The amazing, shrinking Penn Yan postman
There are few people in Penn Yan who don’t know Iggy Scott, but lately he’s had a lot of trouble getting recognized. That’s because this well-known local figure has significantly altered his figure by losing almost 70 lbs. In an era of ever increasing obesity, heart disease and diabetes in America, Iggy has bucked that trend and taken control of his diet, his health, and hopefully, his chances of seeing his grandchildren one day.
Iggy started life with two strikes against him genetically. His father died of a stroke at 38 when Iggy was but not even a year old. His mother struggled with diabetes until her death at 66. Add his own love of good food and careless eating habits, and strike three was coming up soon.
“I didn’t want to put my kids through that,” he said. Neither do his kids, who faithfully keep him from straying from his commitment.
That’s what went through his mind last year when he began to feel a tightness in his chest while walking his mail route. Having to stop to catch his breath was a new experience. Despite all that walking and routine bike rides of 15-20 miles, his weight had crept up to 265 lbs., a heavy burden for his 5’8” frame.
“I walked eight miles a day for 20 years, and I was a fat bastard every day of it,” he quips.
As he was about to turn 50, Iggy’s wife Tammy urged him to see a cardiologist. Dr. Equinozzi told him that his blood numbers showed he was more likely to have a heart attack than somebody who’d already had one. During cardiac catheterization at Rochester General, they found that he needed angioplasty immediately to open three blocked arteries, and stents to keep them open.
That was all the wakeup call Iggy needed. With the help of the “awesome” staff at Soldiers and Sailors Cardiac Rehab and myfitnesspal.com, a free online calorie counter, he took control of what and how much he was eating. “I was always active. It was just my intake that was the problem,” Iggy said. Myfitnesspal.com calculates caloric intake and activity level against weight to establish a graduated, step down approach to your diet, and very acurately estimates your projected weight loss if you keep to it. It also displays sodium and nutrient levels to better determine meal choices.
“It’s not hard to lose weight at 50; it’s hard to change your habits. I had to learn how to cook all over again. Most of us buy the same 50 things when we go to the grocery store. I read labels and learned what to cut out (sodium, saturated fats, and aspartame) and what to look for (protein). I found the combination that works for me,” said Scott.
With a concentration on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, it certainly has worked.
Iggy’s cholesterol levels are at half what they were last year, and his weight has dropped to 198 lbs. The great advantage to the choices is how filling they can be. “Sometimes I don’t even eat the 1500 calories I’m supposed to now, and I’m still losing about a pound and a half per week,” said Scott.
His doctors have been equally impressed and are now recommending MyFitnessPal to their other patients.
His cousin who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure also tried it, and has dropped 65 lbs. in six months and is off all medication for those conditions. Glad that others might follow his example before it’s too late, he said a bit ruefully,
“I wish I’d done this three years ago before I had to have the stents put in,” he says. He’s living proof that even those of us who think it we can’t really can.