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A brand new man: The remaking of Frank Nickman

Health care success stories told by the people who lived them


A brand new man: The remaking of Frank Nickman

Frank Nickman after weight loss Frank Nickman before weight loss

Frank Nickman before and after the "Lose and Win" weight-loss program

Over the years, loved ones had been encouraging Frank Nickman to get in shape. And, his doctor had urged him to watch his weight, as well. His lack of effort wasn't denial, he says. He knew he had a problem – he just didn't do anything about it.

But, when he was ready to go for it, "all the stars aligned," says the 47-year-old Seattle-area resident.

Frank's employer launched a "Lose and Win" weight-loss program through UnitedHealthcare.* Frank looked in the mirror – and thought: "OK, this is a monkey on my back. And, it's been on my back long enough." He signed on. It was an eight-week challenge – and Frank finished third out of more than 350 participants.

The program was a catalyst, he says. "It skyrocketed me to a different level of commitment."

Hungry for information

Even before Frank joined "Lose and Win," a trainer at his gym suggested he keep a food diary. It revealed that he'd been eating a lot more than he realized. "It was a wake-up call," he says.

Frank knew he had a lot to learn about weight control. One place he consistently turned to was myuhc.comŽ. He used interactive tools on the site – and studied everything he could about healthy eating, portion control and fitness.

"I had to understand how food behaves and how activity – and a lack of it – affected my body," he says.

He also connected with a UnitedHealthcare online health coach for guidance. For example, his coach debunked some weight-loss myths for Frank – and helped him have realistic expectations.

And, his coach became more than an online connection. "I felt like I had someone on my side who really cared."

Frank took this encouragement – and all he learned – to heart. Even better, he honed healthy new habits. He gradually cut back on calories, ate smarter and exercised more.

And, he developed strategies that helped him stare down high-calorie temptations. "One of the things that helped me quite a bit was just to rewire my mindset. It's not that I can't have it – which is a debilitating thought – but I don't want it, which is more empowering," he says.

New look, new outlook, new life

Frank's body has truly transformed. He dropped 70 pounds – and his waistline shrunk from a size 44 to a 28. And, the compliments keep coming – from friends, colleagues and even strangers.

His relationship with his wife of 17 years has been re-energized, too, he says. "It's great to feel young... to feel young and healthy."

Frank has reaped health benefits from his new way of life. He no longer has sleep apnea. And, his blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are much better, too.

"My physician was just ecstatic."

Speaking of happy... Frank now likes what he sees in the mirror – and not just the fitter physique. He feels lighter in spirit, too. There's an easy bounce in his step.

And, he looks at life differently, with more energy and excitement – that he just can't keep to himself. For example, he encourages his co-workers to take advantage of the same UnitedHealthcare resources that helped him reach his goals.

"Something inside you just gets rewired. You look for opportunities to be better and to work better – to do better for others." He's even combined his new love of fitness with a desire to give in the community. He enjoys participating in 5K fundraisers and other active charity events.

In fact, on March 24, 2013, he'll be reaching new heights. He'll take part in the "Big Climb." This annual fundraiser, sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, challenges teams and individuals to climb the 69 flights of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle. Frank and his team – SOUL – will be among the 6,000 participants.

Frank hopes his story inspires others – "even one person" – to see that healthy change is possible.

"That would be my biggest reward," he says. "You get one body, one life – and why not live it the best way you can?"

Participants in the "Lose and Win" program are encouraged to work with their doctors for specific weight loss goals and dietary guidance.

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