Steven Maloney is about 100 pounds overweight. He wants to lose a lot of weight because he is not happy with how he looks and his knees hurt when he goes up and down stairs. According to his doctor, he should lose weight because he is at risk for heart disease and many other complications. During his yearly checkup, Steven was scared to hear that he was so unhealthy and wanted more information to get healthier.

Steven knows that he needs to improve his diet if he is going to lose any weight. The problem is that he doesn’t like healthy foods. He does, however, love all of the foods that are bad for him, like pizza, burgers, fries, nachos, and beer.

“I love salty and fatty foods,” Mr. Maloney says, “but vegetables just don’t taste very good to me.”

Steven’s doctor said he should eat about 200 fewer grams of starches every day and stay away from so many animal fats. Also, the only way to get the vitamins he needs is by introducing many more fruits and vegetables into his daily meals.

bowl of fresh fruit

“When we want to snack,” explains his doctor, “the best things to eat are a piece of fresh fruit, because they are filled with nutrients; proteins and healthy fats like those found in cashews, almonds, avocados, and coconuts; and raw vegetables, like green or red peppers, carrots, and broccoli with very small amounts of dressings or veggie dips.”

Steven’s doctor also said that he will need to exercise a lot more. “Everyone should increase their heart rate for at least a half-hour a day, three to five days a week,” the doctor reports, “In Mr. Maloney’s case, he’ll want to exercise about five days a week for the first six months, until he loses a significant amount of the weight he needs to lose. From there, he can maintain a healthy, low weight with just a standard three or four days of weekly exercise.

Steven goes home form the doctor’s office and looks in the mirror. He feels very unhappy with his image and decides that he will take the doctor’s advice. He promises himself that he will exercise more and eat more healthily. Steven Maloney decides to buy a gym membership and joins an aerobics class that meets two days a week. On the other three days, he rides a stationary bike and walks on the treadmills.

Produce at a Farmer’s Market

When Mr. Maloney goes to the supermarket, he buys at least half of his groceries from the produce department, just like his doctor had recommended. In the summertime, he goes to the farmer’s markets for fresh fruit and vegetables. He goes online and looks up tasty recipes for preparing vegetables so that he won’t be bored with their flavor. Steven avoids the burgers and fries that he used to eat so often and snacks on the healthy alternatives that his doctor said would contribute to his weight loss.

It takes about three weeks before Steven begins to notice the results. But when he steps on the scale in mid-February, he is so happy to have lost 8 pounds that he screams out, “woohoo!” Later on that day, he goes to the gym for his aerobics class and is smiling throughout the whole class, happy that he is on his way to achieving his goal.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Do you think Steven will reach his goal of losing 100 pounds? Why or why not?

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2. What is motivating Steven to lose weight?

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3. What are three things that Steven’s doctor suggests for losing weight?

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Writing

Write an essay about a healthy goal that you would like to achieve. Discuss what is motivating you to change. Identify where you can get good advice and support. List the steps you need to take.

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