Safe and Healthy Me — Stories from Alaskans

Daniel's Story

You could call Daniel a busy man.

At 29 years old, Daniel works full time in Anchorage. He also is a husband and a father of three young boys. Oh, and he’s a university student, working toward a bachelor’s degree through the University of Alaska.

Over time, he’d become more sedentary, chose foods that weren’t the healthiest options and gained weight. He struggled to climb up the stairs to his third-story apartment.

“I shouldn’t be out of breath for just walking up steps,” he decided.

Knowing he was busy, Daniel figured out ways to make time when time seemed to be already booked. Here’s how he did it:

Daniel’s solutions are low- or no-cost ways to eat better and move more. They can keep him on track to his goal.

A few years ago, he joined the Weight Watchers at Work program through his office. It was a free option that would help him be accountable for his weight loss and find online tools for recipes and tracking progress. Daniel lost 75 pounds after joining the program, improving his diet and increasing his physical activity.

Daniel’s got to get to work one way or another. In spring and summer, he chose to bike there and back – ensuring an hour of exercise every day.

He has an hour-long lunch break, so he eats a meal at his desk and then spends the rest of his break walking around downtown Anchorage, finding his way to the coastal trails and nearby parks. That’s another 30 minutes of exercise each day. He’s even rallied his coworkers to join him, giving them a social way to be active together.

What’s in his lunch box? Daniel and his family have tried to stay on a food budget, but still make the healthiest choices. One way to do that is to eat frozen fruits and vegetables – which are available year-round, have a long shelf-life and can be easily prepared. He packs baggies of frozen produce and brings them to work to defrost and eat as part of his lunch. His family meals now center on homemade foods, rather than packaged and processed meals. When they shop, they read the ingredients on the food labels.

“If the words are the ones that we don’t understand, we don’t usually buy it,” he said.

All of Daniel’s solutions are low- or no-cost ways to eat better and move more. They can keep him on track to his goal – falling below 200 pounds so he can end up in the healthy weight range for his height.