Slenderize Your Surroundings

December 5, 2019 Leave a comment

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easy choices aren’t always the healthiest ones – especially when it comes to your eating habits. Instead of relying on willpower to achieve your goals and making certain foods off limits, follow these practical tips to make choosing healthier food more convenient and appealing.

Put the most healthful food in plain sight
Place pre-cut fruit and veggies on eye-level shelves in your refrigerator. You will be more likely to grab these items if they are clearly in front of you.

Keep tempting foods invisible and inconvenient
Out of sight, out of mind!

Buy single-serve foods
To aid in portion control, try buying single-serving bags of popcorn, individual containers of yogurt or 100-calorie pack of nuts. Or portion larger bags into single servings right when you get home from the store.

Set parameters around where you can eat
Location is important when it comes to meals!For example,only eat when sitting at the dining table rather than in front of the TV or in bed.

Turn off the TV and all other screens during mealtime. This is a sacred time to enjoy the company and the food around you.

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience for healthy, nor do you have to forgo tasty for healthy! Stock up your pantry with these nutritional essentials that will make healthy eating a breeze.

Conveniently Healthy Foods
Dry goods
Aim for no-salt-added canned goods such as:
Tomato sauce
Unsalted chicken or vegetable broth

Try buying legume-based pastas, parboiled brown rice and quinoa to have on hand for healthy side dishes.

Consider these your safeguard in preventing unhealthy or mindless snacking:

Non-fat Greek yogurt
Skim milk
String cheese
Low-sodium and nitrate-free turkey slices
Pre-cut veggies and fruit
Mini guacamole cups

Flavor enhancers
Kick it up a notch and add flavor to simple meals by topping them with:

Your favorite spices and dried herbs
Low-sodium salsa

Be sure to have healthy cooking oils on hand, too. Go for extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil or flaxseed oil.

Pantry staples
Hungry for a healthy sandwich? Keep these ingredients on hand:

Canned tuna or salmon
Peanut butter
100% whole grain bread 
For an easy snack to satisfy your munchies try:
Whole grain crackers
High-fiber, low-sugar cereals

When in doubt, throw it out!
Make the healthy choices the easy choices by organizing your surroundings and your food storage space to meet your goals.

Rid your fridge and clean out your pantry as needed before grocery shopping. A clean fridge is a healthy fridge. Follow this “Healthy Refrigerator” infographic to help you clean out and organize your refrigerator to set you up for success.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article written by Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD, Cooper Weight Loss Team Lead

Categories: Cooper Updates

Plan Your Perfect Parfait

November 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Packed with protein, nutrients and powerful antioxidants yogurt parfaits can be an ideal choice for breakfast on the go. Start/begin with a base of protein-filled Greek yogurt and add the benefits of berries and top with whole grains to get your fill of fiber.

Dazzle with Dairy:  Greek Yogurt
Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth and helps prevent bone density loss. Breakfast is a convenient window during the day to include a serving of high calcium sources such as milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese or fortified soy milk. For example, 8 ounces of Greek yogurt provides approximately 230 milligrams of calcium and 8 ounces of skim milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium, which is about one quarter to two thirds of one’s daily recommended calcium intake.

Protein found in dairy is another nutritious benefit. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt with one serving of Greek yogurt averaging about 14 grams of protein, which is the equivalent to 2 ounces of lean meat.

Berry Beneficial
Antioxidant powerhouse: The antioxidant properties found in berries may reduce your risk of disease by decreasing inflammation in your body.

Fiber: The soluble fiber in berries can slow down movement of food through our digestive track leading to reduced hunger and increasing the feeling of fullness.

Mental health: Berries have antioxidants that have been associated with keeping memory sharp as you age.

Chia Seeds:  Tiny but Mighty
Just 1 Tbsp. of these little seeds provides 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 80 milligrams of calcium.

Wholesome Whole Grains
Sources include 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, whole grain pasta and whole grain cereals. Not all granola cereals are created equal—look for the word whole as the first word on the ingredient list. Some have the addition of coconut and coconut oil, both high in saturated fat, the type of fat that can potentially raise the bad cholesterol in blood.

Whole grains play an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health.

Try this tasty parfait recipe at home!

Blog and recipe provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Rise and Brine this Thanksgiving

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

There’s nothing worse than having a dry bird as the main course on Thanksgiving. You may be surprised by how you can elevate this Thanksgiving staple from mundane to magnificent. The answer is giving the bird a bath—more specifically, a brine bath!

Lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork chops, pork loin or tenderloin can benefit from brining. Brining helps meats retain moisture while they cook by soaking them in salt water, which enhances the tenderness, juices and flavor with various herbs and spices. While brines do require salt, which some may be avoiding, the meat absorbs less than one percent of the sodium in the brine itself.

The following brine recipe is sufficient for the following portions of meat:

  • Per 1 pound of turkey
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 pork tenderloins

If you are brining larger portions you can double or triple the recipe.

Making the Brine:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. table salt or kosher salt
  • Optional herbs and spices:
    • Peppercorns
    • Juniper berries
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Sage sprigs
    • Bay leaves
    • Allspice berries
    • Whole cloves
    • Star anise

The Brining Process:

  1. Add salt, herbs and spices to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add meat to the pot of boiling salt water. Turn off the heat.
  3. Let the meat soak for the following times depending on the type of meat.
  4. After the allotted time, remove the meat and follow your personal recipe for cooking instructions.

Time to Brine:

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates

Honey: Health and Hype

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

Possibly the oldest recognized source of sugar, the use of honey dates back to around 2100 B.C.—beating good old table sugar by an estimated 2,450 years! Many people prefer natural sources of sugar, with honey often making the top of the list. This historic confectionery sweetens many pantry shelves and recipes. Read on as we dive into hype surrounding honey.

Honey in jar and bunch of dry lavender

Is Honey an Allergy Remedy?
There is conflicting research on honey serving as a remedy for allergies, which demands more research be conducted before solid claims can be made. In a preliminary study, allergy sufferers were given a tablespoon of local unfiltered honey, pasteurized honey or honey-flavored corn syrup daily for 30 weeks. No significant benefits were noted between groups. However in another four-week study, significant benefits were seen in allergy sufferers who were given antihistamine medication along with honey, as compared to the groups receiving the antihistamine and honey-flavored corn syrup.

Is Honey a Sugar Alternative?
Some argue honey is a healthier alternative due to minimal processing as opposed to other types of sugar. However, the body metabolizes honey no differently than it does standard table sugar. When it comes to any sweetener—including sugar, honey, syrup or agave nectar—the body will break it down and absorb it equally, not knowing the difference between types. Bottom line, enjoy honey in moderation!

Does Honey Have Prebiotic Properties?
It has been said honey can also be used as a remedy for diarrhea or gastroenteritis; however there is limited data to support this. Honey contains carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which may serve as potentially good gut bacteria. It should be noted that this prebiotic benefit is likely small and not as significant as other rich sources of prebiotic carbohydrates such as onion, garlic, asparagus and bananas.

Does Honey Have an Expiration Date?
There have been archeological findings of 3,000-year-old pots of edible honey in the Egyptian pyramids! It was initially thought this was due to the high sugar content, low pH and antibacterial nature of honey. However, nothing is immune to the effects of aging as honey will lose flavor and harden in consistency. The FDA advises honey be tossed out two years from the date of purchase if it is not refrigerated after opening.

Cooking Purposes

  • Besides carbohydrate content, there is little difference between honey and standard table sugar.
    • Honey = 17 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • Standard table sugar = 12 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • A 20-calorie difference between the two
  • When baking with honey:
    • 1 cup of sugar can be substituted for ¾ cup honey
    • Reduce all liquids by ¼ and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup honey called for in the recipe. Due to honey being very dense and viscous, the addition of baking soda aids in leavening, helping the final product rise and be lighter and airy.
    • Lower the temperature by 25° F to prevent over-browning

Blog post provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates, Nutrition

Bringing Hope and Healing Worldwide

Fifteen years ago, President and Chief Executive Officer and preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, Camron E. Nelson, MD, received a phone call while on vacation from the president of ServingHIM ministries, Kevin Seidler, DDS. “Dr. Kenneth Cooper was supposed to go with the team that year to Romania to help out with the health fair that they put on but had to cancel due to a speaking engagement, so he suggested Dr. Seidler give me a call,” Nelson explained. “I asked him who was in charge of the health fair and he answered, ‘Well you are and you better hurry because the team is leaving for Romania in six weeks!’”

After meeting with Dr. Seidler the following week, Nelson was sold and agreed to coordinate the health fair that year. Almost two decades later, he now serves as the Medical Director for ServingHIM ministries, providing oversight of the medical and dentistry teams that come alongside the churches in each of the countries to serve as a beacon to the community, with Brăila, Romania, being the longest operational ministry site.

The first year Nelson volunteered he was overwhelmed by the immense medical needs of the Romanian community and the lack of proper equipment needed for the team. Volunteers conducted dental work in lawn chairs and had to get a bit creative, hooking up a Shop-Vac to dental suction tools. He saw numerous patients with hypertension for which he was only able to prescribe a 30-60 day medication regimen with no way of providing long-term treatment. “I was discouraged beyond belief thinking, what am I even doing here to make a difference if these people can’t afford to have this prescription refilled,” recalled Nelson. “Then I realized that God wasn’t asking me to just go and practice medicine but to go share the hope of the gospel with these people and that is where true healing is found.”
The ministry team put together adequate donations in the following years to purchase state-of-the-art equipment in order to provide state-of-the-art care to community members in need. Today, you walk into the dental clinic and see the same set-up as you would see in Dallas. “God has been so good to provide exactly what the team needed each step of the way to care for the community”.

June of this year, after a full 24 hours of travel, the team settled in for a 10-day endeavor with volunteers ranging from 15 to 82 years old. The week began with a two-day pastors’ conference with one pastor from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and another from Houston in tow to help equip and encourage the local Romanian pastors in the area. The health fair followed, helping educate the community on proper dental and medical care we often take for granted such as the importance of brushing your teeth and flossing.

The 35-person team included three dentists, three dental hygienists, Cooper Clinic’s own dermatologist Rick Wilson, MD, FASDS, FABVLM, a gynecologist, breast radiologist and internal medical physician. Nelson went right to work opening the clinic’s doors with the team seeing 110 patients per day Monday through Friday. Through the course of the trip, two cases of breast cancer and a severe case of melanoma skin cancer were detected and the patients were directed to receive proper care and treatment at the local medical school.

The dental team performed many teeth filling and extraction procedures, which Nelson helped support by monitoring patients with high blood pressures or abnormal blood sugar levels before the procedure. The doctors spent roughly an hour and a half with each patient due to the extent of the dental work required, with some patients having gone without ever brushing their teeth before. “We don’t come to bring American ideology, just American expertise,” said Nelson.

Outside the clinic, the team helped the Romanian church pastors identify people in poverty in the villages by providing food baskets and even goats to be used for breeding along with milk and cheese. Vacation Bible Schools were hosted in four villages located 15-30 miles outside of town. From ministering to the poor in health to the poor in society, all these avenues of ministry had one common goal—to meet the community’s physical needs in order to build relationships and open the door to discuss their spiritual needs.
Nelson recalls a special encounter he had with a 13-year-old boy who came in for tooth extractions. “He had the most beautiful smile and as our dental team worked on his teeth, we shared the message of the gospel with him—that Jesus loved him and came to die on the cross for him to offer the free gift of eternal salvation and forgiveness through believing that Christ’s payment for his sins was sufficient. He could be free from paying the debt off himself in eternity separated from God.” The boy excitedly replied “Da! Da!” (“Yes! Yes!” in Romanian) and prayed to accept Christ into his heart as his savior. With lots of tears and hugs, the boy ran out into the waiting room, grabbing his mother and sister and dragging them back in the room begging the team to tell them the good news of the gospel too! That day, an entire family received Jesus and started their lifelong relationship with God.

“Romania is steeped in a works-based mentality from Eastern Orthodox teaching,” explained Nelson. “If you were to ask them if they were to die tonight, would they go to heaven? They’d answer no, they need more time to work harder and do more good things to earn God’s favor and entrance into heaven.” For this community, the powerful and freeing truth of the gospel is a breath of fresh air.

The most challenging part of the week for Nelson along with the rest of his team was the physical exhaustion. “I learned that I may have limitations but God has bigger plans,” said Nelson. “The most rewarding thing is knowing that we have been used by the Lord in both the physical and spiritual realm.”

God has proved His faithfulness yet another year, providing exactly what the team needed each step along the way and graciously opening people’s hearts to see Him for who He truly is – a loving Father who knows and meets our physical needs and ultimately wants to meet our greatest spiritual need with a relationship with Himself.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Cooper Feels Like Home

September 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Cooper Aerobics. What is Cooper Aerobics? While many definitions accompany “Cooper Aerobics,” the primary thought regards its physical makeup: six health and wellness businesses—Cooper Clinic, Cooper Fitness Center, Cooper Hotel, Cooper Spa, Cooper Complete Nutritional Supplements and Cooper Wellness Strategies. Others may think of the mission associated: encouraging healthy habits to improve both the quality and quantity of life. My definition is a bit different.

Growing up, my family and I have known and referred to Cooper Aerobics, and its different entities, as one establishment: “The Cooper.” To my brother and me The Cooper was‒as cliché as it is‒our home away from home. Every time my grandparents would visit we knew we would get to stay at The Cooper, swim in the pool and have our own room with a TV that we could watch from bed‒clearly it was a simpler time back then.

Cooper Hotel Pool_2014_DSC1142

Naturally, my love for The Cooper only increased as I grew up. A high point I remember from elementary school is when my parents let me have my 11th birthday at The Cooper. Staying at a hotel with 10 fifth graders is clearly every parent’s dream, right? I probably still need to thank them. I couldn’t hide my excitement to show off The Cooper to my friends, strutting around the halls to the snack machine like I owned the place. I will never forget that weekend, swimming in the pool and watching movies until midnight.

As I grew older and my schedule became busier in high school, Friday night football games and the inevitable “too cool for school” attitude, my time spent at The Cooper dwindled but never disappeared. I have a rather large, and sometimes loud, amazing group of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who stayed at The Cooper when they came to visit.

When I graduated from high school, my entire family stayed at The Cooper, making my time in Dallas and at The Cooper come full circle. In a funny way, The Cooper played a part in helping me grow into who I was and stuck with me through my awkward glasses and braces phase‒all the way to college.

Fast forward to the end of my junior year at the University of Oklahoma, I was looking for a summer internship in Dallas to help me grow professionally. I came across a marketing internship at Cooper Aerobics and immediately texted my dad to share my enthusiasm. A lot of college students want to intern for amazing companies, but few get to work for a company they grew up admiring. I applied as fast as I could and was fortunate enough to interview with Priscilla Hagstrom, VP of Marketing and Communications and Pam Czerlinsky, Communications Manager.

While I hadn’t been to The Cooper since I left for college, I walked through the front door of the hotel and the sense of comfort immediately overcame me. The passion for the mission of The Cooper couldn’t be missed from the moment I was greeted to my interview to the moment I got into my car to leave. When I got the call offering me the internship the excitement I felt truly can’t be put into words. This summer I have been able to write blogs and work on projects that reflect a mission and company I believe in.

If you aren’t a fan of clichés, I would stop reading here‒I’m sorry but I have to say it. I have had the opportunity to work under and with a marketing team that has the utmost talent and who represent the health and wellness community and mission superbly. The opportunity to meet with and learn about the journey of Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, and how he changed the world for the better is one I can’t put a price on. I am grateful I have been able to work for and learn from a company I truly believe in, one that has shaped the person I am in more ways than one. With all of this being said, there is only one definition of The Cooper for me: The Cooper is home.

Blog provided by Afton Guedea, Cooper Aerobics Marketing summer intern and Student at the University of Oklahoma.

Categories: Cooper Updates

MLC: Extend Your Functional Years

September 10, 2019 Leave a comment

Out of the diagnosis of an incurable, debilitating disease a program has blossomed that brings participants joy, provides them support and gets their bodies and minds moving. Move.Laugh.Connect. (MLC), originally designed for adults with movement disorders, is proving beneficial to anyone who wants to improve their brain health.

“MLC began with my husband, Charles, being diagnosed with Parkinson’s,” MLC co-founder Susan Sterling, PhD, explains. “We started looking at things that would improve health and happiness and three disciplines immediately emerged in the scientific literature—exercise, laughter and positive outlook on life and social connectedness.”

Through the unique approach of combining physical, emotional and social dimensions, MLC aims to extend the functional years of its participants and provide the tools necessary to fight mental deterioration.


What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Movement is one of the primary components of MLC. The classes teach participants how to improve fundamental movement skills while simultaneously challenging and improving their brain health through activities and games. The exercise portion incorporates:

  • Functional movements such as sit to stand
  • Gait training
  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance and coordination

“Exercise is a spark that ignites the brain,” Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics, states. “It increases the blood flow the brain and supplies more oxygen to the brain, producing neurons in areas of the brain that control memory and creativity.”

Partner work and small group games also enhance concentration, reaction time, coordination and cognitive skills. Each class ends with a dancing segment, which is proven to enhance one’s mental health through memory recall, rhythm and most importantly, fun!


Just as important as the exercise, laughter and humor is built into MLC. Jokes, funny stories and fun and expressive attire are all welcomed and encouraged.

Research has shown many positive links between laughter and health.

  • Improves mood
  • Lowers stress
  • Relieves pain
  • Improves blood flow
  • Improves memory


Being connected is very important to health, well-being and personal happiness. People who are not socially connected are more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, antisocial behavior and suicidal behavior. Yet those who feel more connected have higher self-esteem and greater empathy for others and are more trusting and cooperative.

“We know engaging yourself in a social environment—meeting people, making new friends—is great for the brain,” comments Carla Sottovia, PhD, MLC Director and Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer.


MLC focuses on developing social bonds and a support system. The classes include walk and talk activities for participants to get to know each other on a more personal level. Social events and a new member buddy system are also avenues to help participants develop friendships within the class.

Most MLC participants may not necessarily have movement disorders but are simply limited enough to where other classes may be too difficult. All participants enjoy the brain fitness activities and social aspect. “While similar programs at other health and fitness clubs focus on recovery from strokes and brain injuries, MLC is geared toward prevention.” says Sottovia.

Moving Up and Out

“We are in the final stages of editing the materials and classes that were videotaped for the instructors’ training program, available online this fall,” Sottovia discloses. To become certified to teach MLC, one must hold either a group exercise or personal training certification before completing the 8+ hour training course with live lectures, class specific reading material and is concluded with a final exam in order to lead an MLC class at their fitness facility.

Participants experience a variety of exercises to preserve functionality, embrace humor and actively engage with fellow classmates in a safe, relaxing environment. Founded by Dr. Charles and Susan Sterling, MLC classes are available in Louisiana, Florida and Texas including at Cooper Fitness Center (CFC) and the YMCA in Dallas. Without a doubt, this program is all about extending your functional years.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Cooper Wellness Strategies: Empowering Life Change

Have you ever just felt like you are stuck in your own body and you just give up hope? You give up trying and you feel defeated? That was me. I basically came to accept that I was going to be extremely large my entire life and die from a heart attack. It sounds horrible, but that’s how I honestly felt. I lived each day fearing it would be my last. I can remember being 20 years old at work and I thought I was having a heart attack. I was rushed to the hospital, had an EKG and stress test done, but everything came back okay. I recall thinking, “I’m too young for this.” I knew that I was playing with fire and that my time would come.

With my wife being an ER nurse, she knew I couldn’t continue to live this way. We had a sit-down conversation and she begged me to make a change because I wouldn’t be around to see my grandchildren. Although I could see the fear in her eyes and the tears rolling down her face, I still didn’t change my ways. I didn’t know how to start. I felt that I didn’t have a support group; I didn’t have the information on how to change my lifestyle, and I didn’t know the correct way to eat or workout. I just kept living the only way I knew how – which I now understand was killing me.

My whole life in relation to my weight has been nothing short of a roller coaster. From my sophomore year in high school until June 2019, I was always known as the “big guy,” “tiny” or numerous other names that you can probably think of. Eating and hanging out at buffets were places my friends and I would go for fun. I can remember weighing around 170 pounds my freshman year in high school. From there it got out of control and I developed a bad relationship with food. My sophomore year I started varsity football and grew to 300 pounds. By this time, I had already had one knee surgery and went on to have another my senior year.

Post-graduation, I stopped playing football, but I never changed my eating habits. I went from 315-ish up to 355 pounds in a year. It all didn’t happen at once but every time I looked at the scale, it was always increasing by 3-5 pounds. This basically continued after many failed attempts to keep the weight off. At this point in my life I had tried weight loss pills, fad diets and various routines, but none of them were sustainable. Each resulted in gaining all the weight I had lost back and then some. I guess I needed a wakeup call, which ultimately came in 2018.

The second-best day of my life was when my son was born, which was in January 2018. Holding him in my arms for the first time changed my world. From that moment, I knew I had to make a lifestyle change to ensure that I would be around for him as long as possible. I literally became desperate to become healthy. Around the beginning of June 2018, I weighed 403 pounds, which was the largest I have ever been. June 18, 2018, was the day I decided to take control of my life for good. I began reading articles, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts and reducing my caloric intake. I didn’t know what to do, but I figured if I just ate less, then I would lose some weight. Little did I know that just two weeks in the future (July 2018), my life would change more than I ever expected.

I work for an amazing company, LWCC, that decided to renovate our gym at work and bring in a fantastic company to run it for us, Cooper Wellness Strategies. At first, I was extremely shy. I didn’t want to join any of the group classes that were offered because I was embarrassed of what I had become physically. I went to the gym for about a week or two by myself and really struggled, but it was my starting point and I cherished every minute of it. I then joined our 1 p.m. class and I attended it Monday through Friday until December 2018. I lost roughly 40 pounds during that time. I started feeling better, I made friends with co-workers that I didn’t know before and I started to see results which only motivated me more.

During this time I overcame a huge obstacle that I didn’t want to accept. One thing people don’t really discuss is what we go through mentally. Not only was I scared for my life, but I was no longer able to be around friends and people who were physically active because I couldn’t keep up with them anymore. I was depressed. I basically became a recluse. Since then, I have continued to work the hardest I have ever worked at anything in my life and I have found the love again to be surrounded by people.

I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the gym working out with my two trainers Landon Chastant and Jeff Barbera, whom both work for Cooper Wellness Strategies. They have taught me how to look at food in a different way. I have learned to view food as a fuel source, and not just as something to eat. I have learned to read nutrition labels, understand what ingredients I am putting in my body and the significance of serving sizes. In a years’ time, June 2018 – June 2019, I have lost 101 pounds. My entire life has changed. I have fallen in love with being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. I am no longer taking blood pressure medicine, I am no longer pre-diabetic and I feel amazing. I’m stronger than I have ever been in my life, even more so than when I was playing football. I’ve lost 13-14 inches off of my waist, 3-4 inches off my neck and just about two shirt sizes (4x to 2x). I am now able to play full court basketball again and I’ve even starting power lifting.

Being active, eating healthy and living a healthy life style, has given me another chance at life. I can play with my son, chase him around the yard and actually wear him out instead of myself. I can now hold a conversation without being short of breath. I have been informed that I am an inspiration to numerous people. I’ve had countless people, both friends and strangers, ask me for nutrition advice (something I’m not used to). I no longer live with the daily fear of having a heart attack. I understand this is something that I have to continue, as going back to my old ways is not an option.

Without LWCC taking time to truly care about all of their employees and without Cooper Wellness Strategies coming in to work with us on a daily basis, I can without a doubt say I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for both companies. They have saved my life and I am truly grateful. I look forward to continuing to work on and travel down my weight loss journey. I still have 50 or so pounds to lose, but I’m no longer focusing on the scale. I look forward to continuing to make new friends and developing the friendships/relationships that have been made. One thing I would like to focus on is helping others. I would like to be the motivating factor, support group or personal coach to help others, just the same way I was helped. It not only feels great to help others, but it also motivates me to continue to strive to my goal.

We all need help in some way. It may not be now, it might be later, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I know that if I can make the change and lose this weight, that anyone can do it. I am continuing to make slight changes to my diet to see what works best for me personally. My long-term goal is to reach 250 pounds. I know it will take some time but I am motivated now more than ever to continue to work. One thing that has been told to me on numerous occasions is to “REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED.” My son being born is my reason, and it continues to drive me to become a better version of myself each day. I am very blessed and thankful that LWCC and Cooper Wellness Strategies made this possible and gave me a second chance at life. I will be forever grateful.

Buck Johnson, LWCC
Cooper Wellness Strategies client


Categories: Cooper Updates

Two Convergent Paths More Than 65+ Years Apart

#OUDNA is the championship mindset every athlete, coach, professor, student and alumni at the University of Oklahoma embodies. OUDNA connects every Oklahoma Sooner, both current and past, with a mindset and thirst for success. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, and I share this OUDNA making my Cooper Aerobics experience this summer more than an internship, but rather a rare opportunity to learn from him and his success.

Dr. Cooper and Afton


Shared Alma Mater 

The week I began my summer marketing internship at Cooper Aerobics was the same week Dr. Cooper received an honorary degree from the University of Oklahoma. When I looked at the photos of Dr. Cooper receiving this award I couldn’t help but feel proud that we shared an alma mater. I wanted to know more about how he ended up running track at OU, his time on campus and how his experience shaped his path.

I was surprised to learn Dr. Cooper and I had more than an alma mater in common. I mean he is the “father of aerobics”‒how dare I compare? The more I listened to his journey leading him to OU, the more I realized the commonalities in our stories.

Every Oklahoma Sooner fan has heard the verse: “I’m a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead.” A verse heard countless times‒and I mean countless. While Dr. Cooper had admired OU and its athletic teams, growing up he was inclined to attend Oklahoma State University like both of his sisters. Both of my parents as well as my older brother attended Texas A&M and I cheered on the Aggies for years. While we both didn’t expect to end up at OU, our time in Norman has allowed us to pursue our respective passions.

Sooner Story 

Dr. Cooper’s “Sooner story” began in high school when, on the recommendation of his principal, Leo Mayfield, he began to run track. Dr. Cooper improved his running with advice from Herold Keith, a sports publicist at OU, which led him to go undefeated his senior year of high school, and receive a track scholarship to OU.

His time at OU allowed his love for running to flourish ultimately leading him to change the world with his preventive health and fitness research. He ran track for three years as he was accepted to OU’s medical school after only three years and graduated from PreMed in 1952. Fast forward to his time after medical school, graduating in 1956, Dr. Cooper thought he was experiencing a heart problem at age 29 while water skiing which changed his life.

Fitness Revolution

Dr. Cooper got back into shape, began running again and, after a lot of career path changes, eventually pursued degrees in exercise physiology and preventive medicine. He even ran the Boston Marathon in 1962 placing 101st, as Dr. Cooper says “which sounds great but only 150 people ran it back then.”

From this moment on Dr. Cooper embarked on changing the world as he introduced the term and meaning of aerobics, and wrote the bestselling book with the same name in 1968 sparking the fitness revolution which subsequently improved the lives of millions of people worldwide. Fast forward, yet again, and Dr. Cooper has accepted an innumerable amount of awards and recognition and has made the idea that exercise is necessary to not only get healthy, but stay healthy, popular.

Significance Over Success 

When I asked Dr. Cooper what advice he would give to a current OU student about to graduate like myself he shared a Bob Buford quote with me: “work toward the goal of not only being successful but significant.” While I don’t necessarily want to grow up‒not that anyone does‒this advice gave me confidence in the next step of my journey, graduation in May. I may not know what the future holds, but speaking with Dr. Cooper has made me realize I can pursue my passion of writing in the public relations/marketing field with stronger confidence than before. I hope to one day embody Dr. Cooper’s entrepreneurial spirit, the determination and belief in his own work is a lesson everyone should hear and I am fortunate to have heard it firsthand.

At the age of 88, Dr. Cooper has lived and worked in Dallas for almost 50 years now and still sees patients at Cooper Clinic and lectures around the world. While he doesn’t often make it to Norman for football games, he turns into an Okie one day every year: when OU plays Texas at the Cotton Bowl. This football season may be my last as a student at the University of Oklahoma but I, along with my approximately 80,000 closest friends, will cheer on the Sooners in Norman for him‒the father of aerobics.

Blog provided by Afton Guedea, Cooper Aerobics Marketing intern and Student at the University of Oklahoma.

Chocolate Milk: The Ultimate Workout Recovery Strategy

Refueling after a workout can be tricky. It is helpful to understand more about what your body needs to properly recover. Whether you’re running or lifting weights, your body is using its glycogen stores as fuel.

Glycogen is the stored form of glucose — the main molecule your cells break down to produce energy. Most of your glycogen is found in your liver and muscle cells. When you deplete your glycogen by working out, you become fatigued. The goal is to replenish or refuel the cell as soon as possible after a vigorous workout. After light to moderate physical activity, an immediate post-workout snack is not as crucial. For optimal results, aim to consume your recovery fuel within 30-45 minutes after a challenging workout.
Refreshing Delicious Chocolate Milk with Real Cocoa
After you exercise, your body begins to replenish its glycogen stores and repairing your muscles. This is why sports dietitians recommend a post-workout snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein. The International Society for Sports Nutrition recommends keeping the ratio of carbs-to-proteins around 3:1 or 4:1. This happens to be the precise ratio for chocolate milk! In addition, chocolate milk also rehydrates quickly and is high in potassium — a helpful electrolyte for athletes. Chocolate milk brands recommended by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services include:

  • Horizon® Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • TruMoo® Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • Great Value™ 1% Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
  • *Fairlife® Reduced-Fat Chocolate Milk

*Because Fairlife is ultra-filtered, it contains 50 percent more protein and 50 percent fewer carbs, making it a 1:1 carb to protein ratio.

There are certainly other foods and drinks that provide that same balanced ratio for post-workout recovery. Other snack ideas that are ideal for optimizing recovery are:

  • 7 oz. Greek yogurt + 1 cup blueberries with a drizzle of honey = 20 grams protein, 30 grams carbs
  • ⅔ cup of almonds + 1 banana = 15 grams protein, 30 gams carbs
  • Turkey + cheddar sandwich on whole grain bread = 20 grams protein, 30 grams carbs

Whatever recovery snack suits your fancy, make a habit of eating something you know has the right fuel to resupply your muscles with nutrients to stay strong and recovery properly.

Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, contributed this article.

For more information on chocolate milk and post-workout recovery read this blog.

Categories: Cooper Updates