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Alec Murray

Man’s weight loss benefits couple

  • Alec enjoys fishing and boating but the extra weight was taking a toll on his health (Spring 2017).
  • Alec and Polly take several trips each year to Disney properties. Walking around Animal Kingdom in Spring 2018 was easier for Alec after he had lost some weight following CentraCare's Weight Management program.
  • Alec rewarded himself with a new motorcycle once he hit the 50-pound weight loss mark in Summer 2018.

To say that Alec and Polly Murray are big fans of Disney would be an understatement. Classified as “adult Disney lovers,” they travel to one of the Disney properties several times each year.

But in early 2017, they had to slow down due to Alec’s health issues related to atrial fibrillation, comprised kidney function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. At five foot, two inches and 255 pounds, Alec was considered “morbidly obese” on the body mass index (BMI) scale. He knew his weight was affecting his health and changes were overdue.

He started on CentraCare’s Medical Weight Management program, using meal substitutes and guidance from a dietitian, exercise specialist, social worker and regular lab testing. “When you come to the program, you have to be accountable so you think twice about what you are eating,” Alec says. “But once you start losing weight, there are rapid rewards visible on the scale and tape measure.”

By the end of 2017, he had shed 60 pounds. “I didn’t start the program kicking and screaming because I knew I needed to lose weight to improve my health,” Alec notes.

Polly has found the program beneficial as well. “I figured if he is going to eat better than I might as well join him.” She’s down about 20 pounds even though she is not using the meal substitutes.

A new lifestyle

Married for 47 years and residing in Clearwater, they’ve worked together to adjust recipes and modify their approach to eating out. They make and freeze large batches of soups and chili so they always have something healthy on hand.  Alec confessed to not being a big fruit and vegetable fan but has grown to love foods with onions, peppers and celery, and enjoys fresh cantaloupe and strawberries.

The couple continues to enjoy the benefits of Alec’s weight loss. His atrial fibrillation is under control with medication. He no longer uses a portable oxygen concentrator for shortness of breath or takes a prediabetes medication and his AC1 (diabetes test) is in the normal range.

“I’ve learned to shop at Savers because my clothes were way too big and my sizes were changing rapidly,” says Alec, noting his pant size has dropped from 52 to 44.   

They take advantage of their Fit and Silver membership at the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA by using the treadmill, lifting weights and relaxing in the hot tub or steam room. They both have more energy to enjoy their Disney trips.

Losing weight and making lifestyle changes is an ongoing journey and Alec has seen the scale creep up about 20 pounds while traveling and moving toward “real” food instead of meal substitutes. He’s continuing with regular visits to the CentraCare Weight Management outreach site within Lifestyle Health at the Y and increased his exercise routine.

The couple is also busy planning their next trips to Disney and are looking forward to fishing and boating at their travel trailer lake lot on Fish Trap lake in Central Minnesota. “My long-term goal is to get to and stay under 200 pounds and I know this program will help me do that.”

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