Meet Polly. She lost 123 pounds in just over 10 months on the Take Shape for Life plan, the medical weight loss program offered at Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions. This is her story.
Hi, everyone. I’m so excited to share my weight loss success story with you.
Like so many people, I struggled with my weight for years, trying many diets only to lose some weight and regain it, and more. At my heaviest, I actually weighed over 300 pounds. When I started Take Shape for Life in February 2013, I weighed 288 pounds, wore a size 26-28, and hated the way I felt. My legs and back hurt, and it was hard for me to do my job as a nurse.
When I decided to try Take Shape for Life (TSFL) here at Deaconess, I was more motivated than I had ever been, because my sister had just recently passed away from complications of diabetes at age 51. I hadn’t yet developed diabetes, but I knew I was on the same path. At age 48 and morbidly obese, I could see what my future held. I decided to channel my loss and grief for my sister into something that could change my own future. I like to say that I gave myself the gift of health in 2013.
I heard about TSFL at work, and also, a friend of mine talked me in to starting the program with her. So not only was I motivated, but I had an “accountability partner” to work with. (She lost more than 50 pounds on the program.)
Take Shape For Life is a partial meal-replacement program that also includes classes/education related to lifestyle changes. These changes include adequate rest, hydration, healthy eating, increased activity in daily life, and emotional health.
This program really appealed to me for several reasons.
- I liked that a lot of decisions would be made for me. I didn’t have to think a lot about what I would eat, as the structure of the program covered that.
- The classes were incredibly helpful, because I knew I’d need to change how I viewed eating to keep my weight down after I reached my goal weight.
- I am admittedly an emotional eater, and if all my eating decisions were made and planned ahead of time, it helped me resist temptation.
TSFL foods are individually-portioned, and you eat them five times per day. The food products are carefully balanced for nutrition, carbs and protein to bring about weight loss. Each includes 24 vitamins and minerals, and they’re high in fiber.
You consume five of these products each day, in addition to one “Lean and Green” meal that you prepare. Each of these meals should be spaced about three hours apart in order to keep from feeling hungry and to increase your metabolism. The ‘Lean & Green’ (L&G) meal is 5-7 ounces of lean protein with three servings of low-starch green vegetables.
This was SO manageable for me. I work night shift, and could take the prepackaged foods with me, and then when I was home, I’d cook my Lean & Green meal. Most of the time, I would have a grilled or baked chicken breast on a green salad of lettuce, spinach, peppers, celery, cucumber and tomato. Sometimes, when I had a little extra time, I would try out some L&G recipes I’d found online.
I have so many good things to say about how my body responded to the program. My incredible sugar/sweets cravings went away within just a couple of days of starting the program. Once you get that sugar out of your system, your body really does stop wanting it so much. The weight started coming off so quickly. I actually lost 10 pounds the first week. By May (only about 3 months) I’d lost 60 pounds. I never forgot why I started, and so I didn’t really “cheat” at all—I stuck to the program very faithfully, and it worked just as promised.
3 weeks into the program, I started exercising (I hadn’t exercised at all in ages, except walking in the halls at work). At first, I started riding my exercise bike for about 5 minutes at a time a few times a week. I’d do wall pushups because I couldn’t get down on the floor and get back up.
Gradually, I increased my activity and built my stamina. It not only helped with my weight loss, but made me feel a lot better. I feel strong and powerful when I exercise.
I am excited to tell you that I now weigh 165 pounds. I have a BMI of 24.8, and I wear a size 10-12. At the beginning of the program, I had 137 pounds of fat compared to 128 pounds of lean body mass. I actually had more weight in fat than I did in bone, muscle and organs. At the end of the program, I was down to 54 pounds of body fat. As I was losing, I had so much fun buying clothes. I’d think, “This is it! I’m at my goal!” and then I’d lose some more and have to take all those cute clothes to Goodwill. Now, I love my wardrobe and how I look in the mirror as I head out the door. No, I’m not “super skinny.” I’m fit, healthy and at a great weight for me.
I run into people all the time who do not recognize me. When they realize who I am, it’s so much fun. Even more importantly, I’m not in pain anymore. My legs, joints and back no longer hurt, and I can hop right up stairs that I used to have to pull on handrails to huff my way to the top.
Cost of the Program
There is a one-time registration fee of $99, which includes the books, body assessment and classes I mentioned earlier. After that, the only cost is the food. I spent about $300 a month on the TSFL pre-packaged foods from Medifast. The only other foods I bought were my Lean & Green ingredients.
I know that might sound like a lot, but consider this. I used to go through the drive thru about once a day, spending about $8 each time. I’d eat from vending machines, scarf down bags of candy, and consume a lot of processed food. That is all very expensive. So I didn’t really notice a difference in my bank account overall, because the costs of the TSFL food were balanced out by not buying all the junk I used to eat.
To be fair, there was an added cost with the program: THE CLOTHES! But that was my decision, and when someone is losing weight pretty quickly, they can probably get away with just a few outfits in gradual sizes as they drop.
My husband and kids are so proud of me. My son, when he’d come home on weekends, would be amazed by how much I was changing. They’re happier now that I’m healthier and will be around to see my future grandkids.