Renee Campanello Lost 100 Pounds Participating in New Directions
It’s an old story with a new ending. As a young woman, Renee Campanello of Goshen was very fit. Then she got married, had four children, became very busy but not really physically active, and over the years began putting everyone else’s needs before her own. Then one morning she woke up and instead of weighing 150, she weighed 284. She was morbidly obese. She had high cholesterol, low energy, and felt depressed.
What makes this story different? Renee did something about it.
“My physician referred me to New Directions to bring my cholesterol under control, and I also knew someone who had success with the program,” Renee says. “The transition has been awesome, one of the best experiences of my life.” She particularly likes the balance between body and mind. “It’s educational and insightful, with a focus on total health and lifestyle change.” Renee has lost 100 pounds, from 284 to 184. Her goal is 150. She believes her success has been achieved by coupling healthy eating with a faithful fitness routine. “I’m doing this because I want to be healthy,” she says.
Getting Serious About Weight Loss - The Success Story of Gordon and Marcia Mason
This past May, the Masons, a seriously overweight couple by anyone’s standards, made a promise to themselves. They were going to get healthy once and for all. No more fad diets. No more on-again, off-again exercise programs. No more 42-oz. steaks.
At 313 and 219 pounds respectively, they knew they had to get serious. They enrolled in Elkhart General’s New Directions weight management program, and got the help - and the support - they had never had. It was a decision that has changed their lives. In just 20 weeks, Gordon surpassed his goal of dropping 100 pounds. A couple of weeks later, Marcia hit her target of 70.
Was it tough? “Yes, it was hard at first,” says Gordon. “But within just a couple of weeks you see real progress. You realize this is actually working. And you start feeling really good about what you’re doing for yourself.”
For Marcia, the key to success was the support she got – from the program staff and from other participants. “Nobody judges you. No one tells you what you MUST lose this week. It’s up to you how well you do and how fast you do
it, but they’re with you every step of the way. That really helped.”
Marcia’s doctor recommended New Directions. “We liked the idea that the program was through the Hospital,” states Marcia. “It gave us the assurance that it was a serious, medically based weight management program . . . not just another trendy diet.”
The Masons are maintaining their weight loss through regular exercise - walking and a moderate workout six times a week - and by following a normal but sensible diet. For example, “We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, just like in the past,” comments Gordon. “Except that I didn’t eat half the turkey by myself this year.”
Brook Eades Lost Over 90 Pounds Participating in New Directions
“For me, my weight has always been a struggle until I found a program that supported me with the physical, emotional and mental aspects of weight loss. Life is about choices and for me one of the best choices I’ve ever made is joining New Directions. I am feeling great!” ~Brook Eades5
Louise Melander lost 54 pounds in six months!
“This program is incredible- it gave me back my life. It is informative, easy to follow and life changing. It began with a solid commitment on my part. I was struggling with fatigue and no energy; it felt like I would fall asleep at work. My eyesight was blurry so I went to the Doctor and was diagnosed type II diabetic. I was scared. He told me it was reversible with weight loss so I heard the wake up call. I am now no longer diabetic. I have awesome energy and feel great! How do you put a price tag on your health?”
Dave Pontius lost over 100 pounds during the New Directions program!
“In the past year I have never felt deprived, and I’ve always been full and satisfied at the end of the meal. In the past when I’ve lost weight and I’ve lost significant amounts, 80 lbs. Once 90 lbs another time, I’ve seen the weight loss as a contest with a finish line. This time, with the help of you great people, I’m seeing it as a journey not with an end, just different destinations. The first destination was to free the person trapped in the obese body. The journey I am now on is to see how fit and toned I can make this new regular body. I’m planning to make weekend cycling a spring, summer and fall ritual. For my money the “check-ins and classes” and monthly “consults” are the core of the foundation of what makes this whole thing work.”
The Finish Line: Jennifer Blake Walks New Paths to Life and Health
In 2003, Jennifer Blake was driving during a blizzard when a semi collided into her vehicle. She spent the next 35 days in the hospital and had a 4-inch section of her skull removed.
“There was so much swelling on her brain, doctors performed the surgery to avoid permanent brain damage,” explained her dad, Ron.
Jennifer spent a year and a half in a wheelchair and during that more sedentary time naturally gained weight. She was in physical therapy to help get her moving again, but she still put on pounds, which wasn’t helping her mobility. Unhappy with the direction she was headed in, Jennifer chose a new one.
In 2009 she enrolled in the Elkhart General Hospital New Directions Wellness Clinic, and through mental focus, learning how to create beneficial habits, exercise and healthy eating, she dropped 83 pounds.
Jennifer not only set healthy eating and exercise goals in order to lose weight, she set her mind to training for the annual New Directions 5K. Jennifer prepared for her 5K inside New Direction’s exercise room, where you can still find her walking two miles at a time on the treadmill.
Since then she has completed four New Directions 5K walks, each time finishing faster than the previous one. “My third 5K I was dead last,” Jennifer said. “This one I not only finished ahead of others, I did it in 53 minutes.”
“Jennifer’s goal-oriented, positive mindset has carried her far,” said Liz Winet, FNP-BC, MSN, MBA, Manager of the New Directions Wellness Clinic.“This year her goal was to finish in under one hour, and she did. She is always incredibly inspiring as everyone watches her finish the 5K,” Liz said. “We rise and applaud her as she approaches that FINISH LINE because it is such an accomplishment.”
Jennifer’s experience with New Directions has reaped many weight-loss rewards, including enhanced mobility, increased energy and lower cholesterol levels.With sound, personalized guidance, the New Directions program has taught Jennifer not only how to take the weight off, but how to keep it off. “The basic wisdom for healthy eating remains whole, natural foods, personalized to the individual’s body responses, along with personal taste, for long-term success,” Liz said.
“One of the most meaningful parts of the New Directions program has been finding healthier versions of the foods I like,” Jennifer said. “I can still have sweets, but in moderation.”
Many people believe life’s circumstances will interfere with their long-term success, but Jennifer is an example of not letting anything stand in the way of achieving the life she wants for herself.
“Jennifer has physical limitations in which she has to work so much harder than most,” Liz said. “All human beings have hardships and history that can distract us from health, but long-term success has nothing to do with the circumstances in your life. The human spirit trumps everything, and Jennifer is a stunning example of that.”
The first word that comes to Ron’s mind concerning his daughter is miraculous. “I think back to when she could only say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because her vocabulary was so impaired after the accident,” he said. “I look at her now and marvel at her physical and mental comeback.”
A 2010 graduate of New Directions, Jennifer continues to drink New Directions weight loss shakes each morning and she gets to use the clinic’s exercise equipment any time, free of charge. Her future plans include returning to college to finish her nursing degree.
A favorite piece of advice from Liz – “It’s not about perfection – just keep growing and getting closer to your goals.” And Jennifer sees getting closer, faster, to many more finish lines in the future.