What first began as an attempt to lose weight and become healthy, led two couples to become closer in marriage.
Ray and Vicki Lohr and Lee and Lisa Karsner each joined the Health Management Resources (HMR) program at Baptist East Milestone looking for change, and in turn gained much more than they lost in pounds.
About a year ago, Ray and Vicki began the HMR program after Ray overheard a patient discussing his 65-pound weight loss success through the medically-based weight management plan.
After a second visit from the patient, Ray decided it was time to invest in the program himself. But first he had to convince his wife of 25 years, Vicki, to join him in the attempt.
In February of 2011, Ray and Vicki began Phase 1 of the HMR program, which provides lifestyle education, a structured diet, nutritious food and personalized attention during weekly in-person meetings. Costing an average of just $12 a day, the meal plan features shakes, hot cereal, pudding, soup, energy bars and various entrees, all of which end up saving many people an average of $29 that theyâ€™re no longer spending on groceries.
â€œTheyâ€™re very handy for lunch,â€ Vicki said of the HMR entrees. â€œThey donâ€™t have to be refrigerated and you heat them up in a minute. Iâ€™ve never been hungry and thatâ€™s why it can work. Because if I was hungry, I wouldnâ€™t do it.â€
In over a yearâ€™s time, Ray has lost a total of 115 pounds, and Vicki 50 on the program. No longer attending meetings at Baptist East Milestone, the couple have continued to follow Phase 2 of the diet, while incorporating exercise into their weekly routine.
â€œOnce you get into the maintenance phase, you can eat anything you want,â€ Ray said. â€œIf we want to leave here and go have a pizza, we can do it, itâ€™s just that youâ€™re supposed to be aware of what youâ€™ve eaten and youâ€™re going to compensate with more exercise or maybe be good for a longer period of time.â€
Planning has been key for Ray and Vicki, who prepare many of their meals a day or two in advance. But accountability may be the biggest motivating factor as theyâ€™ve begun their journey to weight loss.
â€œI donâ€™t think we would have been this successful (had we not done this together),â€ said Vicki. â€œI think weâ€™re much closer and more supportive, and we do more things together.â€
â€œI think anytime you do something together as a couple, itâ€™s good,â€ Ray continued. â€œAnd this was something that was good.â€
Much like Ray and Vickiâ€™s yearâ€™s worth of weight loss, Lee and Lisa Karsner have also experienced major success since beginning the HMR program in January of this year.
With the news that they were to become first-time grandparents, Lee and Lisa resolved to get down to a healthier weight. After hearing about the HMR program featured on WHAS11â€™s â€œGreat Day Live!â€ in November, Lisa researched the diet online and chose to join the At-Home Program â€“ suitable for people with a less flexible schedule â€“ while her husband, Lee, registered for the in-person program at Baptist East Milestone.
â€œThe first night we came home (from the HMR meeting), I said, â€˜This isnâ€™t going to do,â€™ so I had two huge garbage bags, and we went through every cabinet and the whole refrigerator, and we got rid of everything right at that moment so it wasnâ€™t there for any tempting,â€ Lisa said.
Since beginning six months ago, Lee has lost a total of 52 pounds, while Lisa has dropped 30 on the program. Though the plan is now simple to follow for them both, they did admit the first few weeks werenâ€™t as easy.
â€œWhen you start the program, your body detoxes, and you feel pretty bad and sluggish for two or three weeks, so that partâ€™s not really pleasant,â€ Lisa said. â€œBut it makes you realize how badly you possibly were eating before, or that your body is really trying to purge all that fat and carbs and sugar.â€
Not only have Lee and Lisa lost weight from the HMR program, but Lee has improved his physical condition, which had suffered a bit due to his past as a smoker. â€œJust walking up an incline or maybe 150 feet, doesnâ€™t sound like much, I got out of breath. It was tough for me, and I was like, Iâ€™ve got to do something about this,â€ he said.
Now much more active, the couple exercises together, looking for new places around the city where they can walk. Theyâ€™re also eagerly awaiting the arrival of a grandchild and the brighter future theyâ€™ll share with him. â€œWhen my grandson is old enough to play ball, weâ€™ll be there, and I want to help coach,â€ Lee said.
Enthusiastic about how much closer theyâ€™ve become, the couple are advocates for the HMR program and the lifesaving transformation theyâ€™ve experienced.
â€œI think when you lose 80 pounds between us, thatâ€™s going to draw you closer and respect goes up,â€ said Lisa. â€œYou change your weight, hormonally itâ€™s going to make a difference and just your self-esteem and how your see yourself is great. They can deliver what they promise if you follow what they tell you to do.â€
â€œIf you stay in the box, youâ€™ll have no problem whatsoever,â€ Lee added. â€œI guarantee you, youâ€™ll lose weight and if you get active, just walk the block, thatâ€™s all youâ€™ve got to do. Once you start, you wonâ€™t stop.â€
For more information on the HMR Program at Baptist East Milestone, visit www.baptistmilestone.com/weight-loss/success-stories or call 502.896.3900 Ext. 124. Attend a free orientation at Baptist East Milestone.