Slow and steady loses the weight

  • By Sarah Jackson / Herald Writer
  • Monday, July 3, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

You know the story of the tortoise and the hare.

Slow, steady and patient, the turtle wins the race over the speedy but lackadaisical rabbit.

Weight loss isn’t much different. While fad diets deliver fast results, they don’t typically last. Keeping pounds off for good is quite another thing.

That’s the philosophy of registered nurse and former Marysville resident Patty Church, who found herself at age 45 carrying 248 pounds on her 5-foot-1 frame after a lifetime of struggling with her weight.

Eventually she came up with her own plan and lost 120 pounds the old-fashioned way: exercise combined with better cooking, planning and eating habits.

Church will share her success story and weight-loss plan, detailed in her self-published book, “The Tortoise Diet: Winning the Race to Lose,” at 5 p.m. Thursday at BookWORKS in Marysville.

Church, who graduated from high school in Marysville as Patty Stordal in 1974, stresses the need for fresh veggies as well as complex carbohydrates and, at most meals, some type of protein to help retain muscle.

“The whole reason most diets won’t work is you’re trying to fight against your body,” Church said. “Starving breaks down muscles and you end up losing fewer and fewer calories.”

Instead, Church advocates the long-term approach, “doing everything you possibly can to preserve muscle.”

Church’s fun, conversational book is broken into manageable chunks with easy-to-understand scientific and sociological concepts, occasionally illustrated by drawings of a tortoise mascot wearing hiking boots.

In one chapter, she outlines 25 essential, life-changing habits. She also provides a variety of meal ideas that range from 125 to 575 calories each, along with more detailed dinner plans and recipes.

Church’s parents, Ralph and Shirley Stordal who live in the Marysville area, tested some of the book’s concepts, said Shirley Stordal, whose husband lost 60 pounds while on the diet.

“It has to be a mental thing any time you’re going to lose weight,” Shirley Stordal said. “It’s a process. It’s slow.”

How slow?

Well, it took Church three years to lose her 120 pounds. Little by little, she saw success and began to feel progressively better. And all the habits she learned in those years haven’t gone away.

“It came somewhere from deep within me that I was going to do this the right way, the long way,” said Church, who will be featured in Woman’s World magazine in August. “It’s become a very livable, easy way to do things now.”

Reporter Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037 or sjackson@

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