The truth hurt when it hit Lori Winfrey’s ears.
She knew he was right. She knew it was what she had to do — she’d known it for years.
But hearing what had been bouncing around in Winfrey’s head for almost a decade was still like a bolt from the blue.
“He said, ‘Lose the weight, Lori,’” she says, recalling the day a year ago when her doctor looked her in the eye and her life changed.
Winfrey was overweight, had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type-II diabetes. All in all, she was on five medications to keep things under control and ready for more.
What’s more, Winfrey is a nurse practitioner and the clinic manager at Health Care Access, 1920 Moodie Road. More often than she’d like, she was sitting across from an equally overweight person telling him or her that they need to lose weight to become healthier.
“I think this time, probably just my doctor telling me ... that kind of made it a little bit more real,” Winfrey says.
Today, less than a year after that doctor’s visit, Winfrey is 100 pounds lighter and 100 times happier and healthier. And she’s off all but one of her medications for her obesity-related health problems.
“It does, it feels good. I was very nervous about stopping my medications because I’ve been on them for a long time. And I was very nervous because I had had really horrible cholesterol before — even with my medication, my cholesterol wasn’t that great — and so I was very, very, very scared,” Winfrey says. “And like I told (my doctor), ‘I will take these medications forever, if that’s what I have to do to stay healthy.’”
Within hours of that doctor’s appointment, Winfrey was sitting in the offices of the Metabolic Research Center of Lawrence, 1420 Wakarusa Drive. After 259 days working with a program prescribed to her, she hit the 100-pound mark.
“She’s eight pounds away from her goal,” says Tracey Burns, manager of the center. “But I don’t think she needs to get there — she’s in her healthy body-fat range. I mean, she looks very thin.”
It’s no secret that staring down a 100-pound weight loss is daunting. And the reasons for not taking it on are daunting as well.
“I had a daughter, I was getting my education, finishing up my master’s degree. Life was crazy, and you’re busy and we moved during that time,” Winfrey says of her life after finding out she had diabetes. “Ten thousand excuses.”
Different this time for Winfrey was the realization — she took one look at her unhealthy BMI, her doctor’s face and her lab results and knew the only way to go was down. Strangely, once she started, it wasn’t as daunting or hard or excuse-riddled as she thought it might be.
“I think this time I didn’t have a choice. ... I was ready to increase my medicine or add more medicine or whatever we needed to do to control my diabetes, knowing that losing the weight was what I needed to do,” she says.
Starting her diet the first week of November, Winfrey had one last indulgence on Halloween candy and then jumped into the eating plan with two feet. Of course, starting a diet on the cusp of the holiday season didn’t exactly make the change easier. But Winfrey was prepared: She brought her own dishes to family holiday functions, from mock pumpkin pie to a low-fat green-bean casserole. In fact, the only time she says she really all-out cheated was allowing herself 10 chocolate-covered nuts during a single stressful day this summer.
Besides following a plan that the diet center made out for her, Winfrey started getting active. The family bought bikes and started going to Red Dog’s Dog Days workouts.
Winfrey still would like to lose a few more pounds, but she says she’s pleased to have all but ended her dependence on medication and to have her BMI within a range she as a nurse feels good about. Of course, she’s not about to go back to her old ways.
“You really have to be vigilant or the weight will come right back. ... That’s the hardest part, is maintenance,” Winfrey says. “It’s every single time you eat, you have to decide what you’re going to do. Some of those decisions are good, and some are bad. And if a bunch of them are bad together, you’re going to have to make a bunch of good ones, because it’s every single time you eat.”