CMU Staff Union President and WOW! Participant
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
“I feel so much better … I’m happier, healthy and now have the energy to do things. The program was great!”
Gaining an Education While Losing Weight
Karen Bellingar of Mt. Pleasant knew the time had come to make her health a priority. “I had been trying to lose weight for three years,” Karen said. “I’d lose a little but I wasn’t getting anywhere.”
Karen, who is the president of her union at work, had also gone through two stressful years of bargaining. The extra weight and extra stress were taking a toll. “I would come home from work, sit and lose myself in a book.”
In September of 2010, Karen was seeing her family doctor and he asked if she ever considered bariatric surgery. “I told him that wasn’t for me,” she said. “I knew I needed to lose weight; I just hadn’t found the right mechanism.”
Then her doctor mentioned the WOW! Program. “He told me a little bit about it and said he’d let me know about the next informational seminar.” Waiting isn’t Karen’s style. Instead, she went home and immediately contacted Sara Krebs, WOW! Program Manager at MidMichigan Medical Center—Gratiot. “I set an appointment for September 30 and started that day,” she said. “I knew it was time.”
WOW! is a four-month, medically supervised weight loss program. Plans are individualized and consist of three meal plan options including limited caloric intake, partial meal replacement or total meal replacement.
Karen found the WOW! program easy to follow from the start. “It’s a no-brainer,” she said. “It’s great, especially in the beginning, because you don’t have to think about food – it’s prepared and provided. You just pick it up and follow their instructions.”
Karen said the knowledge she gained from the program is just as important as the 60 pounds she lost. “I really learned a lot,” she said. “They taught me to eat the right number of calories and the right mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats. I thought I ate well, but not in comparison with how I eat now. Half my plate is filled with vegetables now.”
As part of the program, Karen met several times with an exercise physiologist, a registered dietician and a behavioral specialist. “It was a great advantage to be meeting with experts. If I had questions or needed more information, they could help. I got the education I needed and I’m very happy with that.”
One key lesson for Karen was portion control. “I knew I was eating more than I should, but I was surprised when I realized how much I had been eating,” she said. “Now, portion control is automatic.”
Exercise is integral to the program. “The exercise helps, especially in the beginning,” said Karen who has dropped from a size 22 to a size 14. “I’ve always walked but when you carry extra weight, it isn’t easy. As I felt better, I stepped it up and that really helped.”
Karen said the program was worth the cost. “If I wanted to prevent weight-related disease, I knew I had to do it. My health was worth it,” she said.
Months after completing the program, Karen said she still has a bit of weight to lose but is confident that she has the knowledge and tools to meet her next goal on her own.
“I’m very pleased that I accomplished my health-related goals,” she said. “My blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol are all in the good range. I feel so much better, too. I’m happier, healthy and now have the energy to do things. The program was great!”
WOW! is a four-month, medically supervised program designed for individuals who want to lose weight, feel better and live healthier. For more information about WOW!, call (989) 466-3315 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.