Milestone birthday inspires weight loss


Jim Caskey’s weight had been bothering him for years. Every year, he seemed to gain an additional pound he couldn’t lose. For each of his children’s weddings, he thought he’d try to lose 10 pounds, but then he didn’t.

“It bummed me out,” Jim said. “My kids thought I’d given up.”

Age turned out to be the motivator. When his older brother turned 60, Jim knew this milestone was coming up next for him. He decided to achieve his goals before his birthday. The restrictions that came with the pandemic in the spring only made Jim more determined.

“I wasn’t going out to eat. I wasn’t traveling. I could control my diet and my exercise plan.”

He started in April. Jim’s activity was mostly centered around playing tennis, biking and golf – activities he enjoyed with other people. Adding running, weights and yoga helped strengthen his heart, build muscle and increase his flexibility. He still does the fun stuff – tennis, biking and golf. He credits yoga with improving his tennis and golf games.

Early on, Jim’s wife Lisa said she wanted to make changes with him. For their anniversary in June, they bought a tandem bike. When their efforts stopped working for Lisa, they decided to take advantage of the wellness coaching available to them through the Get Fit Get Healthy (GDGH) program. Jim carries responsibility for Goshen Health’s Business Health Advantage, which includes GFGH, but he hadn’t experienced the coaching part of the program firsthand before.

“I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about nutrition,” Jim said. “Our coach Tara got to know us and our goals. Tara helped us individualize our efforts to fit our differences. We sent her a food diary of what we were eating. She looked at Lisa’s medication and gave good counsel. Intermittent fasting didn’t work as well for Lisa, but I like it.”

Jim eats only between noon and 8 p.m. Choosing this approach frees him from having to be as careful with his carbohydrate intake. He now reads labels and pays attention to the fiber content. Overall, he eats food he enjoys, but he eats moderate servings.

Two other changes Jim made were to give up his morning sugared coffees and his bedtime snacks.

“I was addicted to sugar,” he said. “I had to have my coffee sugar drinks. I’ve trained myself to have coffee with one cream, no sugar. I’ve developed a taste for it. Now I don’t crave sweets.”

Changing what he ate also led to consuming more protein, water and bulky vegetables to increase the feeling of being full. “I’ve learned not to mistake thirst for hunger. I can stop eating when I’m satisfied,” Jim said.

“I’ve been really impressed by Jim’s dedication. He always asked great questions and took notes during our sessions, and he’s succeeding! You can see how much he cares about his health,” said Tara Kupty, Wellness Clinician for Get Fit-Get Healthy.

Jim has lost 20 pounds, and Lisa has lost 12. “My clothes don’t fit,” he said. “The energy I have is unbelievable to me! I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for years.”

Image: Jim and Lisa Caskey, Goshen, riding their tandem on vacation in Connecticut.