Eric J. struggled with his weight for decades, starting in his 20s when he shifted from “school life” to “business life.” No longer able to eat anything he wanted, his more sedentary lifestyle meant he had to work harder at losing weight.
“I was constantly on the diet cycle,” Eric said. “I’d start dieting, lose weight, stop dieting, gain weight and start all over again. With each cycle, I gained more weight than I lost, and eventually reached 285 pounds.”
His doctor sent him for a treadmill test, which Eric said he “failed horribly.” Within a week, he was admitted to the hospital for triple heart bypass surgery to clear the blockages in his arteries.
Following the surgery, Eric created his own regimen of diet and exercise to get back in shape. “I was advised to use a dietitian and a coach, but I knew what to do,” Eric said. “I didn’t need anyone to tell me. Over the next year, just by running and working my tail off on the weights, as well as cutting daily calories to 1,200, I was able to lose weight and get down to 205 pounds,” he said.
But he couldn’t keep going by himself. The weight loss stopped, and slowly his weight climbed back to 287.
Needing Professional Help
Eric tried all of the diets he saw advertised, but nothing worked in the long run. That’s when he knew he needed a plan that would really make a difference.
“I had heard people talking about HMR and I decided to give it a try,” Eric said. “After calling the program, I met with Sarah Roberts, a health educator at Oklahoma Heart Institute and she explained more about HMR’s structured program. I decided this structure was exactly what I needed. I didn’t want to make any decisions beyond what flavors I wanted.”
Eric was on the Decision Free™ plan for nine months, during which time he stayed in the box by eating the minimum prescribed food every day and accomplishing the prescribed physical activity every week. “I was able to do this because of Sarah’s encouragement, and that I was accountable to her,” he said. “My coach was the piece that had been missing from all the other programs that I tried.”
After nine months Eric was back down to 205 pounds. This time, however, he believes he will stay near that weight. “The secret to maintaining a healthy weight is practicing the habits that HMR teaches you,” he said.
Get Your Triple!
The program promotes the “Triple Imperative” to guide patients to lose weight.
The first imperative is not starving one’s self, but actually eating at least the minimum amount of food every day. This helps the patient focus on scheduling and consuming good nutrition. Patients are encouraged to eat more of what is on their plan. This helps patients support their willpower and ever-changing hunger, which helps them stay on their plan for a longer period of time.
The second imperative is remaining 100% on the program or staying in the box. This helps the patient practice problem-solving with the foods on their plan, which helps them lose weight quickly.
The third imperative is physical activity. The program encourages patients to burn at least 2,000 physical activity calories per week. This helps them develop the habit of physical activity, which will help them maintain their weight when they transition into the maintenance phase.
When his coach, Sarah, said it was time for Eric to start making his own food choices, he moved to Phase 2 of the plan.
“I removed one Decision Free™ item from my diet and replaced it with a protein item,” Eric said. “The next week, I removed another Decision Free™ item and replaced it with a grain. Then I started adding what my coach called ‘flex foods.’ These are foods like nuts and other items that don’t fit in the protein, vegetable and grain categories.”
Over the next five weeks, Eric gained full control of his diet, made all of the decisions and still managed to lose more weight, getting down 197 pounds. “I could not remember the last time I was under 200 pounds,” he said.
A New Life
When Eric started the program, he was taking multiple blood pressure medications and two prostate medications, as well as a few others. Now he is off the blood pressure medications and only takes one prostate medication.
“My cholesterol has dropped to levels that make my cardiologist jealous,” he said. “I’ve also emptied out my closet, donating close to 100 pairs of pants with a waist size of 38 to size 50.”
Eric continued, “I’ve been asked how HMR has changed my life. The truth is that I keep discovering things every day I can do now that I couldn’t do a year ago. Some are little things, like bending over to tie my own shoes without having to hold my breath. Some are larger changes, like I can now walk four miles at a time when before I couldn’t walk 100 yards.”
Eric said, “I’ve also become more active around the house than I have been in years. Gardening has suddenly become interesting. I also fired the lawn service and took over mowing my own lawn. It’s a great source of physical activity once a week. I’ve been fixing things around the house that have been broken for years. I rarely have time to sit on the couch and watch TV anymore.”
The Weight Loss & Wellness Center at Oklahoma Heart Institute offers videos you can watch to understand more about the program.
- Video #1 – Program overview and a preview of what to expect
- Video #2 – A Day on the HMR Diet and the healthy solutions it offers
For more information on the Weight Loss & Wellness Center at Oklahoma Heart Institute, please visit oklahomaheart.com/wlwc or call 918-579-3444.