Barbara Goetzelman
She’s trying to live up to the plate challenge

BY SUSAN STEVENS
Daily Herald Health Writer

At her first session with the dietitian, Barbara Goetzelman took a pop quiz.

She didn’t pass.

See how you would do. Take a dinner plate. Divide it into three sections, with one section taking up half the plate, and the other two sections each occupying a quarter of the plate.

Now, what food group goes in the big section?

Goetzelman guessed starches (wrong), then meat (wrong again), before getting around to vegetables (yes!).

“I’ve always watched portion sizes with meat, but the concept of eating that many vegetables …” Goetzelman says, her voice trailing off.

Dana Petersen, a registered dietitian with Condell Health Network, likes the plate challenge as a “nondiet” approach to weight loss. She recommends eating the veggies first. No calorie- counting is required.

“This plate scheme works in that it’s portion controlled,” Petersen says. “There’s so much fiber and water in those vegetables, it tends to fill you up, and then it’s easier to have a little less of the meat and whole grains.”

Goetzelman hopes to lose 75 pounds this year and begin training for a backpacking and hiking trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior in summer 2008.

The 59-year-old Antioch resident sees the trip as a reward for regaining her health after a threeyear battlewith bladder cancer.

The first step in the weightloss campaign was writing down everything she ate, then handing it over to Petersen for evaluation.

The good news is Goetzelman was already making many healthy choices. Petersen offered ways Goetzelman can improve to the next level.

Petersen approved of Goetzelman’s breakfast of cereal with milk, but she suggested adding protein such as cottage cheese or egg whites. Besides the soup she has for lunch, Goetzelman should have a piece of fruit or a few vegetables, Petersen said.

Dinner will be easier to prepare if Goetzelman keeps healthy staples like cooked chicken, lean meat, lentils, instant brown rice, whole-grain tortillas or pasta, frozen vegetables and pre-washed fresh vegetables on hand.

She can pick a protein, a grain and a vegetable to assemble for dinner.

Goetzelman’s food diary shows she’s a snacker, but she often didn’tmake the best choices.

This is where she has made the biggest change in her diet; now she chooses from a list of “approved” snackswith less than 200 calories.

“I have a mid-morning snack, an afternoon snack, and a snack at 7 in the evening from that list,” Goetzelman said.

“I can have a Skinny Cow fudgesicle, baked potato chips with salsa, cottage cheese and fruit, a stick of string cheese. I can vary it, and it’s been nice that way.”

Since she met with Petersen last month, Goetzelman has lost three pounds.

She fell on some ice and was injured, so she hasn’t exercised in a couple of weeks but hopes to return to the gymsoon.

Dinners remain the biggest obstacle for Goetzelman, who is often tired and short of time when she comes home from work.

But Goetzelman is trying to live up to the plate challenge.

“We’re eating a lot of fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and salad,” she said. “I’m not eating up to where she said I need to yet, but I’mgetting there.” Her husband is getting the message, too.

“For Valentine’s Day instead of buying a box of candy he made a big fruit bowl, and it was wonderful,” she said.

First report -- February 12

Cancer survivor dreams of backpacking

For the past three years, Barbara Goetzelman has focused on doctor appointments, chemotherapy and surgery.

Now it’s time for the 59-yearold Antioch woman to start thinking about other things. Pileated woodpeckers. Herds of moose. Sunlight glinting across a lake.

Goetzelman’s goal this year is to lose weight and launch a physical training program for a backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior in August 2008. The trip will mark a return to a life that stalled with her bladder cancer diagnosis nearly four years ago.

“This is going to be my time,” said Goetzelman, a church secretary and mother of two grown children. “I know you don’t accomplish everything you want to in life, but if I get to be 90, I don’t want to look back and say ‘I should have.’ I want to say ‘I got this done, and I got this done, and I got this done.’”

Goetzelman has the drive. In 1998, she and three friends hiked seven miles down the Grand Canyon and eight miles back out, carrying 25-pound packs.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot until you’ve got it on your shoulders for 12 hours,” Goetzelman said.

Since then, Goetzelman and her friends have returned each year to a hiking trail on Lake Superior in Minnesota. She relishes the beauty of the outdoors and the glimpses of wolves, moose and woodpeckers. The trips renew her spirit and her friendships.

In May 2003, after finding blood in her urine, Goetzelman was diagnosed with bladder cancer and began chemotherapy. Eventually she had surgery to remove her bladder and to create a neobladder out of a piece of her small intestine. Now that her cancer is in remission, Isle Royale is a fitting prize to tempt her to lose the pounds that have crept onto her 5-foot-5-inch frame. Her current weight is 234, and she’d like to lose 75 pounds. Her blood pressure and cholesterol are a little high, and she hopes to control those without medication.

Goetzelman wants to stay physically active, and losing weight is key to that goal. She has already made exercise a priority. She joined Curves several years ago as a way to improve her bone density. She works out three days a week, and will add outdoor hikes with a weighted pack as soon as the days grow longer.

Her biggest obstacle is crafting quick, healthy meals she can make after work (ones that her husband will like, too). Too often, Goetzelman grabs whatever is easiest, even if it’s bratwurst and beans.

“I know that’s not a good way to eat,” she said. “I need to figure out portion control, how to plan meals for the week so I’m not grabbing the easiest thing. I know I need to learn to eat this way for the rest of my life.”

Sensible snacks under 200 calories