Holistic Weight Loss, Cool 5Ks, Fat Rankings

Nancy Fleming before (left) and afterNancy’s Journey

Please tell me you remember the TV show “thirtysomething.” You do, right? You need to know: I loved the show and I watched it as if the 30-somethings were my friends. The truth? I was in college. What on Earth did I think I had in common with these people? Was it my connection with them as fellow Philadelphians? Was I so impressionable? I will never know why, but I was a loyal fan.

Recently, I met a woman who looked a lot like the actress who played the part of Nancy Weston. And guess what? Her name is Nancy, too, and she knew what it was like to not feel one’s age.

Nancy Fleming had big plans for her 50th birthday. She was going to run the New York City Marathon. After a pre-training physical, Nancy was told she should find a new way to celebrate her milestone. “Clogged arteries,” the doc said. “Your body cannot handle this.” Nancy became more aware of how disconnected she felt from her body and her ability to take care of it. Here she was, about to enter into an intense training regimen while her insides had other ideas.

- Advertisement -

Nancy told me she felt as if she was one age on the outside and another age on the inside. Her spirits began to sink. Then a friend made a surprising recommendation—to consult a plastic surgeon, Dr. Peter Coggins on Kennett Pike in Greenville.

I know what you are thinking. Why a cosmetic surgeon? The arteries are clogged, not the pores. But the surprises kept coming. After a consultation, Coggins developed a customized weight loss and physical fitness plan to help her gain control and see results. Coggins introduced Nancy to Anthuan Maybank, a former Olympic Track gold medalist and personal trainer. Nancy lost 25 pounds within the first three months. She began eating different foods, ordering customized dishes at restaurants and strengthening her core, which any runner will tell you is key.

One might question the choice of working with a plastic surgeon regarding issues such as nutrition and exercise, but Nancy liked the surgeon’s holistic approach that set it apart from other programs. It was not about which surgery she could choose or how soon to have it, it was about overall wellness and, like the NYC marathon, it was about making new choices and meeting new goals.

So I decided that since “thirtysomething” is no longer on TV, Nancy’s journey would be my new show of choice (after “Dexter,” of course) and I would check in with her as she navigates through new goals and possibly revisiting old ones with new pathways.

I know what it is like to feel one age and be another. This morning I downloaded a picture of a cute guy on TV (“Dexter”) and I thought, ell, I may be fortysomething, but my insides are fourteensomething.

- Partner Content -


Chew This Over

Do any of you ever wonder how they determine which cities get those “fattest” rankings? Are they actually using city lines to determine where the obesity stats begin and end? How can they determine that Philadelphians have unhealthy eating habits but not those in South Jersey or Northern Delaware?

I love the image of a Delawarean eating a cheesesteak in Wilmington with the full validation that it’s a healthy meal option. Here is another image: Everyone in Philly eating cheesesteaks, but the minute you enter Delaware, we are all eating apples and lettuce.

You know the ad campaign: “What happens in Vegas…” It’s as if the reports are saying that if you eat cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, that’s the problem. Other nearby cities? No, that’s fine.

So it turns out, according to a study by Men’s Health magazine, Philadelphia gets a grade of “D” for fattest city, and yet our own Wilmington gets a “B.”

- Advertisement -

How did the magazine assess the data? According to the editors at Men’s Health, they did the math by calculating:

  • the percentage of people who are overweight
  • the percentage of people with Type-2 diabetes
  • the percentage who haven’t left the couch in a month (CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
  • the money spent on junk food (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • the number of people who ate fast food nine or more times in a month (Mediamark Research)

So apparently, although our state is just miles away, Delawareans are being more active and eating less fast food meals. Is this true? Could it be?

While the city just to the north of us is working to get a better grade, Delaware has a plan to keep us at the top of the class. The Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living has been working hard to increase healthier living habits across all three of our counties.

The coalition focuses on projects around the state that will allow for people to be more active, such as developing walking trails and working with legislators to improve nutritional guidelines in Delaware schools.

I would love to hear how Texas plans to improve its grades—five of its cities were in the Top 10!


Running Deep

’Tis the season of the 5K! There are 24 different running events in May alone, including the Delaware Marathon Running Festival. Every weekend is packed with options. But I have a 5K confession to make: I had such an amazing catharsis the other day. Seriously, I feel older and wiser and, frankly, a little like Yoda. I realized that I had missed the boat on the true meaning of the 5K—I used to show up simply for the experience of running the race.

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008, I remember shouting,
“I have something that has its own 5K! But I run 5Ks!”

For many runners and walkers, 5Ks are great opportunities to run and train. I ran them, but I don’t know that I really considered their respective causes. I showed up, I got my number and I stretched.

Since my second MS relapse in 2009, I can no longer run or even walk an entire 5K. So my family and friends formed a team in my honor for the MS Walk. They called it “Team Hubcap” and trust me, the story behind the name warrants a blog entry of its own.

I went this year to cheer on the team and I discovered the obvious. The OBVIOUS. These 5Ks may be great venues to raise money for research and programs but what I realized was how beautifully they served to build community. Everywhere I looked were groups of families and friends walking in orange T-shirts and making a statement that MS is part of their lives, too.

Everyone seemed happy to wear the color orange regardless if it was truly their color. I realized I never looked at the people around me when I ran. I didn’t consider the community that they were coming to support or represent.

Now I couldn’t stop looking. I sat on the side and people-watched and waved and introduced myself to volunteers and absorbed a great deal of pride from the community event that was taking place—not just a 5K walk or run.

So I salute the participants who came to have a good workout or pace themselves for a particular training regimen. I am all for people who want to get up and move, especially because I struggle. But oddly enough, I felt more present while not moving at this event than I ever felt running at any of the others.

In case you are wondering how you can have a similar catharsis (which I hear can be calorie-burning) check out the 5Ks coming this weekend (see below) and for very important causes and—wait for it—communities.


Calendar of Events

Saturday, May 26

The Fourth Annual Kay’s Kamp 5K benefits Delaware’s Oncology Camp for Kids. Run or walk for Kay’s Kamp and you will help send a child diagnosed with cancer to camp for a week—for free.
Location: St. Andrews School, 350 Noxontown Road, Middletown, DE
Time: 9AM (registration opens at 8)
More info: 1-888-KEWF413 (539-3413)


The 2012 Run for the Ages 5K Run/Walk and Senior Stroll benefits the Wilmington Senior Center and all of its supportive, recreational and educational services and programs.
Location: Wilmington Senior Center, 1901 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE
Time: 9AM (registration opens at 8)
More Info: 302-651-3460


Sunday, May 27

The 4th annual Race for a Better Delaware 5K benefits the governor’s initiative to increase community volunteerism and the Delaware Youth Leadership Scholarship Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.
Location: Big Fish Grill on Wilmington Riverfront, 720 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE
Time: 9AM (registration opens at 8)
More info: flyons21@aol.com


Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.