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Weight Loss for Life Success Stories

What will you do when it is your time?

Will you climb a mountain?
Will you run a race?
Will you ride bikes with your kids?
Play with your grandkids?
Start a new career?

It's up to you when you decide that it's your time to lose.

Read how these people changed their lives for the better. It all started with a declaration - It's time! - and a call to PeaceHealth Southwest's Center for Weight Management.

John & Tori Ann
John & Tori Before

Tori Ann and John Bernard hit major milestones on their weight loss journeys through PeaceHealth’s Weight Loss for Life Program in mid-March, John dropping 100-pounds and Tori Ann 50. Eight years ago, Tori Ann had just wrapped up an earlier weight loss when they met through

They married eight months after they met and in the seven years that followed managed to enjoy many wonderful spontaneous meals out and more than one or two Bellagio’s pizza deliveries - not to mention their standby favorite – frozen yogurt at Menchies. They acknowledge they had not been the best of partners when it came to living a healthy lifestyle.

On a trip to Yellowstone the summer of 2022 John ended up taking his first scenic tour in the back of an ambulance followed by a several-night stay in a hospital in Rexburg, Idaho. John couldn’t catch his breath at the 7,800-foot elevation of the main lodge. The emergency clinic nurse at the park said she had never seen such a low blood-oxygen saturation in a person standing she saw that day with John.

That event and a similar experience on a business trip to Denver sparked their commitment to be better partners and this past August they joined Sarah Sterling’s phase one class and embarked on remaking their lives into a partnership for health. Tori Ann, now 63, and John, 68, are continuing the program moving to phase two where she plans to lose about five more pounds and he has a goal of 40 more pounds as they make plans for the maintenance phase.

When they started, John couldn’t walk around the block without needing to stop and rest. Now, the two of them are famous in their 2 Creeks at Camas Meadows neighborhood for heading out rain or shine, day or night, in their matching lime-green biking jackets and black rain pants, on their fat-tire ebikes (in the lowest level of assist available - which makes up for the very heavy 75-pound bikes) on the Lacamas Lake trail for their daily 9.14 mile ride (which lately they started doing double that). They ride 5-6 days a week.

During the snow they carried their bikes over fallen trees, had a few minor spills, and one day left the bikes at home and did a 3 1/2-mile hike through the snow.

Meanwhile, they both have been enjoying buying clothes with Tori Ann sporting new petite sizes and John finding the selection and prices available in smaller sizes thrilling!

“We just want to say thank you to Sarah – who is amazing, caring and informative – and to the people in our class who inspire us with their commitment, their rediscovered passion for life, and their endless encouragement.” John and Tori Ann Bernard.

John & Teri after

John and Tori Ann after a day of hiking in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California.

Lori, a weight loss for life program member, posing in before and afgter photos

Dieting since she was in her teens, Lori had a good idea what worked or didn’t work for her to lose weight and keep it off. Weight Loss for Life offered exactly what she needed to be successful long-term.

Learn more about PeaceHealth’s Weight Loss for Life program, and hear more from Lori herself!

Why did you join the program?
I went on my first diet when I was 13 or 14 years old. This was the beginning of my weight loss journey. Over my lifetime I have gained and lost innumerable pounds. I even managed to keep weight off for a short period of time, but it always came back. As I tried different programs to lose weight, I learned a lot about what worked well for me. I did better when there was structure and accountability. I also needed a program with an emphasis on maintaining my weight loss. HMR had all the elements I needed to be successful.

Before I found HMR, I had pretty much given up on losing weight. But after my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I knew I needed to do something about my weight. I was lucky that I did not have any weight related health issues, but I knew it was only a matter of time before that would change. I wanted to be as healthy as possible for myself and to be there for my husband.

How has your quality of life changed?
There have been quite few positive changes in my everyday life. I can now wear the clothes I like to wear. I don’t have to wear black all the time and I don’t have to buy something just because it fits.

What significant health benefits have you experienced?
I sleep better now. I don’t snore anymore.

How long have you been in Phase 2?
I started with HMR on June 30, 2023. I transitioned to Phase 2 in August 2023. I continued to lose weight while in Phase 2 and am now at my goal weight. I have now reached my goal of losing 72 lbs.

Do you have tips or advice for others? What is your most effective strategy?
If you follow the program and listen to your counselor, you will lose weight. This program is the best program I have ever tried, and I have tried them all! It has the structure and support I needed, and they have the emphasis on maintenance that I did not find in other weight loss programs.

A strategy that worked well for me was to use HMR shakes and sugar free yogurt as “treats”. I have a big sweet tooth and was able to use the shakes and sugar free yogurt as desserts. If you are hungry, eat. It is allowed on this program. The HMR entrees, bars, and shakes, taste good, are portable, and easy to prepare. I am very happy that I found Weight Loss for Life. The people are great to work with and I know will have all the support I need to maintain my weight loss. Another tip is don’t skip the meetings. They are so valuable. I loved hearing how others in my group navigated the program. I learned at least one new thing in each weekly meeting.

One last thing is the quality of the people running the Weight Loss for Life program at Peace Health are top notch! They are very knowledgeable about weight loss and are kind and encouraging to everyone.

Sharon Before & After Weight Loss

“Remember that you are so worth it. No matter what plan you choose you will be a success,” says Sharon H., a restaurant owner and Weight Loss for Life participant. Get inspired by Sharon’s success story!

Why I Joined

I joined Health Management Resources’ (HMR) Weight Loss for Life on March 10, 2023 and I must admit that I was at an incredibly low point in my life. My entire working life I have worked where standing was a good 6-8 hours of my day. For several years prior to joining the program, I had been suffering from knee problems and foot pain. Cortisone shots in my knees helped for a few weeks, but when both knees needed to be replaced, I heard all those all too famous words from my doctor - "You need to lose weight to be approved for surgery,". Throw in a diagnosis in 2018 of AFib (irregular heartbeat) and my future looked bleak. 

My cardiologist recommended Weight Loss for Life to me. I decided to take this route instead of weight loss surgery. I had been on the Weight Watchers roller coaster since I was 14. I lost weight, but it always came back with a vengeance. My lifestyle was such that I was so tired and in pain when I would get home from work that I went to the nearest fast-food establishment, restaurant, or grocery store and grabbed whatever sounded good for that night. 

My profession as a restaurant owner and cook did not help. My restaurant is an English tea room (yes, I am British!). I did all the baking and planning of the meals and again at the end of the working day I did not want to cook. Of course, I did cook for my husband and son, but always their favorites, never considering the calories or nutrition of the meal. So when I got onto the scale last March I was so ashamed of my weight. How did this happen? I am active, I move around all day. But there it was. That horrific number shining back at me from the scale. Time to do this.

Significant Health Benefits

Upon enrollment, I was under medical supervision. This also made me feel safe on the plan. My pre-Diabetic A1C numbers of 6.3 are now down to 5.4. Some medications have been eliminated and others reduced. I think I dodged the diabetic bullet for sure. I have been approved for knee replacement surgery. My goal from the doctor was to lose 75 pounds. However, my knees don't hurt anymore, so maybe later this year I will get the surgery as my doctor sees fit.

Quality of Life Changes

I am now 100 pounds down and my life has changed so much. First, getting my head around More is Better was hard. All I had ever been told was to eat less. For the first time I am being told to eat more. I did not think this would work. But it did. I began on Decision Free, and it was such a comfort to know that if I was hungry, I could have another meal or shake. Knowing that I could eat helped that feeling of deprivation that I had so often felt in the past that had led to the failure of other diets. Knowing that I could have more kept me from thinking that I wanted more.

As the weeks went by, I realized just how many calories I had taken in each day by tasting at my restaurant. I asked my daughter, who is my partner at work, to do the tasting. She did not mind at all. It is amazing how easy it was to grab those leftover sandwiches and little desserts and just pop them into my mouth without a second thought. No more! One evening, after losing around 35 pounds, I sat down and suddenly realized that I did not hurt as much. I was coming home from work and cleaning a room or going for a walk. My feet and ankles were no longer feeling like they were about to explode, and my knees were less painful. I had so much more energy as I continued to lose more weight. My confidence also improved. Life was so much better.

Tips & Advice

This leads me to what advice I would give others embarking upon the same journey.

  • Firstly, listen and believe. This program works if you follow the rules of staying in the box. Do not be afraid to have another shake or entrée. 
  • Also remember that you are doing this for you. Put yourself first. More than anything, put yourself first. The box is big and easy to stay in if you put yourself first. As the weight disappears and it will, stay in the box and protect all that hard work you put into losing it. 
  • Do your physical activity. Even a little is better than nothing. The more you do the easier it becomes. I do it because I know it is part of my life now.
  • Lastly, love yourself. I did not and I have learned that to succeed, you have to. Remember that you are so worth it. No matter what plan you choose you will be a success.

On January 11, 2024, I begin Phase 2. I am a little scared as it is a whole new routine to learn. However, this is the education that will see me through the rest of my life as far as my eating habits are concerned. I still want to lose more weight. I don't have a specific goal, but I think that from what I have learned so far, my body will let me know when I am there. I trust this program and the educators. 

Weight Loss for Life patient Katie stands in before and after photos

Why did you join the program?

Over the course of the pandemic, I gained about 70 pounds on my already not smaller frame, between stress, working too many hours, overeating, surgery, inactivity I was miserable in body and mind. The result from that weight gain was going on a c-pap, being prediabetic, cholesterol sky rocking, along with getting out of breath just WALKING at a normal pace across the parking lot when previously I had been an active/healthy person. Outside of the health issues I also joined because I have a husband, 2 amazing children 28 and 10, and recently became a grandmother. I woke up and realized I need the opportunity to be around for a long time in a healthy active way and I couldn’t do that anymore, and the health issues that resulted in my weight gain are within my control. Lastly, a purely vain reason: I hated even putting on clothes that were the largest size I had ever been, taking any pictures, not shopping in a normal section of the store.

How has your quality of life changed?

SO MUCH in both a physical, but also mental way. I can do all the things I used to do physically again, I even started back kickboxing. I am sleeping better, and my mental health has dramatically improved, oh and I am no longer tired just from lugging my body around. I can also now get up and down off the ground easily with my daughter and granddaughter, and we did a ton of outside activities exploring over the warm summer months.

What significant health benefits have you experienced?

Number one will have to be NO LONGER needing to use a cpap machine! I am also out of prediabetic range and cholesterol is within normal limits. From a physical standpoint I can walk across a parking lot, do the stairs, kickbox, get up and down off the floor with ease and not HURT every part of my body in not a good way. Now when my muscles are sore or I’m tired it’s because I have put in some hard work doing some form of fun PA…..I am all about the fun PA and mixing up different activities!

If you are in Phase 2-How long have you been in Phase 2?

I have not started Phase 2 yet, but after 6 ½ months of investing in my health with the HMR program, currently being down 88.8 pounds and close to my goal weight I plan to start phase 2 in the next 4-6 weeks!!!!

Do you have tips or advise for others? What is your most effective strategy?

Keep at it, stay the course, make every day a choice to stay in the box, move your body in whatever way you can, but also allow yourself grace when things don’t go as planned. You will absolutely have times that you struggle, this is hard work every day (or at least for me) and takes determination and commitment. LISTEN to your coach, they are so knowledgeable, shout out to my coach Sarah, you are amazing and have helped me more than I can say in words or express. Go to class every single week, and if you miss a week due to illness, vacation, life happens moment, make your class up. DON’T NOT come to class because you havent done everything in the week you should….that is the time you need to go. Class at the beginning was something I thought I would like the LEAST but has been invaluable to my success and is one of the things I love most about the program now as you get to know your fellow HMR family that are on a similar journey to your own, and we support, give each other great ideas, and just cheer each other on!!! EAT MORE, I know, its sounds crazy, and I will be 100% transparent that I still struggle with this concept, but it works! I’m sure all these things are things that have probably been said before, but they are said because they are true. I am looking forward to my continued success, weight maintenance when I move to phase 2, and just living, really living a healthier lifestyle using all the tools, tips, tricks I have learned in this program.

*In HMR’s published studies, average weight loss is 43-66 lbs. for the in-clinic Decision-Free® plan and 28-37.5 lbs. for the Healthy Solutions® plan for those who completed 12-26 weeks.

Kellie, a patient of weight loss for life, in a before and after photo.

Using two important personal mantras – “My life depends on this” and “Be prepared for all situations,” Kellie fully embraced the Weight Loss for Life program and is now enjoying both big and small victories as the pounds melt away.

Returning to work had an unintended consequence for Kellie. She developed poor eating habits which resulted in significant weight gain – something many people can relate to. Kellie joined Weight Loss for Life, starting with the Decision Free program in December 2021, and transitioned to the second phase of Weight Loss for Life in August 2022. The Weight Loss for Life program specializes in helping people lose a lot of weight quickly, while learning to make long-term lifestyle changes for better health and quality of life.

Jo poses in a before and after photo

She was once struggling both physically and mentally due to her weight. Since joining the Weight Loss for Life program, Jo now has a spring in her step and is enjoying a happier, healthier lifestyle. Hear more about Jo’s weight loss journey…

Why did you join the program?

Physically, I was moving very slow, short of breath, I had heartburn so bad I couldn't sleep and my knees hurt! Mentally and emotionally, I didn't feel comfortable in any of my clothes. I was very self-conscious and didn't have any desire to leave the house or do things I would normally like to do.

How has your quality of life changed?

I've been told I walk with a spring in my step now. I'm not as self-conscious. I love getting out and walking again and I even put on a swimsuit in public. My family notices how much more energy I have.

What significant health benefits have you experienced?

I no longer have heartburn at all! I learned that for every 1 pound you lose, you take 4 pounds off your joints. I can definitely feel that relief in my knees so going up and down stairs or even taking the long walks that I love is so much more enjoyable. Health problems run on both sides of my family (diabetes and high blood pressure). Although I had not yet been diagnosed with either of these, I have reduced the risk by taking control of my weight now.

How long have you been in Phase 2?

I began Decision Free in May of 2022 and I started Phase 2 in January of 2023.

Do you have tips or advice for others? What is your most effective strategy?

  • Trust the program and your coach!
  • MORE really IS better!
  • Switch things up BEFORE you get bored.
  • Plan ahead and be sure to carry extra food with you.
  • Be kind to yourself!
  • Don't wait too long to move to Phase 2.
Sonya - Weight Loss For Life Before & After Photos

Health issues and a fall at home turned out to be the last straw for Sonya, who soon embarked on a journey to lose weight and reclaim her life. 

Why did you join the program?

I’ve been overweight most of my life.  I had some successful weight loss with a few diet programs, only to gain the weight back and more. Each weight loss attempt created added stress to an already busy life working full-time and caring for my family, which were always my priorities. 

Eventually I gave up on the programs and kept telling myself I could lose the weight on my own. I was eating fairly healthy and rarely ate junk food, but I was just eating too much and not exercising. I reached my highest weight of over 350 pounds in 2012 and later started a program as a candidate for gastric bypass surgery, but it wasn’t an option for me. 

Then I began to have health issues – breast cancer, pre-diabetes, and heart arrythmia – and I knew that I had to make drastic changes in my lifestyle. I could hardly walk more than a couple blocks without being out of breath and having to rest. Then I tripped and fell in my home two years ago and my husband and daughter couldn’t lift me up off the floor. That’s when I began a search for help.  

I found Weight Loss for Life in Salmon Creek and was impressed with the program and all the support that it offered. I started in February 2022 on Decision Free and transitioned to Phase 2 after several months. I have been in the program for 15 months and lost 90 lbs. 

How has your quality of life changed?

I have so much joy in my life now and self-confidence. I’m exercising frequently and enjoying it! 

As an incentive to boost my weight loss, I planned a trip to Hawaii with my two daughters last August for travel in May 2023. We supported each other’s weight loss efforts and worked hard to achieve our goals.  We just returned from our “new beginnings” trip to Kauai and had a wonderful time. 

On the flight leaving Portland, I was so excited when I buckled the seatbelt and didn’t need a seatbelt extender! I was able to do fun things on our trip that I never imagined I’d get to do because my weight was holding me back. I swam and sunbathed at a fancy resort in a pretty, new swimsuit and floppy hat – such a huge accomplishment! I rode in a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) for an off-road adventure and sailed on a large catamaran on a sunset cruise along the Kauai coast. 

On our return trip, our flight arrived late to Seattle, so we had little time to make our connecting flight to Portland in the opposite area of the airport. I had to briskly walk through the airport and ride several trains to our flight, and I did it with ease.  A year ago, it would have been impossible. 

What significant health benefits have you experienced?

I quit taking a blood sugar medication and no longer use a c-pap machine for sleep apnea.  I breathe so much better now without asthma-like symptoms and wheezing that I had when I did any physical activity. Now I do beginner levels of cardio and add some weights, which has helped me to walk longer distances with less back and hip pain, improving my quality of life. 

If you are in Phase 2,  how long have you been in Phase 2?

I have been in Phase 2 for 6 months, and I am continuing with weight loss while in Phase 2. To achieve my ideal weight I need to lose 70 more pounds.  What helps most is when I follow the Phase 1 Healthy Solutions plan and adding six or more fruits and vegetables with my shakes and entrees.  Staying in the box and “more is better” works well for me.

Do you have tips or advice for others?  What is your most effective strategy?

Environmental control has been most important. Keeping a good supply of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables in my kitchen is key. I sometimes struggle with emotional eating and crave sweets, so I found some lower calorie options from HMR recipes for pudding, mousse, cookies, and brownies that use the HMR cereal and shakes. I enjoy trying new recipes and ideas that I find on the HMR website, the Phase 2 Facebook group, as well as in classes to add variety and flavors to my food.  

I’ve also found that physical activity doesn’t have to be a major sweaty event and can be easy to add to my daily routine, even if I must break it down into multiple small increments of time throughout the day. Without it, I cannot achieve my goals and maintain my weight loss. My daughters and I get together to do beginner workout videos or go for walks each week and support one another. 

Also, it’s so important to attend weekly classes and have a coach to report to each week. This has been a huge motivator for me and keeps me accountable, which makes me successful.

Congratulations to Sonya on her continued success!
The Weight Loss for Life program specializes in helping people lose a lot of weight quickly, while learning to make long-term lifestyle changes for better health and quality of life. 

Karen - Weight Loss for Life - Before & After Photos

She had spent years trying different diet plans, as well as talking to doctors and therapists, in an attempt to break the bad habits that contributed to her weight gain. It wasn’t until Karen found Weight Loss for Life that she started to turn things around by both losing weight and maintaining it.

Why did you joint the program?
Growing up and until age 12 I was somewhat of a chubby child. Through my teens and early years, I was 5’4 and averaged 125 lbs. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. I was social and active but not a person who exercised. 

After getting married and having children, I continued to gain weight. I started buying weight loss books, Atkins, Lower Your Fat Thermostat, Dr. Phil’s weight loss book, Sugar Busters, Whole 30, intermittent fasting, and even purchased healthy food cookbooks.  I went to Weight Watchers for quite a while.

I seemed to last about 90 days and up to approximately 30 pounds. I became disappointed in myself and discouraged. I would then start eating whatever I chose. Who cares? I am just doomed to be fat! Since that is the case I will eat ice cream, muffins, bread, and hot chocolate!

I asked my doctors if there was a good diet or plan that would be best for me. I saw a therapist who was helping me with my self-esteem and why I allowed myself to become so heavy. While understanding it was helpful, I still could not get myself to stay on any weight loss program. And I felt strongly about not wanting surgery to help me lose weight. 

It was in the beginning of the summer 2022 that I decided to see a weight professional. I began researching programs and was surprised to see that my doctor’s office at PeaceHealth offered a weight loss program. One of my biggest concerns (and things that excited me) was that phase 1 included eating HMR foods only.  I was nervous for fear of feeling hungry, yet excited that I would not be planning my food for a while and hoping I could break some bad habits. I also had a negative attitude about weight loss. I wasn’t sure anything would work for me. 

How has your quality of life changed?
My HMR weight loss journey began August 11, 2022. Initially I had a hard time emotionally.  At weigh ins, I was losing small amounts of weight. 1-2 lbs., however others in the class were losing 5-6 lbs. I was comparing myself to others who were losing 5-6 pounds each week, yet I was not. I was becoming discouraged and felt that this plan was not working for me. But I did not want to give up. I wanted to break my bad habits and decided I would keep going. 

I struggled with believing topics we were learning in class.  I did not believe in “more is better”.  I was asked to add a shake to my week on a few different occasions. I did it reluctantly and was pleased that I was still losing weight. I was determined. I wanted this program to work so badly that I made it a point not to cheat even for a minute. 

I started to pay attention to the things that were working. I was losing weight…slow and steady. Suddenly, I was more active and not exhausted after 15-20 minutes. I no longer felt the need to sit down when I was folding clothes, and walking became easy for me. I started with small walks, and gradually my physical activity was increasing.  

It did not take long for me to get the 25-pound weight loss pin. I was worried yet determined not to follow my old pattern of losing 30 and gaining back 50.  

By following the guidance of my nutritionists, I moved to the “Healthy Solutions” plan, again worried I was not going to lose weight. I was wrong, I continued to lose every week. My self-esteem was on the rise, especially when I achieved 50 pounds of weight loss. I learned how important PA is for reducing stress in my everyday life, and how good it makes me feel when I exercise. 

I recently received the 75-pound pin, with a total weight loss of 83.7 pounds and about 35 more to go.  I fit in smaller clothes, feel great, and I have so much confidence. I have no more foot pain. I no longer have hiatal hernia, or chronic esophagus pain. 

Phase 2 is teaching me that I can continue to lose weight and meet my goals while customizing “in the box”.  I am eating proteins and gradually learning how to balance what I should be eating each day, making decisions of what food I am eating and being happy with myself and my decision. 

My family supports the weight loss journey I am on. I prepare my own meals and on occasion will prepare big meals for the family. I have worked hard at being mindful of my cravings and controlling them. 

I am thankful to have found this weight loss program, and HMR foods. It continues to change my life. I have no doubt that I will meet my ultimate weight loss goal and keep it off. I have my life back. 

Thank you PeaceHealth. Thank you HMR. 

Congratulations to Karen on her continued success!

Rhona - Weight Loss for Life - Before & After Photos

A challenging hike last summer was the last straw for Rhonda before deciding to get serious about her health and weight.  She’s determined to give that hike another try before the end of this summer as she enjoys the many benefits of her successful weight loss. 

Why did you join the program?   
In the summer of 2022, I went on a hike at Silver Falls. I had been walking some so I thought, sure I can hike the entire 7 miles. Seemed like a good idea at the time but I was also carrying at least 30 extra pounds from the prior summer and my weight kept edging upward. 

Well, I finished the hike after about 5 and 1/2 hours, I nearly collapsed and had visions of having to be taken off the trail in a gurney. Adding insult to injury I could barely walk for several days afterward. I felt defeated but also realized it was time to make some changes. 

I had two friends who had joined the program who were getting results and I knew I had to take some serious steps towards weight loss and getting myself in shape physically. So, I joined in September of 2022. 
How has your quality of life changed?
My quality of life has greatly improved during the past 11 months. With less weight to carry around I’ve gotten down to a 17-to-18-minute mile average during my daily walks. 

Not only do I feel physically lighter, but I’ve also learned how to better manage the emotional heaviness of being overweight and out of shape along with a stressful job. 

Overall, I feel a deeper sense of confidence and accomplishment. 

What significant health benefits have you experienced?
I don’t have some of the health challenges of diabetes or high blood pressure, but I could see myself heading this way if I had continued to gain weight. 

I have an autoimmune disease where I have been encouraged to increase my mobility, so daily physical activity (PA) has become an asset to me in this area. Honestly, it can be the best part of my day. 

How would you describe your transition to Phase 2 of Weight Loss for Life? 
I began Phase 2 in mid-July. The change has reminded me that transitions can be a challenge for me. I still want to lose more weight since I’m not where I want to be. My goal is to take everything I learned in Phase1 and continue to apply it in Phase 2 to meet my weight loss goal.  

For me, PA has been integral to my success and is a daily recommitment to the program. Planning ahead, keeping good records, and attending class for accountability, the support of my coach, and fellow classmates have all been important strategies for my success. Don’t give up!

Before summer ends, I’m going to do the hike at Silver Falls again. I will let you know how it goes. 

Congratulations to Rhonda on her continued success. To date she has lost 69 pounds!