Healthy for Life Weight Loss Program | Hidden Causes of Weight Gain | A Patient’s Story: I Had Accepted the Fact that...
SHEILA’S STORY BEFORE:  “I had accepted the fact that I was fat and would remain fat for the rest of my life… until…”

By Sheila Woodard, Clinical Coordinator

My name is Sheila.  Two ½ years ago I started The Healthy For Life Program at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  Many unsuccessful attempts at many, many weight loss programs had left me feeling like a failure.  I had no self-esteem; I also had depression that led to more eating and more weight gain.  I had accepted the fact that I was fat and would remain fat for the rest of my life....until….my life changed.

In November 2004, I got very sick with pneumonia.  Many rounds of antibiotics were given to me.  Bed rest was recommended and it was the holidays.  I of course ate my way through it all, as food always comforted me.  I started the 2005 year bigger than I had ever been and quickly noticed that something wasn't right.  I began having panic attacks which made it difficult to even leave my house.  The panic attacks were brought on due to the fact that after the pneumonia and more weight gain, I could not breathe.  I noticed that I could not walk from my car in the parking lot of Wal-Mart into the store without struggling for breath.  I knew I was in trouble.

I scheduled an appointment to see Dr. Lieberman at The Center.  He reviewed my life history and determined what “passengers were on my body's elevator.”  I was told that the body can be compared to an elevator.  It was explained to me that an elevator can hold a maximum capacity of 2000 pounds. It does not care what
Sheila Before Losing
155 Pounds
Sheila After Losing
155 Pounds and 60+ to Go!
passengers get off, or what passengers get on.  It only knows that once it exceeds its maximum capacity, it malfunctions.  I understood this concept, and we quickly identified passengers on my elevator and decided which ones we would kick off first.  The obesity was at the top of the list.

Dr. Lieberman placed me on what he called a Hyper-insulinemia diet.  It contained three phases.  He also explained to me that I would withdraw from foods that I had been eating that I could no longer have.  I was asked to make a list of what foods I thought I would need help with.  I did.  It is my personal opinion that this is what makes this program so successful.  The Center looked at those foods as allergens.  Allergy was looked upon as addiction.  Anyone who diets knows that the withdrawal brings on headaches, mood swings, and fatigue.  What would you say if I told you that my cravings were shut off along with other withdrawal symptoms, simply by allergy testing me for the foods and giving me extracts that would turn them off?  That is exactly what happened and it did just that!  So I carried around a bottle of my extract with me for several months.  When I had symptoms, I would place a drop under my tongue (sublingually).

I have never been so successful on ANY diet plan and let me tell you there have been too many to count in my life.  I also learned certain foods triggered me in different ways--some would make my appetite increase, some would provoke pain.  I suddenly realized that while I always thought that food comforted me, it did so much more than that!  It was controlling me.

If you suffer from obesity, you owe it to yourself to check this out.  I have lost a total of 118 pounds and I am still 80 pounds away from my goal.  [Editor’s Note:  As you read in Sheila’s updated story at the end of this article, once Sheila realized she could lose as much weight as she wanted or needed to, she revised her goal and is losing more than she originally intended!]  While the weight is coming off slower now, this is no longer a diet plan for me, it truly is my healthy for life plan.  I believe I will reach my goal and I also believe that I will stay there.  This plan has removed my " I cannot do it" attitude and left me feeling so much better about myself.  Please call the Center today for more information.  What do you have to lose? (Except the weight?)

SHEILA’S  STORY TODAY:  I’ve Lost the Weight of a Whole Person!

After 36 years of being diagnosed with morbid obesity, I finally got off the weight loss diet yo-yo 2 ½ years ago and decided to get on the Healthy for Life Program at COEM.

As anyone knows who has been overweight, approximately 90 percent of individuals who follow a weight loss diet regain to their previous weight or gain even more weight within 1 to 5 years.  I was one of those who despite following many, many different weight loss diets over the years, always regained even more weight.  I am thrilled that on the Healthy for Life Program I have not regained ANY weight but just keep steadily losing weight!

My weight loss has continued despite not being able to exercise consistently through these 2 ½ years.  When I first started the Healthy for Life Program, I tried some short walks for exercise, and my feet became so painful I could barely hobble at work.  I was told I was so extremely heavy that trying to walk in normal shoes was bruising my feet and hurting my foot bones.  I was literally crushing my feet with my own weight.  I had to buy special shoes and foot orthotics, but walking any distance was totally out of the question.  When you look at my “Before” picture, I was trying to appear thinner with tunics (size 30-32) and placing my son in front of me, but you can still see my size and my pain.

I undertook the one exercise I could do at my weight:  water aerobics.  I was blessed to find two fabulous water aerobics instructors who have supported me through this process.  Recently one of my instructors said to me, “I have seen you lose the equivalent in weight of a whole person!”  I had never thought of it that way before.  The other instructor told me she has watched me become stronger and it shows in my workouts.  I have actually won some of our class water aerobic races.  Who would have ever imagined such a thing was possible for a person with my history?

I have now lost 155 pounds to date on COEM’s Healthy for Life Program (and am still steadily losing) and I had the BEST summer I have had in years!  My husband, son, and I toured Boston and saw dear friends and my son’s favorite major league baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, play two games.  For five straight days in Boston, we walked, and walked, and walked ….  and my son said to me, “ Mom, a year ago you could not have done this.”  Suddenly I realized he was right, and that he was proud of me.   The feeling I had from this knowledge and my son’s pride in me is beyond words.

As my journey continues, I have decided that I don’t know what my goal weight is ultimately going to be.  I have not seen these numbers on the scale since I was in my 20’s and that was a few decades ago!!!!  It is now a pleasure to jump on the scale; I no longer dread or fear it.  I want to keep going until I look in the mirror and like what I see.  I want to keep going until I feel even stronger and healthier.

I want to share with others how the Healthy for Life Program has changed my life and how to change their own lives.  I am learning what it feels like to be healthy and have energy to do things that make my world a better place to live in.  I now work with our patients at “The Center”  (COEM) who have joined the Healthy for Life Program, and it is such a joy.  I want to help people like me who have struggled with obesity most of their lives.  Having had so many wonderful people help me in my journey these past 2 ½ years, my heartfelt wish is to help others reach their goal weight and become healthy for life.  See you at “The Center”!
Sheila is now facilitator for many of COEM’s Healthy for Life Weight Loss Program weekly support groups.

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