Dennis Domrzalski, Reporter- Albuquerque Business First
In the fall of 2009, Stephen Forney had a Blackberry in his right hand and a triple-bacon cheeseburger in his left. He took a big bite of the Steak n’ Shake specialty and savored the melding of heavenly flavors: meat juice, grease, melted American cheese, onions, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato.
Forney, who worked for Ardent Health Services in Nashville, Tennessee, was in gastronomic ecstasy. That is, until his Blackberry flashed the results of a biometric screening he had had as part of Ardent’s wellness program.
Everything was wrong. Forney’s blood pressure was off the charts; so was his cholesterol. His blood sugar was too sugary, and he weighed 270 pounds — not good for a guy who is five-foot-eight.
Forney finished the burger and called his doctor to schedule a physical. “Your heart is good, but pretty much everything else isn’t,” the doctor told Forney.
Cut to 2014. Now, Forney, vice president and CFO of Lovelace Health System, weighs 184 pounds, runs marathons and routinely goes on 100-kilometer bike rides. He credits Lovelace’s wellness program, especially its bicycling and running teams, as one of the keys to his 86-pound weight loss.
After getting the bad news in 2009, Forney tried living healthier. Over a year he lost 20 pounds. Then Ardent transferred him to Albuquerque, and the pounds went back on. Lovelace is a New Mexico’s Healthiest Employers honoree for 2014.
“In 2011, Lovelace developed a cycling team and a running team, and I availed myself of both of them, especially the cycling team,” Forney said. “I took it upon myself to ride with the advanced groups even though I was in no shape to do so. They were very supportive in helping me develop over the past two years.”
Forney said he wants everyone to know that losing weight and getting healthier won’t be easy or fast, and that it takes commitment and discipline. He says he walked most of the first 1.5-mile run he tried. On his first bike ride up Tramway Road, he stopped at every mile marker for a lengthy rest. But he persevered.
“It boils down to discipline,” Forney explained. “People want to have a fast and easy way to do it, but there is nothing fast about it and nothing easy about it. But the end result is worth it.”
Forney’s cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are all now excellent. And he got there without medications.
“I’m not a fruit and nut eater, and I’m not eating sprouts every day. I like microbeers and hamburgers and steaks. It’s portion control,” Forney said.
Lovelace CFO Stephen Forney credits his company’s wellness program for helping him lose 86 pounds. “It boils down to discipline,” he said.