Sheryl Walker's Story - Bronson Healthcare
"I decided that something needed to change."                   


Daily exercise is not a new concept for Sheryl Walker. She was on the swim team for four years in high school. In the off-season, she used a family gym membership with her dad. But when went to college at Michigan State University, she gained 40 pounds in the five years she was there.

Sheryl recalls when she decided to lose weight for good. "My husband and I were living in a third floor apartment," she says. "I was coming home from work one day and was huffing and puffing going up the stairs. I decided that something needed to change."

In November 2006, Sheryl doctor recommended Bronson's New LEAF Program: Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Food. The New LEAF Program helps overweight adults with those with weight-related problems and/or metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar or insulin resistance, arthritis and sleep apnea.

"Krista Hampton, one of the registered dietitians at Bronson, sent me information about the program so I could decide if it was right for me," says Sheryl. "I went to the first group class in January where Krista explained the program. I kicked off the program from there."

Before the program begins, participants receive a full medical assessment and consultations with a physician, a mental health professional, a registered dietitian and an exercise physiologist.

The 10-week program includes:

  • weekly group education sessions led by Bronson's team
  • private one-hour personal training sessions each week
  • menus, recipes and shopping lists you can customize
  • a personalized meal plan designed by a dietitian
  • a physician consultation at the end of the program to develop your ongoing plan

"I was really impressed with Bronson and liked the program because it is really well-rounded," says Sheryl. "It's not just a diet pill or exercise. New LEAF helps you with the different aspects that make for success, so you can work on the areas that you need to."

Sheryl has lost a total of 40 pounds and is still continuing to lose now. She exercises twice a week walking, jogging, biking and toning muscle with weights.

"Exercising has become easier and I am more confident with my overall body image," says Sheryl. "But the best thing that has happened is getting rid of the old, really baggy clothes and getting new clothes in smaller sizes!"

Sheryl's Tips to Turning Over a New LEAF:

1. Stick with it and count on yourself! I was frustrated for the first month  I was watching my carbohydrates and fat, as well as exercising like I was supposed to. During the second month, I started losing. You can't count on anyone but yourself to keep going - that was the hardest part for me.

2. Listen and share. Go into the program open-minded. Listen to the health professionals, as well as everyone else in the group class because they all have experiences to share that will help you.

3. Being educated about it really does make a difference. Before this program, I never paid attention to labels. Now I compare nutrition labels, look at carbohydrates and fat, pay attention to portion sizes, and actually know how much a person is supposed to have in a day.

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