Dr. John A. Kearney, Jr. joins the team of experts...

News Archive (2010)

Dr. John A. Kearney, Jr. joins the team of experts for the "10-week Get Healthy Series" with The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com.

Our expert team will help you lose weight and get fit

Connie Midey - Mar. 8, 2010 03:46 PM
The Arizona Republic

More than the start of a new year, spring is the season of hope.

There's time, we hope, to look our trim-and-glowing best for the class reunion this summer. Time to get in shape for volleyball on the beach or a hike in Sedona's Boynton Canyon. Time to lower blood pressure and cholesterol before our annual physical and the inevitable (and, yes, deserved) doctor's lecture that follows.

Time to get with the program.

Today, The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com begin a 10-week series that could give you the impetus you've been looking for since throwing up your hands in despair of ever reaching the health goals you set every Jan. 1.

Nine experts, including a psychologist and a Watchers group leader, in the roles of best friends who tell you what you need - but may not want - to hear, will act as health and fitness coaches for 10 Arizonans.

The 10 have volunteered to share their stories in the coming Sundays. You may recognize your life in theirs and in the obstacles to good they wrestle with.

You'll meet people with not enough time to exercise or to plan and cook healthful meals. Whose stress drives them to reach for the remote control and a pint of Ben & Jerry's after work and errands and household chores finally are finished for the day. Who yearn for a little motivation and support.

And you might feel motivated to follow in their footsteps as they test the advice and encouraging words directed to them by the experts, some of whom have been there themselves.

Physician Emily Zaragoza Lao, medical director of the Family Medicine Center at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, gained 80 pounds while pregnant with her first son. At the start of her second pregnancy, she still carried 50 of the excess pounds.

"I had a grandmother who always said, 'You're eating for two, dear,' and a doctor who never told me 80 pounds was too much to gain," Zaragoza says. "And I was in medical school, in residency, and there really wasn't enough time to exercise and diet."

Life became even more demanding as she and her husband raised their sons, now teenagers, and she pursued a master's degree in business administration and dealt with health scares of her own, all the while practicing medicine.

Losing the weight wasn't easy, nor was maintaining the loss. But her struggle has inspired many patients in the years since, including a 78-year-old woman who recently lost 50 pounds. Zaragoza hopes it will do the same for the 10 project participants - and for you, following along at home.

Dr. John Kearney, sports-medicine specialist

The CORE Institute (Center for Orthopedic Research and Education), six Arizona locations; medical director, Arizona Sports Medicine Society. thecoreinstitute.com

"Prioritize spending the necessary time, energy and money on eating right and staying active. Ultimately, this investment in your health will help you live a more fulfilling, fruitful and productive life."