Chesapeake resident Lynn Burke wasn’t always overweight. Like many people, he put on pounds over the years.
Burke explained he wanted to take action when he was in the post office and heard a little girl say, "Why is that man pregnant?"
He enrolled in the Bon Secours Medically-Supervised Weight Loss Program.
“What makes our program different is that we do meal replacements. It’s a temporary way to rapidly lose weight and to really change your body’s metabolism," Dr. Phillip Snider said.
Burke lost nine pounds during the first week, but he said it was not easy.
“The first challenge going on this diet is accepting that fact that you’re not going to eat food until you reach your goal," he said.
“We put people into ketosis by following a very low carbohydrate, but we also do a very low calorie program on top of that. It's 800 calories a day," Dr. Snider said.
You can only eat soups, shakes, pudding and bars that the program provides. That’s it.
What makes this program different is the weekly support groups and emotional support provided by staff.
Dr. Snider is the medical director for the Bon Secours program. He said the real problem with weight management is not the food; it's far more complicated.
“We are constantly teaching them how to repair their relationship with food, their relationship with stress, their relationship with family members, their relationship with coworkers and how they see themselves," he said.
People learn not to reach for food as an emotional crutch.
“We call that a 'food hug' that people get when they’re stressed. And people figure out very quickly when they feel bad, they eat chocolate, they eat ice cream," Dr. Snider said.
Dr. Snider’s team teaches patients to talk about why they are reaching for food and to sit with the depression - or anxiety or stress - and realize it will pass.
After a year in the program, Burke has lost 125 pounds!
“I feel like it’s a whole new me," he said. "Once you commit to it and stay with it and you see the pounds come off.... you see the pounds come off and the blood pressure go down, you see the waist size go down. I have a whole new wardrobe.”
Once a size 52, he’s down to a 36 waist.
“I have energy, I can do yard work. I walk a lot," he said.
Burke worked a sports writer for the Daily Press for 45 years and added, “The football stadium in Newport News Todd Stadium, you have to walk up a flight of stairs - a long flight of stairs to get to the top of the stands then up another flight of stairs to get to the press box and I would stop a couple of times to catch my breath.”
He was on medications for Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Burke is now off diabetes medications.
“The diet works if you commit to it, stick to it and don’t cheat you will lose weight," Burke said, crediting the program and his support system.
“At one point, there were eight of us in our extended family and one close friend and we added up that we lost 500 pounds, the group of us," he told us.
Instead of three big meals, Burke and his wife eat four small meals a day.
Click here for more information on the Bon Secours Medically-Supervised Weight Loss Program.