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S p r i n g

E d i t i o n

All the craze

Dietitian explains the true cost of fad diets

Inside  Cardiologist aims to make more aware to dangers of obesity  Active hobbies such as bicycling, running can help get into shape  Local organization specializes in losing, keeping off weight

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com


S p r i n g

E d i t i o n



3 Heavy burden

19 Run to change habits

Local cardiologist warns of the stress and risks being obese has on hearts.

Experienced runner shares how his favorite hobby can lead to healthier lifestyle.

6 Lose weight, safely

22 Reversing diabetes

Dietitian explains how fad diets can be unbalanced or unhealthy.

Class aims to educate those diagnosed and shatter the myth that Type II diabetes can't be reversed.

12 Ride, lose together

24 Staying on top of it

Nonprofit organization helps residents achieve better health and eating habits..

Cyclists tout riding bicycles to keep weight down while having fun.

On the Cover Devon Beurie Photo: By Chesley Oxendine

2 0 2 0

S p r i n g

E d i t i o n

12 All the craze

Dietitian explains the true cost of fad diets

Inside  Cardiologist aims to make more aware to dangers of obesity  Active hobbies such as bicycling, running can help get into shape  Local organization specializes in losing, keeping off weight

MUSKOGEE muskogeephoenix.com


24 Spring Edition 2020

Obesity heightens risk for

heart disease Story and Photos by Wendy Burton


klahoma ranks 10th in the nation for obesity, according to the Trust for America's Health. Overall, the obesity rate is 34.8 percent, but more alarming is that the obesity rate for young adults 18-24 is 24 percent, and 40 percent for people ages 45-64, said Dr. Yee Se Ong, a local cardiologist. Ong said those numbers are worrisome for a number of reasons, and not only because diabetes is prevalent, too. "It's a serious problem in Oklahoma,

obesity by itself," he said. "But it can also lead to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease. And it also causes sleep apnea, which is also an indirect cause of heart problems. It puts a strain on the heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke." Being obese means a patient is more likely to develop circulation problems, too, he said, which can ultimately lead to amputation. "It's important to define obesity," Ong said. "We use two things to determine that: body mass index, or BMI, and waist

Healthy Living


Dr. Yee Se Ong, a cardiologist who is the president of CCOM Medical Group, visits with a patient during the heart imaging portion of a nuclear stress test done at his office.


Spring Edition 2020

measurement." The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal weight, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or higher is considered obese. BMI is calculated using a formula to find the ratio of the patient's weight to height. Women who have waist sizes larger than 35 inches and men whose waists are larger than 40 inches are considered obese. The American Heart Association says a 14-year study revealed that obese patients had a 72 percent increased risk of coronary artery disease and hyper-

tension is three times more common. Ong is a cardiologist and practices internal medicine, so he sees patients for a variety of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke and cancer — all of which he said can be impacted by or caused by obesity. "I encourage them to lose weight, to exercise," he said. "I stress the importance of losing weight as a preventative. But I also tell them that it's not something that is going to happen overnight. You have to be persistent." On a more positive note, Ong said his outlook on

Local cardiologist Dr. Yee Se Ong says he sees a big difference in preventative medicine since he first started practicing 40 years ago.

obesity and heart disease is brighter than it was when he began practicing 40 years ago. "I can see a big difference in preventative medicine since I first started practice. I think people are more aware about obesity," he said. "I am seeing a lot of 80- to 90-year-olds, and I think soon we will start seeing people 100 years old and more because of preventative medicine. We didn't have good cholesterol medications. Smoking was more prevalent, and we didn't have good diabetes control then. People who had heart disease didn't lead long lives, and I saw more needing bypass surgeries than I do today." Ong said with new medications on the horizon, the mortality rates from heart disease will be lowering. "We've made a whole lot of advances over the last 30 or 40 years," he said, "but I think overall prevention is very important. Reduce the weight, and exercise."

Healthy Living



Spring Edition 2020

E xpert:

fad diets

often ineffective Story and photos by Chesley Oxendine


ad diets often come with the promise of quick weight loss. Whether it's the low-carb, high-fat menus of keto and paleo diets or the variety of fruit smoothies on a liquid diet, the idea is that weight sloughs off pounds at a time. That's not a healthy way to lose weight, says Eastern VA Health System Dietitian Andrew Wunder. Fad diets also often prove fleeting and difficult to maintain. "Keto, for instance, sounds really cool because

you get to eat all the meat and cheese that you want, but when you cut out huge food groups, it’s difficult to keep up in social situations, for one, and two, you’re losing vitamins and minerals of nutritional value," Wunder said. "There goes a lot of B vitamins, there goes most fiber. So if you don’t add back in very specific non-starchy vegetables, problems start to develop. It sounds cliche, but you really can balance things without having to deprive yourself." It's not a totally worthless diet, however —

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Devon Beurie, RD/LD and outpatient dietitian for the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, sets up model food during a discussion of healthy eating.

keto can help teach people healthy habits for a more general diet, for example, Wunder said. "On keto, you pretty much cut out all sugar. That’s something I would agree with," Wunder said. "If people keep that lifestyle habit of keeping sugar consumption conservative, that’s a good thing."


Spring Edition 2020

Often, fad diets are so restrictive they become impossible to keep up with, Wunder said. "They tend to not work because restriction in general doesn’t work. It creates this good vs. bad idea that people associate with guilt and deprivation," Wunder said. "Any kind of a long-term lifestyle change tends to work better."

ABOVE: These food models are used to demonstrate what goes into a balanced meal: protein, carbohydrates, and good fats. RIGHT: The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center provides health guides for veterans attempting to lose weight and eat healthier.

What weight loss does occur could be entirely temporary, too, depending on how it was lost, Wunder said. "Again, using keto: your body uses carbs for fuel. So when you don’t eat them, your body loses the physical weight of no longer having stored carbs in your body," Wunder said. "Then, when they eat carbs again, the weight shoots back up because

now the body has carbs and that reinforces that carbs are bad, but it’s not telling you the whole picture." Vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy, Wunder said, but they still require people to be careful about what they eat. "You can meet your needs doing vegan and vegetarian, but on the opposite side of the coin, it might not equate to weight

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ABOVE: Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center employee Chris Beshears picks up lunch at the hospital's cafeteria. RIGHT: Fries aren't an every-meal item, but it's still okay to enjoy them and many other foods in moderation, said Dietitian Andrew Wunder, adding that diets are less about restriction and more about balanced meals.


Spring Edition 2020

Don't neglect the protein: even on more restrictive diets, salads often feature cheese and eggs to provide protein and fats for a balanced meal.

loss," Wunder said. "For example, potato chips are vegan and vegetarian, as are Oreos. Soda: same thing." Restrictive diets can be a good way to start weight loss, but people have to maintain healthy habits — and exercise — to keep the weight off afterward, Wunder said. "If they can avoid the truly unhealthy things, they can keep the weight off, especially if they exercise, too. People focus on the diet alone, but exercise is important, too," Wunder said. "We’re becoming way more sedentary." Ultimately, balanced diet and frequent exercise will produce the best results for weight loss and overall health, Wunder said. "Weight loss specifically is energy output versus intake. But the factors that affect that are complicated, and there’s a lot of depth there," he said. "If you can moderate things, it is possible to still lose weight and eat the things you enjoy."

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to improve health


Spring Edition 2020

Local cyclists offer fun way to keep pounds down Story by Chesley Oxendine

Healthy Living


Bicyclist Vicki Herringshaw rides with Groove Riders group around Muskogee. Herringshaw says bicycling is a "fun way to keep weight down."


icyclist Gail Tackett says cycling with the Groove Riders group is "exercise that doesn't feel like exercise." Tackett joined other cyclists for a Sunday afternoon ride along Muskogee's Centennial Trail. The trail goes from the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, sweeps around the Love-Hatbox Sports Complex and ends on Main Street south of the Shawnee Bypass, a total of 7 1/2 miles.


Spring Edition 2020

The Groove Riders hit the Centennial Trail often. When weather allows, participants meet at 2 p.m. Sundays behind Muskogee Civic Center to ride together, said Vicki Herringshaw, who rides with the group. Bicycling is a fun way to keep weight down, Herringshaw said. It's especially fun when you ride as a group. "When you ride with other people, you have consistency," Herringshaw said. "They expect you to be there. You're more likely to stick to your conviction of meeting and stick to the

Charles Lienhart and Gail Tackett unload bikes before setting off on a 15-mile "Groove Ride" on the Centennial Trail.

exercise. And it's more fun to do it as a camaraderie." Herringshaw said cycling together "really works on improving your spirit, along with the physical exercise." "You're out in the fresh air and in a group," she said. Tackett said she was looking for a good way to exercise, "I found the group and joined up with them," she said. "Vicki was already in it, and I made a lot of friends." People can keep up with group rides by following the Muskogee Area Cycling Facebook page.

"The Facebook page is mostly a forum to meet up, join up and have others ride with you," Herringshaw said. Three types of group rides are usually listed, she said. In the "Eazy Breezy" ride, the riders set the time and distance of each trip. It's the best group for beginning cyclists, Herringshaw said. "There's not set length of time and no set speed," she said. "It's open to anybody, and nobody gets left behind." The Groove Riders go up and down the Centennial Trail,

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a 15-mile round trip. Herringshaw said riders usually go 9 to 11 miles an hour. Fast group riders do their cycling on streets, riding 20 to 30 miles, usually around 15 miles per hour, she said. "In summer time, they mostly ride Tuesdays and Thursdays," Herringshaw said. "They are more summer-oriented." She said the Eazy Breezy and Groove Riders can ride year-round, "as long as it's not below 40 or above 90 degrees." Groups will host evening rides after Daylight Savings Time begins March 8, she said. Charles Lienhart said he always rode bikes when he was younger. "Off and on, I just kept on riding. It's just a really good exercise," he said. "It keeps you from gaining


Spring Edition 2020

Gail Tackett, left, and Vicki Herringshaw set off on a Sunday afternoon group Groove Ride.

(weight), I'd say." Lienhart, Tackett and Herringshaw rode road bikes with narrow tires on a recent trip. Lienhart said he sometimes rides a hybrid bike, with fatter tires. "A lot of people have different types of bikes," he said. Herringshaw said it doesn't matter what type of bike you have for the fun rides. The faster group mostly ride bikes with thinner tires, she said. "Proper" attire is not important on the fun rides, she said. Riders should secure pant legs to keep from getting caught in chains, she said. "If they go very far, they should wear the padded bicycle pants," she said. And always wear a helmet, Herringshaw advises.

Healthy Living



Spring Edition 2020

calories 'fast' Kolb touts health benefits of running UPCOMING RACES • Okie Half, March 14, Hatbox Sports Complex. Half marathon and 5K. Information: www.okiehalf.com. • Muskogee Run, April 11, Honor Heights Park. 15K and 5-kilometer races, as well as a fun run. Information: Muskogee Running Club Facebook Page.

Story and photos by Cathy Spaulding


ver the years, Jon Kolb noticed something interesting about running. It burns calories fast. "One of the things that seems to happen is the more you run, the more muscle you build, which means you're going to burn more fat, more calories," Kolb said. Running plays a key role in Jon Kolb's health and hobby regimen. He runs to train for distance races, as well as triathlons — races that also include cycling and swimming. He said running seems to burn calories faster than

swimming or cycling. "Running helps me keep the weight down the most. I don't understand why," he said. "Swimming, you have a lot of moving parts involved, but running it seems like it burns more calories, makes you thinner. I don't know why that is." Running can change other habits. "One of the other things that happens with running is that you spend so much time and effort running that you don't want to ruin it by eating bad food," Kolb said. "So you kind of lean towards the healthy side."

• Waterloop Trail Run in August at Honor Heights Park, featuring 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer race. No date set. Information: Muskogee Running Club Facebook page. • Port to Fort Adventure Race, Aug. 15. Featuring swimming, a trail run, kayaking and other events. Information: Muskogee Running Club Facebook Page. • Garden of Lights Run, Dec. 12, Honor Heights Park. Information: Muskogee Running Club Facebook Page. Information: Joel Everett, (918) 684-6302.

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Jon Kolb hits the treadmill when it gets too cold or rainy for him to run outside. He said he does interval training on the treadmill.

Anyone can get into the running habit, he said. "Start slow," Kolb said. "Work your way up to jogging and then running, just so you won't get injured." Setting goals also helps, he said. The online running program Couch to 5K (www.c25k.com) can help people set running goals, he said. He suggested various stretches to help prepare for a run. For example, sitting with the bottoms of feet together, close to the trunk, helps with thigh muscles. Other stretches help the hamstrings. Kolb began running competitively when he ran cross country in junior high school. "I was pretty small back then. I'm not small now," he said. He said he often runs in his neighborhood, even when it gets chilly. "I bundle up, put a stocking cap on, gloves," he said. He hits the treadmill if the weather turns too bad. He does a 10-minute warm-up then sets the treadmill for intervals. Kolb has run competitive distance races, including the Okie Half-Marathon and the Oklahoma City half marathon. However, there are lots of running opportunities and events in Muskogee, said Joel Everett, special projects coordinator with Muskogee Parks and Recreation. Everett works with the Muskogee Running Club to coordinate local events. They include: • Okie Half, March 14 at Hatbox Field.

20 Spring Edition 2020

Competitive runner Jon Kolb shows how stretching quad muscles helps him prepare for running.

It will feature a half-marathon and a 5-kilometer race. • Muskogee Run, April 11. It will have 15-kilometer and 5-kilometer races, as well as a fun run. • Waterloop Trail Run in August at Honor Heights Park, featuring 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer race. • Garden of Lights Run on Dec. 12, a 5-kilometer races at Honor Heights Park. Everett said the Muskogee Run is a road race. "It's a spring race that kind of gets people something to shoot for, coming off of winter," he said. "A lot of people are training for longer races, too, so the 15K gives them something to race for." Waterloop is a shorter trail run along the dirt trails up and down Honor Heights Park. "It's a difficult race, but it's an introduction to longer trail running," Everett said. Muskogee Running Club posts upcoming events on its Facebook page. "It's kind of a forum for running questions and bravado, what have you," Everett said, adding that many other local organizations and schools also host races and fun runs.

Healthy Living



Reversing Diabetes

2. 3. 4. 5.


Tami Milligan Milligan is a registered nurse who lives and works in Muskogee, answers questions about her class, Reversing Diabetes, that she will conduct in April.

How did this class start?

"I am new to the community, and as a nurse I am passionate about sharing cutting-edge, researchdriven lifestyle adjustments that naturally treat, and in many cases, reverse diabetes and it’s baleful effects on health."

When is the next class? How often does it meet? "April 2020. One hour a week for eight weeks."

What tips can you provide for reversing diabetes?

"The interventions and lifestyle directives that are shared can be done by anyone committed to healing."

Do you have recipes for those wanting to reverse diabetes? "We provide food samples and recipes at every meeting!"


Spring Edition 2020

What is most common myth about diabetes?

"People believe that once diagnosed with diabetes, it is a lifelong disease than cannot be reversed. This is just not true. Type ll Diabetes can be reversed. Type I Diabetes can, in many cases, be treated by oral medication or greatly reduce the amount of insulin required."

— Cathy Spaulding Healthy Living


Take Off Pounds Sensibly

TOPS Muskogee leader Kim Miller holds up three charts used by the nonprofit organization to monitor a member's progress. Members fill out the charts at the weekly meeting. Members are rewarded for weight loss during the week.

Story and photos by Kenton Brooks


rika Self knew she had to do something about her weight. "I had high cholesterol and was taking medicine for that," she said. "I wanted to lose weight and be healthier." Self said she weighed 341 pounds. "I ate candy bars and fatty foods," the Muskogee resident said. She joined the local chapter of TOPS — Take Off Pounds Sensibly — in August along with her mother. They have helped her and continue to do so. She attends the 90-minute weekly meetings (5:30-7 p.m.) on Tuesdays at the Presbyterian Church of Muskogee. Self now weighs 233 pounds. The soft-spoken 39-year-old woman has lost 108 pounds. And she wants to lose more. "I want to get down to 220 by May," said the dietary aide at Dogwood Creek Retirement Center. "My goal is to get under 185. I don't have any junk food. I drink a lot of water, eat healthy food

24 Spring Edition 2020

Erika Self of Muskogee has been a member of the Muskogee chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly since August and weighs 233 pounds after weighing 341 pounds. Her goal is to get to 185 pounds. She credits the nonprofit organization for her better health and eating habits. The Muskogee chapter is 27 years old while TOPS is 72.

and walk at work. "It was pretty hard to lose the weight. I took it one day at a time. I feel happy and more energetic. I'm enjoying life. When I lost all of that weight, I only take a half of a pill now for my cholesterol." Self credits TOPS for her weight loss.

"They're kind of like a support group," she said. "They keep me encouraged." That's exactly how Kim Miller, the chapter leader for three years, describes what TOPS does. They have a good time at their weekly meetings. For instance,

TOPS chapter leader Kim Miller, left, conducts the weekly meeting of the nonprofit organization at First Presbyterian Church of Muskogee.

if somebody gains weight between weekly meetings, other members say "Ha ha." "If you've ever been to Weight Watchers, and I don't know exactly what they do any more, but we make it fun," Miller said. "We don't want you to come in here and be like a bump on the log. We want to get people involved. We also have a gift wrapped with layers of string. If you lose or maintain your weight, you get to draw a string. The person who draws the last string gets the gift and has to buy a gift for the next week." TOPS, Miller said, is 72 years old, and the Muskogee chapter is 27. Chapters of the nonprofit organizations are all over the state and country. "It's everywhere," she said. "We have chapters in Alaska

Healthy Living


and Australia." TOPS also includes another aspect of its organization, known as KOPS. Keep Off Pounds Sensibly rewards those who keep off their weight, said Miller, a member of the Muskogee chapter since 2006. The chapter counts 27 members "17 to 21 show up on a good week," she said. Cindy McAdoo is a charter member, joining in 1997. She lost 43 pounds in her first year and maintains her membership and attends the weekly meetings. "It's a good support group," she said. "Its an awesome opportunity to meet people who struggling with the same thing. They really help and motivate you and keep you straight." TOPS also helps people with diets. They have cooking demonstrations and "eat healthy" programs, as well. "We want to keep people involved," Miller said.


Spring Edition 2020

TOPS Leader Kim Miller hands out awards to three members of the Muskogee chapter who lost the most weight in 2019. The women, from left, are Micky Holman, who lost 14 pounds, Pat Self (21 pounds) and Erika Self (14.2 pounds). The Selfs are mother and daughter.

Healthy Living


Profile for muskogeephoenix

Healthy Living — Spring 2020  

• Cardiologist aims to make more aware to dangers of obesity • Active hobbies such as bicycling, running can help get into shape • Local or...

Healthy Living — Spring 2020  

• Cardiologist aims to make more aware to dangers of obesity • Active hobbies such as bicycling, running can help get into shape • Local or...