Avera Medical Minute: How to lose COVID weight and get back on track

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The pandemic has affected many people’s usual routines. Some have found they’ve packed on quarantine weight because of it. Staff at Avera McKennan Fitness Center are helping folks get back on track.

Doug Debelak is getting his health back on track.

“We were down at Cabo. We came back and the COVID hit and everything basically shut down. And I think that was sometime in March and I promptly put on the COVID 20,” said Debelak.

Debelak isn’t alone.

“There was a study that was done following people’s eating habits and what happened with their weight during the pandemic and the results were kind of startling. People, Americans on average gained a pound and a half a month. So that’s really about 20 pounds over the last year. And that significantly impacts people’s health,” said Carla McFarland, Registered Dietician with Avera Health.

When Avera McKennan Fitness Center finally reopened, Debelak was ready and excited to come back.

“They’ve done, I think, an excellent job of protecting the members and asking the members to behave responsibly. So I have to give them a lot of credit for making the gym safe for people to come to,” said Debelak.

However, getting back into the swing of things isn’t always that easy.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people to come in the door, just because they are embarrassed about maybe how things have fallen apart during the year. And so, you know we’re here to help and not judge,” said McFarland.

Debelak says coming back to the fitness center has been vital in his health journey.

“They have a pilates class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I really like. I have a trainer that I really enjoy. And I think it’s just a combination of having everything available here that makes it attractive,” said Debelak.

The journey hasn’t been easy but he’s starting to see results.

“It makes me feel good and realize I have to go back and replace the pants that I gave to the goodwill,” said Debelak.

He’s learned it takes dedication.

“It’s a combination of diet, coming in and doing classes here, working out individually, and working with a trainer. So all three have worked together to help me reduce weight,” said Debelak.

“Everyone has a different starting point and that’s kind of the beauty of fitness and exercise, in general, is no matter how big or how small, how weak or how strong you are, the ability to do a routine day after day or that will power, that dedication inside more so than anything is what helps you to develop an established routine,” said Brooks Little, Fitness Manager at Avera McKennan Fitness Center.

Another key to success is having a support system.

“And that’s really what we’re here for. It’s very difficult to do that on your own. So having an accountability partner or a place where you can go and know somebody is going to help you set those goals,” said McFarland.

For those unsure of where to begin, Avera offers a new member journey, which starts with a Polar BodyAge assessment.

“What that can help us do is it takes a bunch of health metrics and scores to see kind of where you’re at. So if you know if you’re strong in one area or if you’re weak in one area, we can really help look at that more in tune and help you become stronger in that regard,” said Little.

From there, staff can help you come up with a road map to health.

Debelak wants everyone to know there is hope. All you have to do is take the first step.

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