Alex and Andy Parker.jpg

ANDY PARKER, left and Alex Parker, right, lost over 100 lbs. each during 2013. The two began watching what they eat and exercising regularly.

A new year is traditionally a time when people set goals to eat healthier and work out more.

Alex and Andy Parker, 27-year-old twins living in North Wilkesboro, lost over 100 lbs. each during 2013, after making a resolution to become healthier.

The twins, both employees of Lowe’s Companies, saw pictures of themselves from Christmas 2012 and didn’t like what they saw. They had played football at Guilford College, both as offensive linebackers weighing around 320 lbs. They also played football at East Davidson High School in Thomasville.

The Parkers say their eating habits were not the best in college, eating fast food and pizza frequently. But they had exercised regularly, so their weight stayed around where they wanted during college.

Graduation and an eight hour plus work day made working out regularly much more difficult, said Alex, a Contact Center Supervisor at the Lowe’s Companies in Wilkesboro.

“The weight just began to creep up and we became concerned about our health,” said Andy, a technical writer for Lowe’s Companies in Mooresville.

The two began their diet in February 2013 and an exercise program soon followed.  Their diet includes a lot of vegetables and lean proteins. The brothers cut out processed foods and foods with gluten, especially sweets and bread, soft drinks and some dairy products.

“We try to eat whole foods, not processed foods and look at labels constantly when we are shopping to avoid ingredients like corn syrup,” said Alex.

 “Eating in moderation, which means taking smaller serving sizes, is the key. Water is also very important,” said Andy.

“Six pack abs begin in the kitchen. You have to eat healthy if you ever want to have a six pack stomach,” said the Parkers.

The two caution that it takes a while to see results and stress the importance of exercise with eating healthily.

“You have to exercise for a consecutive period of time and not be self-conscious when you are in the gym or weight room,” said Alex.

The two run several miles a day and spend around an hour lifting weights at the Wilkes YMCA most days.

The rewards for a healthier lifestyle are obvious, say the twins, noting that it is a lifestyle change once you make the decision.

They say their energy level has increased and they feel healthier and stronger now. The camaraderie found at the gym is an added benefit.

“We have met a lot of people through working out,” say the Parkers.

Healthy weight loss program

The following information on a healthy weight loss program was provided by Jerri Mayberry, licensed registered dietician and certified diabetes educator at the Wilkes County Health Department.

She said the first step is to conduct an extensive evaluation of a weight management for the client’s usual food intake and habits at the health department’s diabetes and nutrition center.

“Then we try to zero in on some key foods or behaviors that would most assist the clients in reducing calories and increasing calorie burn,” said Mrs. Mayberry.

“We recommend balanced meals which include sensible portions of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat. We encourage clients to look at their eating habits and behaviors to evaluate if they can include certain comfort foods in their diet in small portions or do they need to completely avoid bringing the food into the home or making the purchase at all.

“If an individual feels they would do best by completely eliminating certain foods or food groups from their diet such as bread, eggs or dairy, then we try to work with them to develop meal plans that will include other foods or even supplements to supply any key missing nutrients,” said Mrs. Mayberry.

“Some clients report that when they completely cut out gluten in their diet, they successfully lost weight. However, the primary reason behind that is the large calorie deficit you create when you cut out traditional comfort foods containing gluten such as cookies, cakes, breads, pasta, chips and most cereal products.

“Similar gluten free replacement options are less available in the stores and are often too costly to have in large amounts.  The gluten free individual also usually increases fruit, vegetables and oats which are naturally gluten free, less calorically dense and better choices in general.”

For more information call the Wilkes County Health Department at 651-7450 or 667-0564.

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