“I didn’t take it seriously,” admits Donnie Lord. “I thought, ‘that’s something I can deal with later.’” At 46 years old, Donnie thought he had more time to address his deteriorating health. “I was pretty unhealthy. I was overweight, out of shape. I smoked for 20 years – you name it.” The intersection of letting healthy living go by the wayside and a strong family history of diabetes and heart disease met Donnie head on in November of 2014. “I started having pressure in my chest that didn’t go away.” Donnie headed to the Emergency Department at Bailey Medical Center in Owasso, OK. Medical staff quickly determined Donnie had suffered a heart attack. He was transferred to Oklahoma Heart Institute at Hillcrest South for an emergency heart catheterization. Stents opened the two blockages in his main arteries, but open heart surgery would also be necessary to repair the damage to his heart. “I was thinking this is all coming to fruition – all the things I thought could happen were happening.”
Robin Baker was also watching her A1C creep up, not to mention her blood pressure. “I’m almost 50,” she adds, “and I didn’t want to be on medications.” The physical therapy assistant admits her health was holding her back as she would watch her patients do the exercises she didn’t have the energy to do herself.
Donnie, Brook and Robin found the answer to a healthier lifestyle at the Oklahoma Heart Institute Weight Loss and Wellness Program – a medically-supervised weight loss program offered by Oklahoma Heart Institute in partnership with the HMR Program for Weight Management. The program utilizes a structured diet along with weekly classes aimed at teaching achievable and sustainable lifestyle changes. It is also an opportunity for weekly support, accountability, encouragement and celebration of success as participants track their weekly weight loss. “That’s the key,” adds Robin. “We put our numbers on the board. We ate ‘out of the box’ if we cheated. I don’t want to be the one that has to put up there that I cheated.”
Robin and Brook began the program in January. Donnie joined in March. Recently all three have celebrated reaching a big milestone – 50 pounds lost! “I’ve surprised myself,” says Donnie, who had never tried dieting prior to joining this program.
“I am super ecstatic,” shares Brook. “I’m stronger and healthier. I went from a size 18 to a size 5. That’s crazy. I never thought that would happen.”
“I don’t feel weighed down,” Robin says of hitting the 50-pound loss mark. “I feel more balanced. Before when I was working with a patient, I would show them once how to do the exercise. Now I have more energy and I do the exercises with them.”
For Donnie, Brook and Robin – it was time to lose the weight. As they transition to the next phase of the program, they continue to meet weekly on Wednesday evenings, track their weight, learn new ways to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes, share recipes, and change the destiny of their health and ultimately their lives. “I didn’t want to lose my family,” says Donnie. “I got a second chance.”