Skip to main content

James K. Haveman

Pounds Lost?

40 pounds

Percentage of body weight lost?

17 percent

What inspired you to lose weight?

James K. HavemanAs Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, I was giving many speeches that included information about Governor Snyder's 4 x 4 Plan. When I was doing the news conference announcing the MI Healthier Tomorrow program in early 2013 and was gesturing to those attending to take the commitment seriously, all I heard was my mother's voice when I was a child... "remember Jimmy, when you point at others, three fingers are pointing at you." I was so flustered by that thought, that in my speech I said I would commit to losing 20 percent of my weight, not 10 percent! A news reporter pointed that out to me and said he would hold me to it!!

So that evening I took the pledge.

What actions have you taken to lose weight?

I changed my diet and basically started eating fish and chicken and a lot of vegetables. When I have salad now, I put the dressing on the side. I completely stopped any consumption of alcohol and drank more water. I take one to two mile walks when I can fit them in, and when I go to the store I now park further away in the parking lot to get in additional walking. When possible, I take the stairs over elevators as well.

My food habits have changed as well with more grains and plain yogurt with honey on it, rather than ice cream. I try to eat smaller meals five times a day and because of that, I am basically eating half of what I used to eat at an average meal. I also enjoy flavored water and smoothies with large contents of protein.

What physical and/or mental changes have you noticed since you've lost weight?

James K. HavemanI have had to get a new suits, shirts, and pants. Golf shirts I hadn't worn for 12 years, I can now wear again. I sleep less, have more energy, and my food bill now costs less.

As far as the mental impact, not only do I feel better about myself, but now I can say and give speeches about practicing what I preach. I know it's not easy but with small lifestyle changes, it is possible.

How did you hear about MI Healthier Tomorrow?

Our department launched the campaign and I felt that it was only fitting to take the pledge and change my life as well.

How has MI Healthier Tomorrow contributed to your weight loss goal?

The MI Healthier Tomorrow campaign confronted me with the reality that I needed to change some of my health practices. It's one thing to "talk the talk", but it's a whole other to "walk the walk".

What advice would you give your fellow Michiganders who want to lose 10% of their weight?

Losing weight is not an immediate change when you begin your journey. It's a lifestyle change that has its ups and downs but it's worth it. I had a mild stroke in late May 2014 and I truly believe that if I had not begun adapting changes in my life just 14 months before, I would have not survived. My body was healthier and better prepared to recover, and today I am moving ahead with my life plans as a "stroke survivor".