowered health risks and the sense of empowerment that can flow from making the decision to cut out the nutrition-less sugar in their lives and begin exercising more often in order to improve their overall health.

Among the beneficiaries of this year’s challenge, we can also include many of the 1,600 officers and staffers at the Detroit Police Department.  Led by their health-savvy Chief James Craig, hundreds of DPD members worked enthusiastically to meet the goals of this year’s challenge – and will now go on to continue meeting them in a year-long health-and-fitness partnership with the Detroit Medical Center.

As the third annual version of the DMC Challenge winds down and the New Year looms, it’s good to know that so many Detroit-area residents have “gotten the message” – and that many of them will continue to work hard in the coming year at “eating healthier” and “exercising more often” in order to enjoy better health.

Here’s wishing all of us a healthy and happy New Year . . . and I’ll see you again in October for the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge of 2016!

[To learn more about the DMC Challenge and how you can continue to benefit by eating better and exercising more during 2016, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.]

Congrats to Mo Minard and Kelley Marks For Meeting the DMC Health Challenge!

Mo Minard

Mo Minard

Six weeks down and two to go!

That’s how much time remains in the third annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge . . . during which hundreds and hundreds of Detroit-area residents have been doing a great job of “taking in less sugar, taking more steps and eating more fruit.”

Among those determined health-seekers are several hundred members of the Detroit Police Department – which is now partnering with the DMC in its own yearlong program to eat better and exercise more in order to better serve the citizenry in 2016.

But the ranks of this year’s Pledge-takers also include two outstanding professionals whose powerful stories can serve as an inspiration to us all.

Let me start with the hard-charging Imana “Mo” Minard, MSN-RN, currently the manager of both the DMC’s Emergency Department and its Clinical Decision Unit.

Six weeks ago, Mo Minard “went public” with a vow to successfully complete the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge by losing a significant amount of the extra weight she’s been carrying around for years.

Guess what?

Mo has already shed 24 pounds – and she says that the “good eating and exercise habits” she’s picked up during the Challenge are going to be part of her daily life from now on.

“It’s been going really well,” says Mo, “and it’s also getting easier each day. I’ve been tempted at times – just the other day I lost a dear friend at a hospice, and I was grieving over it, and I realized that I wanted a chocolate bar with caramel. But I didn’t give in. I sat at my desk and I said: let me put a piece of sugarless gum in my mouth instead of that candy bar.

“I was proud of myself for that and I’m going to keep on avoiding empty sugar calories and exercising every day from now on.”

These days, Mo says she’s feeling newly empowered and upbeat and she told me just last week that she expects to be “down a hundred pounds” by the time next year’s Challenge rolls around.

Like Mo Minard, the high-spirited and fiercely determined Kelley Marks has also been meeting the Challenge successfully in recent weeks. Mrs. Marks, who owns a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Wayne State University and is currently raising three children with her husband of 12 years, took the Challenge Pledge in early November . . . and has already lost 29 pounds.

“I have been sharing my story in the hope that it will be a blessing to somebody,” says Mrs. Marks, now 37. “In early November when I took the Pledge I weighed 406 pounds and I knew that I needed to confront my weight problem. With the help of the Challenge – and also with lots of prayer – I have already lost 29 pounds and I feel absolutely great about that!

“I didn’t think I could do it but I am doing it. I have a lot of people around me who are very supportive and that has also helped a lot. I think that over-eating and being overweight starts in your mind – and I think of my struggle to change that behavior as The Battle of the Mind. I am now starting to win that battle and it’s a wonderful feeling.

“I am going to continue the Challenge into the next year and I truly believe it is going to help me learn to find enjoyment in something beyond chocolate – and losing all this weight is going to help me get much healthier in my life!”

As a physician and a hospital president, I can tell you that the DMC Health Challenge stories now being told by Mo Minard and Kelley Marks are sweet music to these ears.

Here’s wishing them and the rest of us a joyful – and a sugar-free – holiday season, as the DMC 61 Day Health Challenge enters the homestretch and zooms toward New Year’s Eve!

To learn more about the Challenge and how you can take part, just click on www.dmc.org/61days

A Major New Health Study Finds That Sugar Is a Toxic Substance

You can imagine how I felt, just the other day, when I picked up a copy of Time magazine and read that junk-food sugar is now being described by some health experts as a toxic substance!

It’s true.

The news broke in the Oct. 27 issue of Time, which reported that a California-based researcher – Dr. Robert H. Lustig in the Pediatrics Department at the University of California, San Francisco – had published a major study (in the journal Obesity) in which he found that the kind of sugar we find in soda pop actually works as a kind of nutritional poison when we consume too much of it.

During the Lustig study (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21371/abstract), 43 children from ages 8 to 18 were fed a special diet for nine straight days in which most of the sugar they normally ate each day was replaced by starch (from foods such as noodles, bagels, cereals, etc.).

The bottom line: at the end of the nine-day test, the kids involved scored much better on several key health indicators that measure the negative effects of too much sugar on the human body.

Example: The overall average blood-sugar level (which can be a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, diabetes and even heart disease when too high) declined by more than 50 percent.

Example No. 2:  Some of the kids on the low-sugar diet went from being “insulin resistant” (a precursor of diabetes) to “insulin sensitive” – a clear indicator that the body is efficiently and effectively managing the daily intake of sugar.

Thank you, Dr. Lustig!

As many of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time during the past few years campaigning emphatically in favor of reducing our daily intake of unhealthy sugar from soda pop, candy and other junk foods.

As a matter of fact, cutting back on empty sugar calories (while also exercising more and eating more fruit) is the main goal of this year’s “61-Day Health Challenge” – the annual DMC-sponsored health-education program in which participants are asked to abstain from soda pop, fried foods and other junk foods during the months of November and December.

The Challenge got off to a rousing start on Oct. 30 (only three days after the publication of the Time story) . . . when dozens of Detroit-area community activists joined a mob of enthusiastic high school students and DMC employees in a crowded auditorium at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Now well into its third week, the 2015 Challenge is already going great guns.  With hundreds of Michiganders having sworn to obey the Challenge motto (“Less sugar, more steps, eat more fruit!”), the campaign to cut back on junk-eating during the holiday season is up and running at full throttle.

As a medical doctor and a hospital president who’s determined to help educate Detroit-area residents on the importance of good nutrition and the benefits to be had from frequent moderate exercise, I’m fired up as never before about the Challenge and its message for all of southeast Michigan.

Which is why I was so excited to open my copy of Time the other day and read a headline that said: “Sugar Is Definitely Toxic, a New Study Says.”

According to Time, that groundbreaking new study has now confirmed what we knew all along – which is that healthy living starts with healthy eating (and exercising)!

If you want to read the story for yourself and learn more about the crucial links between good nutrition and good health, you can go online at:  http://time.com/4087775/sugar-is-definitely-toxic-a-new-study-says/.

 

To learn more about the DMC 2015 61 Day Health Challenge and how you can take part, just click on www.dmc.org/61days.

 

Here’s wishing all of us a Happy National Eating Healthy Day, Nov. 4!

DMC CEO Joe Mullany at the #DMC61DayChallenge Kick Off Event

DMC CEO Joe Mullany at the #DMC61DayChallenge Kick Off Event

Did you know that Wednesday (November 4) is National Eating Healthy Day – a nationwide celebration of all the terrific health benefits to be gained by paying closer attention to what we eat and drink?

It’s true.  Sponsored each year by the American Heart Association (AHA), National Eating Healthy Day was created in order to remind all of us that guzzling soda pop and wolfing French fries can lead to some very bad outcomes . . . such as obesity, hypertension, adult-onset diabetes and even fatal heart disease.

But those kinds of horrific health problems can often be avoided – simply by saying no to that next sugar doughnut or gooey holiday dessert cake . . . while also exercising moderately each day and educating ourselves better about healthy nutrition.

That’s a pretty important message, don’t you think?

Of course, it also happens to be the same message we’re putting out every day between now and January 1, here at the Detroit Medical Center . . . as the fourth annual DMC 61 Day Health Challenge swings into high gear!

To learn more about how you can celebrate National Eating Healthy Day and pick up some helpful tips about healthier grocery shopping and nutrition basics, just click on: www.dmc.org/61Days

Improving Your Overall Health Starts With Taking Better Care of Your Heart . . .

Improving Your Overall Health Starts With Taking Better Care of Your Heart . . . and the “Life Check Tool” Can Help!

Are you ready for a few truly astonishing facts about the human heart?

Fact:  the average heart will beat 2.5 billion times during its owner’s lifetime.

Fact: while pounding away without letup, that same heart will over a lifetime pump more than 1.5 million gallons of blood through the body’s 60,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries.

Fact: the energy generated by the typical human heart during a lifetime would be enough to power a medium-sized truck to the moon and back.

Those are some awesome numbers, don’t you think?

Looking at them, it’s easy to see why medical science has long believed that achieving good heart health is the key to enjoying a long and healthy life.  And those of us who work day in and day out to help patients at the Detroit Medical Center couldn’t agree more.

Which is why we recently launched our yearly “DMC 61 Day Health Challenge,” during a high-spirited Kick Off event that brought doctors, nurses, teachers, community leaders and a mob of fired-up high school students together to take the “Less Sugar, More Steps!” Pledge at DMC Harper University Hospital.

The Pledge is our way of saying: “We can all do a better job of protecting our hearts – by paying closer attention to the food we eat and the amount of exercise we get each day.”

The Challenge is a public education program – enthusiastically endorsed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who attended the recent Kick Off extravaganza at Harper Hospital – in which the participants agree to abstain from sugary drinks (no more “Whiz Cola” for a while!), fried foods and “junk” foods until the end of the year.

The exciting Challenge program also asks participants to exercise moderately for 30 minutes, several times a week . . . while helping to educate at least one family member or friend about the important relationship between what we eat and how healthy we are.

Sounds like a win-win program, right?

And the best part is that you can get started immediately . . . by taking advantage of a simple, easy-to-use (and cost-free) “Life Check” tool that will help you assess your cardiovascular health right now and then measure your progress during the Challenge.

Designed by the American Heart Association, Life Check can assist you in outlining your personal health goals and then working to meet them throughout the coming days of the Challenge’s “Less Sugar, More Steps!” health-improvement program.

To get started, all you have to do is go to the Challenge website (www.61daychallenge.com) and then click on the icon marked Before You Start, and you’ll be off and running.

You can have a lot of fun designing and implementing your own day-by-day strategy for improving your cardiovascular health during the Challenge.

Even better, you can also lower your risk of being affected by one other important health Fact:

The Fact that heart disease is by far the leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than 2,600 people (nearly two per minute) dying from heart ailments every single day.

That unfortunate Fact speaks for itself, my friends . . . which is why we’re all Challenging ourselves, right now, to learn how to take better care of our hearts!

Burning Junk Food Calories with Exercise Is a Whole Lot Harder Than It Looks!

TRUE OR FALSE: Guzzling a 20-ounce soda pop won’t increase your chances of getting fat . . . provided that you exercise for a few minutes soon after downing that sugar-laden bottle of bubbly.
The correct answer, of course, is FALSE.

Although many people don’t realize it, the amount of exercise required to “burn off” the calories from junk foods such as soda pop, cupcakes, cheesy puffs and milkshakes is actually huge. Example: Let’s say you decide to slurp up that 20-ounce container of fizz-pop and then eliminate the 250 extra sugar-calories you just took in by walking briskly for a while. Not a bad idea . . . until you discover that you’ll have to walk at least five miles just to burn your way through the jumbo-sized dose of fat-building sugar contained in those 20 ounces of cola.

Pretty shocking, right?

Ready for another startling example of how exercise can’t be counted on to save us from the health-threatening consequences of making poor food choices?

This time, let’s say you decide to wolf down a typical bakery cupcake covered with gooey, mouthwatering chocolate frosting—then “run off” the calories on the nearest treadmill or outdoor track.
Okay, fine. Before you start wolfing, however, you might want to look at some recent health data from the U.S. Government. According to the experts, you’ll have to run more than four miles without stopping just to neutralize the 400-450 calories in that scrumptious cupcake. The point here is a simple one that can help all of us: Most of the time, it’s impossible to overcome the negative effects of eating junk foods with exercise!

As a physician and hospital administrator, I’m absolutely convinced that educating ourselves about our food and exercise choices is a key step on the road to better health. That’s why I helped to create the upcoming 2014 DMC 61 Day Health Challenge in which hundreds of thousands of Detroit and Southeast Michigan residents will be challenged to abstain from soda pop, fried foods and junk foods during the approaching holiday season, while also exercising more often. (To learn more about the Challenge and the gala “Kickoff Event” set for Oct. 31 at the DMC, just click on www.61DayChallenge.com).

I hope you’ll join us during the exciting and health promoting challenge that’s about to begin. And I also hope you’ll join me in thinking about one other very interesting food fact the researchers recently unearthed. If you decide to enjoy a juicy apple for your next snack, you’ll only have to stroll along for a mere 19 minutes in order to burn those 42 calories off!