Tahlequah Daily Press


January 3, 2013

For some, diet and fitness key to survival

Fitness and weight loss often top the list of resolutions, and one local resident has shed over 100 pounds.

TAHLEQUAH — Jan. 1 is often the beginning of not only a new year, but the time people choose to start new health and fitness routines.

For many, the resolutions are to feel and look better, and sometimes, to stay alive.

It was for Paul Buckner, 44, who’s lost 125 pounds since being hospitalized in March 2011.

“I’ll feel great,” Buckner said. “I still have about 40 pounds to go, though.”

But that wasn’t his situation in March 2011. He was hospitalized with sepsis and renal failure due to his diabetes being out of control.

“My weight was 330 pounds,” he said.  “I was in the hospital for seven days and was sent home on insulin, which I had never had to take before.”

A relapse in April sent him back to the hospital for another four days.

“This really brought my health situation to light for me,” Buckner said.

Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2004, he was started on oral agents; Metformin, which was changed multiple times because he couldn’t keep his blood sugar under control. He also had refused to be on insulin until the time of his illness.

“This time, the doctor told me I had to be on it and had no choice,” he said.

After making significant lifestyle changes, today he has absolutely no symptoms of diabetes at all.

“I take no medications whatsoever for this condition, but I do keep a check on it. The last time I went to see [my doctor], my hemoglobin A1C had gone from above 11 to under a 7,” Buckner said.

As his health continues to improve and he loses weight, the point he wants to emphasize, Buckner said, is that, even though he’s getting my weight under control, he’s still not achieving complete health.

“I’m eating much better these days, and I’ve learned a great deal about nutrition, certainly, but I’m still not healthy by some standards,” he said.

About 18 months ago, he started toward his goal and lost about 90 pounds very rapidly on his own. Then, he hit a plateau. Buckner decided on a medical procedure to continue his weight loss.

“I just kinda flattened out and couldn’t lose anymore, so I opted for the LAP band,” Buckner said, “And I’ve lost quite a bit more, but honestly, did better without it. Go figure. I guess I just needed a jump start.”

Even after he started watching what he ate, he started going to the Help clinic at Hastings Hospital with all intentions of doing the LAP band for weight loss.

“I attended the Help clinic for over year because they wanted me to achieve a certain percentage of weight loss on my own, and I actually lost over 80 pounds in a year on my own before ever having the gastric surgery, by just cutting out the milk, potatoes, breads and all the other sugars and carbs.”

Now he chooses foods with higher protein like fish and chicken.

“I’ve found that since I had the gastric surgery I can’t eat some things like lettuce so salads are pretty much not an option for me. We eat a lot of broiled Tilapia and baked or grilled chicken at our house,” Buckner said.

A few of the biggest things that helped him lose the weight were cutting milk, soda, breads and starches from his diet, along with implementing strict portion control.

Being selective about when and where he shops for groceries has become a priority for Buckner.

“Farmers’ markets with organics is a much healthier alternative,” he said.

As a motivational factor to his weight loss, Buckner’s wife, Millette, told him if he lost 100 pounds he could have a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“I bought a brand-new 1200 custom last April,” Buckner said.

The first steps to his lifestyle change were to cut back on the carbs.

“My wife started fixing me breakfast and lunch for me to take with me every day, saving me from eating fast foods and calories and carbs that I didn’t need and also was a money-saver at the same time,” Buckner said.

They started slow, cutting out the potatoes and pastas and breads, and learning about portion control.

“Instead of getting seconds, I ate what was on my plate and got no more,” he said. “We added in baking and grilling our meats instead of frying in oil. My wife switched to olive oil for everything we use oil with, it’s a heart-healthier oil and better for you.”

The biggest challenge he’s come across is just cutting out the stuff that he absolutely loved the most, he said, like milk and pop.

“Even though we only buy diet pop and use 2 percent milk, we have cut our milk usage down to a half-gallon a week, if that,” he said. “My family and I still eat out occasionally and we order what we want, but my wife and I try to share entrées, so that we still have portion control.”

Buckner went from drinking pop and milk to buying cases of bottled water and making that his only option even when they go out to eat. He drinks up to 64 ounces of water per day.

“Now that I have lost the weight, I have a lot more energy and a more active lifestyle,” he said. “I try to exercise on a daily basis by walking and playing sports with my son. During the summer months, I help him with baseball and we try to do extra activities around the house.”

As Buckner’s physical health has improved, so has his mental health.

“I still have more weight to lose to get to my goal weight, but that is not the whole picture, because when you talk about health and wellness, physical health is only half of it,” Buckner said. “Mental health is the other half and one cannot work without the other.”

Buckner also believes having a strong support system in place has helped.

“I think two of the things that helped me the most were my support group,  including my family, co-workers and the folks at Hastings Help Clinic,” Buckner said, “and one of the requirements was keeping a journal of what I ate on a daily basis and my record of daily activities.

“When you write that stuff down and know that someone is going to be looking at it, you tend to be more health-conscience on the choices that you make,” said Buckner. “But it also makes you accountable to the most important person in your health journey, yourself.”

Text Only
  • rf--tps-foundation.jpg TPS Foundation supplements ailing budget

    When facing another year of flat state budgets, classroom teachers can use all the help they can get.
    Tahlequah Public Schools Foundation’s sole focus is enhancing opportunities for teachers. Every year, the group funds grants for projects.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • M Farinelli Live music spans the county during August

    Cherokee County has experienced mild weather this summer, but it’s about to heat up with an August packed with live music.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Quilt-1.jpg UKB quilting class touts tribal tradition

    Recently, several women and one man gathered to learn or refresh their sewing skills. They created quilt pieces at the United Keetoowah Band Wellness Center, with instructors Cindy Hair and Ernestine Berry, director of the John Hair Cultural Center and Museum.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Faith-7-29.jpg New opportunity opens door for local pastor

    A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
    The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
    The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction