If you have been reading the news lately, obesity is always in the headlines! In fact the latest report has suggested by the year 2020, if Americans stay on the current path, 83 percent of men will be overweight or obese and 72 percent of women. It is well known that obesity leads to all kinds of medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and orthopedic problems.
Couples have been extremely successful in not only losing weight but keeping it off! And in addition, they have improved their health and quality of life! The following is their story and how they have tackled excess body weight together in an “obesigenic” society!
One couple, Melissa and Shayne Phipps, started their weight loss program in April 2009. Shayne’s health was worrisome and he began to develop medical problems. Having struggled with his weight since high school, he hit his highest weight, 357 in March of 2009. That was enough- and they took on the challenge as a team. When in need of motivation, each had the other for support. In ten months, Melissa lost 83 pounds and Shayne 112. Now two years later, Melissa and Shayne are maintaining a significant weight loss! More importantly they are enjoying a higher energy level, better sleep, and a wonderful sense of well-being.
Another couple, Chuck and Kathy Homan, took the plunge in June 2009. Chuck desperately needed both knees replaced. Weighing 335 pounds, he was refused knee surgery until he lost at least 80 pounds. His diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, gastric reflux and cellulitis were all made worse by his obesity! Chuck and his wife had enjoyed traveling. His doctors told Chuck he could no longer travel. Driving and flying were also too risky. An avid outdoorsman, his passion for hunting was also curtailed by his weight. Kathy was also overweight and experiencing health issues. As she watched her husband’s health deteriorate, her perspective on life also worsened. She was her husband’s full-time caregiver. Chuck could not share in the work of everyday life. With having to do it all, Kathy felt she lost her freedom. What a difference a year makes! Encouraged by the success they saw a friend have with the Optifast program, Chuck and Kathy started the program in July of 2009. Now, over 2 years later Chuck is maintaining a 100 pound weight loss and Kathy a 34 pound weight loss. Chuck has had both knees replaced and takes 10 fewer prescription medications than he did prior to weight loss and now 20 units of insulin versus 140 prior to his losing weight! In addition, they are back to hunting and traveling and look forward to the future!
A third couple, Ed and Penny Barnett, had a similar story. Ed was dealing with diabetes and high blood pressure and was taking medication for both. His diabetes had gotten out of control, and Ed was told that he needed to either start insulin or lose weight and change his lifestyle. Although the thought of starting insulin got his attention, his real motivator to lose weight was the fact that his younger brother died at age 47 because of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Frightened by this family history, Ed decided he wanted to have more years to enjoy life and his family. That meant getting serious about losing weight. Penny also was overweight and her medical problems included acid reflux and high cholesterol. The couple decided that they would tackle their weight problem together and be supportive of each other along the way. The Barnetts began their program in January 2011. Both reached their goals 8 months later. Ed had lost 92 pounds and Penny lost 62 for a combined loss of 154! The hard work paid off. Ed’s blood pressure normalized without the use of medication and his blood sugar is well controlled on much less medication. Insulin is no longer a topic that needs to be discussed with his physician. Prior to losing weight, Ed took 6 prescription medications that cost him $800/month. He now takes just one medication and pays nothing for it. Better health with spending less money! With the education provided to them by the registered dietitians at the nutrition center, Ed and Penny are convinced that “you are what you eat.” Their maintenance plan includes continuing to learn about diet and nutrition and following up regularly with the staff at the Central Ohio Nutrition Center. According to Ed, his support system for maintenance will be “CONCI, my wife, and me!”
What all these couples had in common were medical issues that seemed to prompt a call to action about their weight. Secondly, attacking the problem together set them up for success – not just in the short term, but also the long-term! And thirdly, the understanding that their lifestyle has to include a change from what they were doing previously. In addition, following up for weight maintenance helps them stay attentive to their weight issues. And with all these things in place, success will continue and they will experience a high quality of life!