By AnneCherise Jensen, Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Nutritionist
Kenn Johnson, member of the Colville Tribe and Tulalip Police officer for 11 ½ years, has spent the last year transforming himself into a happier and healthier version of himself. Also a member of the Tulalip Walking Club, Kenn has made a huge transformation in lifestyle change and has managed to lose an outstanding 66 pounds over the last year as a result. Kenn feels happier and healthier than he has in the last 20 years! Here is his story….
It was back in early 2016 when Kenn walked into the doctors and was told he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was at a very unhealthy weight, was suffering from chronic arthritis and had other serious medical conditions that put Kenn in a lot of pain and discomfort. At his heaviest weight, 287 lbs., Kenn was at the breaking point where he simply just wanted to give up on himself. This meant giving up his hobbies, his health, his dreams and his future. Kenn had tried many diet programs in the past where nothing seemed to consistently work, or consistently keep the weight off. Despite the fact, Kenn was a fighter and made the decision he wasn’t going give up. It wasn’t until a ferry ride home when Kenn ran into an old friend who had recently lost a lot of weight. On the ferry ride, they discussed the benefits of a diet and exercise program that had truly worked for her. It was a program that offered a health coach, a meal plan, and an accountability program. So on September 8th 2016, Kenn decided to take a chance and start the program.
Once starting the program, Kenn immediately changed his diet and quickly began seeing results. Kenn states, “It was the drastic change in my diet alone that helped me lose my first 40 pounds.” Kenn’s diet consisted of eating mostly whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Kenn also adds, “I put an alarm on my phone to go off every three hours. This reminded me to eat small, healthy snacks every three meals to keep my metabolism moving fast.” Other major changes Kenn made included completely cutting out high fructose corn syrup and other simple sugars out of his diet. Instead he replaced them with nutrient dense foods that kept him feeling properly fueled and energized throughout the day.
In early January, after receiving a Fit Bit for Christmas, Kenn also decided he wanted to become more active, so he began walking on a daily basis. Kenn’s first goal was to reach 8,000 steps a day, approximately 4 miles. He continually met his goal and made a new goal to reach 11,000 steps a day, approximately 5.5 miles. To this day, Kenn successfully averages 25-35 miles a week. “As soon as you get used to walking a lot, it’s like your body is on auto pilot and its gets easier every time,” says Kenn.
As a member of the Tulalip Walking Club, Kenn loves attending our walks and is an inspiration to other members of the club. Not only that, but he makes us all feel extra safe walking throughout the community. Thanks Kenn!
Overall, through diet and exercise Kenn claims that his quality of life has increased tremendously. His blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides are now at above healthy levels. He is thinner that he has ever been in the last 20 years, the pain from the arthritis is gone, and he has more energy and vitality. Kenn’s advice to anyone who wants to make a healthy lifestyle change is to JUST GO OUT AND DO IT! It’s an all-in commitment and it’s a choice. It’s not something that is going to happened over night, it’s not going to be easy, but there are so many incredible benefits to losing weight. “It was definitely worth all the pain and sweat,” Kenn states. “Not only are you losing weight, but the greatest benefits come from the unseen changes. The changes in mood, the changes in self-esteem, the medical benefits, the confidence and the courage to take on your fear. Anything seems possible now!”