Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
100 Pounds Lighter
It wasn’t long after leaving the military that Veteran Daniel Dougherty started to struggle with his weight. “It happened after only a few years, when I was 22 or 23 years old,” he recounts. “I weighed over 200 pounds, but didn’t realize— until decades later—that my weight was already a problem. And before I knew it, it was completely out of hand.” Over the years, Daniel tried appetite suppressants, as well as “self-designed” weight-loss programs aimed at very low-calorie intake. “Those didn’t work,” he recalls. “My lowest was 212 pounds, but I could never maintain it.”
Daniel had gotten so big that nothing else would fit besides the overalls he was forced to buy at a specialty store. With his waist up to 60 inches, he was starting to get encouragement to tackle his weight problem. “My Silver Team provider kept telling me about the MOVE! Program, as did my other VA providers,” Daniel says. “But despite that, I still really didn’t want to do it.”
Fortunately, he eventually decided to give it a try. Weighing 346 pounds (BMI, 49.9), Daniel attended the 2-hour MOVE! educational seminar at the Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, in October 2013. Immediately, he felt that MOVE! staff were speaking his language.
11 On A 10-Point Scale
“The team dietitian, Nadine Freshman, came to the first class,” he recalls. “She said she was there to help us, but she would not do the work for us.” Later during the 10-week MOVE! Program that he completed in July 2014, Daniel found that Freshman’s advice and fellow Veterans’ ideas really helped him. “MOVE! is the ‘whole package’—it really changed my life,” he says. “I’d give it an ‘11’ on a 10-point scale. I really enjoyed the sessions and group classes.”
During the program, Daniel found that using a weekly food journal—and getting staff feedback on it—helped him keep track of his diet and learn to eat better. Support from his wife was also very important. “She helped me reach my goals—she came to class when she could and learned with me,” Daniel explains. “My wife helped change both of our eating habits, and she’s helped me stick to my new, healthier lifestyle.”
Daniel also appreciated that MOVE! participants were treated with dignity and respect, and that appointments met and ended on time. “The staff were very helpful,” he says. “It’s the best care I’ve ever had—exactly what I needed, at the right time!”
Not Scared Anymore
By December 2014, Daniel was down to 270 pounds (BMI, 38.9), and he has since lost a total of almost 100 pounds along with his wife, who’s dropped 60 pounds, too. Prior to his weight loss, Daniel says that he was afraid of getting older. But now that he’s lost weight and can do more, he’s not scared anymore. “I feel 100 percent satisfied with my life and where I am at,” he explains. “I have a new attitude and love of life—I celebrate living now!” In fact, Daniel says that he’s realized that it took losing all that weight to really know how sick he was…and to know that he never wants to go back.
Running Like A Kid
With the weight loss, Daniel’s physical health is also much improved. Knees and feet that used to hurt no longer do. “I used to be able to walk only for a few minutes. Now, I can walk for longer periods and do more, and I hardly ever nap anymore,” he says. “My wife and I park our car in the farthest part of the parking lot and we run like kids to see who can get to the store fastest!” Now more aware of the importance of teaching others to be healthier, Daniel is working with a local school to help the kids there grow and use their own their own vegetables for lunch.
Daniel’s diabetes and high blood pressure are under control now, too. “I turned in my home blood pressure monitoring system and no longer need my CPAP machine,” he says. “I sleep better and my wife says I no longer snore.” And with his waist size approaching 42 inches and his shirt size down to a 2XL, Daniel can now buy clothes at regular store.
Daniel knows that he has more work to do, but he feels great knowing that he can get to where he wants to be weight- and health-wise. He continues to keep a food journal, and experiments with new recipes. He also stays active—taking the stairs, walking more, enlarging his home garden—and he’s getting ready to purchase a bike. “I got to a point a few months ago when I realized how far I could walk, how many people were commenting on how good I looked, and how much weight I’d lost,” he explains. “The results I’ve experienced with MOVE! are ten-fold more than I dreamed!”
Daniel believes that MOVE! is so effective that everyone, regardless of their weight, should take the classes to learn about healthy eating habits. “This is not a ‘diet,’ but a lifestyle change!” he says. “Give it a chance—it’ll change your life!”