At the age of 56 and weighing in at 283 pounds, Hope Brown had a number of health problems that were affecting her quality of life. She suffered from obesity, arthritis and even breathing issues.
While she had long been well aware of the negative effects her weight had on her everyday life, the turning point came at her grandson’s first birthday party. She couldn’t participate in any of the festivities with her family. It was at that moment she realized she was really missing out. Her health was holding her back.
“I had to do something,” Hope recalls. “Or I’d be crippled by pain for the rest of my life.”
So she started working with Dr. Meena Malhotra, an obesity medicine specialist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., to design a specialized treatment plan just for her. She started on a diet rich in super grains and found meals that she both enjoyed and found filling, like quinoa salads and barley soup.
“I also used sprouted grain bread with millet to make pizza crust,” she remembers. “It was delicious!”
Within just two weeks, she had lost 10 pounds. She noticed improvement in her swollen joints and found it easier to get out of bed each day.
“I could walk again. I had rheumatoid arthritis and had lived a pretty sedentary life, and now, I could move again and I felt great,” she recalls. “It made me more confident in myself, and I think more outgoing. Even now I’m doing more and I just feel great.”
Dr. Malhotra says that patients need to understand that obesity can cause diabetes, heart disease, risk of stroke, risk of certain types of cancers and, as seen in Hope’s case, risk of autoimmune disease.
When significant weight loss is the target, special attention is recommended.
“It requires an integrative approach where the patient works with the trained medical professional in a program to manage nutrition, physical activity and medication,” says Dr. Malhotra.
Over the course of her personalized program, she went from 283 pounds to 172. Within six months, her doctor informed her she would no longer need her four prescription medications.
“I never thought I’d be this pain-free,”Hope says. “I’m finally able to keep up with my grandkids!”