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EIU Department of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

Success Stories

Barb Heitka

Barb Heitka

What made you want to make a change? 

I was tired of feeling too heavy, of not feeling comfortable /not looking good in my clothes, and I wanted to be able to run/be active again.


What changes/commitments did you make? 

I changed my diet – mostly eating meats, fruits, and vegetables.  While I had been fairly wheat and gluten free for a while without seeing much of a change, I added trying to avoid all forms of corn from my diet.  This made a big difference for me.  I also became more dedicated to working out daily. 


What role did the AF program make in helping you along the way?

I had made a little progress when my re-evaluation came due in October.  Jess asked if I wanted to have a submaximal VO2 test and mentioned that I could have a 12-week progress check if I thought that might help me with accountability.  I did both.  She was also very encouraging in every aspect.  I have attended almost every morning since then and work on my own on the weekends.


What does your current exercise routine look like?

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I walk or run a couple of miles before I do 20-40 minutes on the elliptical.  I alternate between an interval workout and the fat burner workout program.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to get 4-5 miles in.  I have attended Pilates some; it depends on how much time I have.  On the weekends I run/walk 4-6 miles.


What advice would you give to others who want to make changes?

Be patient with yourself and try to schedule workout time when you will not find a reason to skip it.




Andy Cerven



 What made you want to change?

I had been doing AF since March 2011 and my weight stayed the same, even though I may have lost 5 lbs during the year, it would not stay off for the entire year.  Even though I did AF 3 times a week for an average of 60 minutes, I continued to eat whatever I wanted because "I was exercising."  Severe knee pain increased in the Spring of 2014 and the shots and oral medication weren't getting the job done.  A total knee replacement was recommended and the life of the replacement could be extended by carrying less weight.   In May, my insurance company came out with a program to help people who wanted to lose at least 20 pounds.  


What changes /commitments did you make? 

The program centered on recording everything that was eaten and keeping track of total fat and calories consumed. My weight loss goal was a 7% reduction of my current weight.  A series of online information lessons were available to assist in finding out facts about eating habits, fat and calories in the foods we normally eat, types of snack foods, and other social and physical activities that result in eating excess calories.  After completing the third lesson, the program sent me a pedometer which recorded 7 days of steps, calories burned and minutes of moderate physical leg activity.  The program wanted you to perform 60 minutes of physical activity each day.  In addition the program wanted you to have 10,000 steps each day.  The AF program worked into this program beautifully, as I increased my time to 70 minutes on MWF and increased my treadmill speed by .5 mph and increased my distance as a result with more steps.  Outside of AF I did more walking to get my 10,000 steps.


Keeping track of what I ate and looking up the fat content of some food had made me question why I was eating it and if it was worth it.   The program assigned me a goal of 50 fat grams and 1800 calories per day.  I didn't always make the fat and calories goal as some days it was one or the other and not both.  Simply being aware of calories and fat in certain foods made it easy to avoid them.  Taking smaller portions with no seconds, and looking for alternative foods were ways that I was able to make changes.


What role did the AF program make in helping along the way? 

AF helped by having the facility open with the early starting time of 5:30 on MWF.  It also had staff and other AF members notice my weight loss and gave me positive reinforcement on how I looked.  They also wanted to know what I was doing different to lose the weight and inches. 


What is your current exercise routine? 

My current routine is getting 40-50 minutes on the treadmill walking at 3.8-4.5 mph at mostly 15% incline for 2.5-3.5 miles.   I then use resisting machines for 3 leg machines, 3 upper body and 1 abs machine for about 20 minutes.  Since the knee replacement, the leg machines have been slowly returning to pre-surgery weight levels.  


What advice would I give others who want to make changes? 

Have some short term goals. Get started on more activity, eat less of high fat and high calories food, do at least 60 minutes of activity each day.   Do activity with a friend, spouse, or group such as AF and do it at a specific time even if it is small time allotments several times a day.


Other information?

I lost over 40 pounds between end of May and end of November.   I also lost 4 inches in my waist and in my hips.  My weight is within 8 pounds of my weight when I was 20 yrs old and 3 years later when I was in the Army in basic training.  Now I have 2 extra pounds of metal in my knee that I didn't have then. 

Related Pages

Contact Information

Department of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

2506 Lantz Building
Charleston, IL
Fax: (217) 581-7973

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