August 2008

From Twinkies to terrific

TVA’s HealthCheck helped point Ryan Flatt in a healthier direction with terrific results.

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Ryan Flatt was on a dietary path of destruction.

In 2006, the 24-year-old Flatt, senior mechanical design technician in the Office of Environment & Research in Muscle Shoals, was carrying 220 pounds on a five-foot, 11-inch frame. His body-mass index, or BMI, was almost 30, compared to an ideal of 22, and he had 27 percent body fat.

Worse still, Flatt’s family health history included diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

“Taking HealthCheck was one of the most important things I have ever done,” says Flatt.

He admits the money caught his attention first. But then, the 2006 exam laid bare the truth.

“I was overweight, unhealthy and on a collision course with the very illnesses I feared most,” Flatt says. “My mother had just suffered a stroke in 2004.”

His first try at losing weight wasn’t that successful. “I wasn’t motivated,” he admits. “But after my 2007 HealthCheck, I discovered the book, The Abs Diet. I knew then, if I stuck it out for six weeks, I could do it. And I did.”

Critics call the Abs Diet a sensible eating-and-exercise plan that’s gimmick-free – eat more and smaller meals, have a nourishing breakfast, steer clear of sodas and sweets, etc. Flatt is now a trim 160 pounds. His body fat is just above 10 percent and his BMI is slightly above 22. “I feel awesome,” he says. “I have more energy at work and at home. My wife really enjoys the ‘new me.’”

Between the TVA Live Well Center and home, Flatt works out six days a week. For maximum effect, he alternates between cardio, weights and high-intensity bicycling and treadmill.

“What’s crazy about my weight challenge is not the food or the workouts; it is people accepting that I don’t do fast food, sodas or Twinkies anymore.”