Meet Siobhan Barros-Limón, a San Francisco-based One Medical member since 2009. As editor of the One Medical blog, I occasionally have the opportunity to meet some of our members and learn about their health experiences. Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time with Siobhan, and I was so inspired by her positivity, candor, and her commitment to improving her health. I think you will be, too. Enjoy!
Siobhan, what would you like to talk about today?
I’ve dealt with a range of health issues since joining One Medical, including my weight, and, more recently, preparing to start a family. I’m excited to share my experience.
Tell me about your weight-loss struggles.
It’s been a cyclical thing most of my life. For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve been the fat girl. In college, I loved running and playing soccer, but I was still heavy. Gaining weight by itself almost never results in my taking an action. It usually interferes in something that I want to do before I address it. There was a period where I couldn’t run, for example, which made me decide that it was time to tackle the weight I’d gained. I was at my smallest about three and a half years ago, when I won a “biggest loser” challenge at work. I lost about 60 pounds. There have been hills and valleys–I’ll drop 20 pounds, then gain 15. I was at my biggest about two years ago, when I put the 60 pounds back on. I was promoted and began to work a lot more. I was under a lot more stress. I didn’t create room for exercise and eating well with my new schedule.
How much did you weight at your heaviest and how much do you weigh now?
At my heaviest, I was 235 pounds. Currently I’m at 215.
What’s different this time around?
I want to have a healthy pregnancy. That’s one of my main motivations for losing the weight now, and why I’m so dedicated this time around. My best friend went through a terrible time: She was overweight to begin with, and when she became pregnant, she developed gestational diabetes. I don’t want that to happen to me. I want to get my body ready. My goal weight is 140 pounds, which is a long way off! Diet is the hardest part of the equation for me. I’ve tried so many things–no dairy, no wheat, no carbs. The biggest difference is that I’m now focused on making healthy changes that are sustainable, not just quick ways to lose weight. I want to break the pattern of losing and gaining.
What’s your experience at One Medical been like so far?
The primary reason I joined was to deal with my weight gain. I’d gained 50 to 70 pounds, and I wanted to understand why that was happening. I saw many doctors who didn’t work out before I found Dr. Milo, who is now my provider at One Medical. The first thing he asked me was, “What do you want to get out of this relationship?” I was shocked! Usually doctors ask, “What’s the problem?” Every doctor I’d ever seen related to me like I was a problem, something that needed to be fixed. At One Medical, I’m treated like a person, not a problem. One moment can make such a huge difference. My conversation with Dr. Milo forever altered how I related to my health–it made me feel in control. I’d never felt that before.
Let’s talk about exercise. What kinds of activities do you enjoy?
Running! A year and a half ago, I ran the San Francisco marathon.
Thanks! I love running, but I love running fast and hard–and that wasn’t sustainable–it caused problems with my knees and with my ankles.
What’s your exercise routine like now?
Now I play soccer on Sundays. I do Bikram yoga and kickboxing.
What are some health tips that have stuck with you?
For one, do things you love to do: I learned that training for the marathon. While I loved to run, I realized that running that much was too much work. I needed something fun, like soccer–I’ve played since I was 10 years old. It’s not about the exercise, it’s about soccer. I just enjoy it. Two: Make a game of it. I like competing with people and doing fun things. Three: In terms of eating, keep it simple. Diets with lots of rules–like, you can eat this but not that–aren’t easy to follow. Four: Create a schedule and stick to it. My husband and I calendar exercise and don’t cancel or plan over activities. It’s made a big difference in my energy level. Finally: Allow yourself to splurge once in a while. Enjoy it. Don’t think of it as “cheating.” That concept–cheating–robs the joy from the splurge.
How does your relationship help you keep your health on track?
My husband, Tony (also a One Medical member), and I make promises to each other and hold each other accountable. About two years ago, we started tackling our weight together. First we tried Nutrisystem. It worked for me, but he hated it. A high-carb diet wasn’t working for him; he had trouble sleeping. His One Medical doctor recommended a Paleo diet. Tony has lost nearly 80 pounds now, which is incredible. Seeing him do it, I see that it doesn’t have to be torture. He doesn’t have a problem saying “no” to certain foods. I was surprised to learn that people don’t mind when you say “no” if they know you’re doing it for your health.
You recently acquired a Fitbit. Tell me how it plays a role in your health.
The Fitbit is a tremendous help; I lost six pounds in the first week! I attribute it to knowing how much I’m actually moving–versus how much I think I’m moving. I love being able to track how active I am day to day. Looking at the trends, I discovered that I move more during the week than on weekends, which prompted me to focus on being more active on weekends. And the badges you can earn are great motivation. They engage my competitive side!
Are you a One Medical member? We’d love to hear from you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be profiled.