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One member’s fight against obesity

Over the past year, member Chris Jenson has lost 135 pounds, reducing his weight from 305 pounds to 170 pounds. His body mass index has moved from obese to normal, and his blood pressure has dropped from high to normal. And he’s not done yet.

Chris Jenson’s road to health began with a bad cold. In March 2011 the 32-year-old caught a bug that he just couldn’t shake. He decided to visit the urgent care clinic and was seen by physician assistant Elizabeth Thorstenson.

“She didn’t seem too concerned about my cold, but she told me my blood pressure was high,” Chris says. “That sort of freaked me out.”

Elizabeth explained that his high blood pressure could become an issue if he didn’t do anything about it. If it stayed high, she could put him on blood pressure medication. The other alternative would be to make some major diet and lifestyle changes.

Running it out
Still fighting the cold, Chris remembered how his friends would say they’d “run it out” when they got sick. So he decided to do something he hadn’t done since his college days: run.

At first, Chris ran for about a minute and walked for a few minutes. Two weeks later, he had his blood pressure checked. Although it was still high, he was surprised to learn he had lost 10 pounds.

“I was stoked,” he says. “I thought, ‘What if I continue this?’”

He did. Eventually the one-minute run turned into two minutes and two turned into three. To monitor his progress, he had his weight and blood pressure checked at the Nurse Treatment Center every Monday.

Making healthy choices
Chris had also started educating himself about health and fitness. He read books and downloaded a free app to his Apple iPhone, MyFitnessPal.com*, to track the calories and sodium content of everything he ate.

“Even when I thought I was eating healthy — like a chicken burrito bowl at Chipotle — I discovered that many of the foods I ate were loaded with sodium and calories,” he says.

One year after his initial visit, Chris’ weight is holding steady at 170 pounds, and his body mass index is now 22, which is considered normal.

“Before, I thought I was just genetically big,” he says. “My main goal was to lower my blood pressure, not necessarily to lose weight.”

Celebrating success
Chris’s dramatic change hit home for him during a December trip to Disneyland.

“By the end of the day, I was carrying my 10-month-old son in a backpack, my 4-year-old daughter on my shoulders, and my 6-year-old son in my arms,” he says. “When I set them down, I realized that was about the same amount of extra weight I had been carrying around much of my life.”

*Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for the contents or policies of external websites.

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Get help at home with Comfort Keepers®*

Kaiser Permanente has partnered with Comfort Keepers in a pilot project to offer access to private-duty in‑home services to our members in the Northwest region.

“Private duty” refers to a collection of nonmedical services provided in the home including companionship, home helper, and personal care services by non‑health care, non‑licensed individuals (caregivers).

Comfort Keepers is a private-duty agency with more than 600 independently owned and operated offices throughout the world. For more than a decade, Comfort Keepers franchisees have been providing in‑home care that makes a difference in the lives of seniors and other adults.

As part of the agreement with Comfort Keepers:

  • Kaiser Permanente members receive a 5 percent discount off fees (usually $22 to $28 per hour) on all services provided by Comfort Keepers.
  • There is a two-hour minimum per visit for Kaiser Permanente members. Normally,  private-duty organizations require a minimum visit of three or four hours.
  • Kaiser Permanente members may request a complimentary home safety assessment from Comfort Keepers. There is no obligation to purchase any services from Comfort Keepers.
  • Caregivers must undergo a background check and drug screening and have up-to-date immunizations.

For more information about Comfort Keepers, please call 503‑855‑4415 in Oregon or 360‑687‑0025 in Washington, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

*The products and services described above are neither offered nor guaranteed under our contract with the Medicare program. In addition, they are not subject to the Medicare appeals process. Any disputes regarding these products and services may be subject to the Kaiser Permanente grievance process.

Kaiser Permanente is not responsible for the contents or policies of external websites.

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