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Winning the weight war at Virtua

Winning the weight war at Virtua

From left: Donna Coburn, Jena Clark, and Cheri Mininni

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While most people who lose weight gain it back, there are some who don’t just diet – they change their lifestyle to lose the weight for good.

For Donna Coburn, it was difficult choosing healthier food. “You name it, I ate it,” she says. At 5 feet, 6 inches, Coburn weighed 256 pounds in 2006. Coburn began eating right and working out with the help of FitSmart, Virtua’s Center for Weight Management and Longevity.

“I still indulge in sweets, just not as often,” she says.

She lost 50 pounds. And she’s kept it up – going to the gym three times a week and eating the right portion-sized foods with the help of journaling.

FitSmart registered dietitian Lisa Staas-Houser says journaling is an important tool in staying trim. “Journaling helps control your food intake and continue your weight-loss success.”

Jena Clark knew she needed to turn her life around the moment she looked at a roller coaster with anxiety.

“I was afraid I was too big for the seat,” she says.

In 2008, Clark weighed 290 pounds at 5 feet, 7 inches. After years of dieting and joining weight-loss programs to no avail, she turned to Virtua’s New Beginnings. This program helped her achieve lasting weight loss through gastric band surgery.

“During this procedure, a gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a small food pouch,” says Virtua surgeon Adam Goldstein, DO, FACS. “That way, people feel full with smaller amounts of food.”

Clark lost a total of 125 pounds in 2009 and has maintained this loss today.

“Support from my family and New Beginnings is key to keeping the weight off.”

In 2007, Cheri Mininni decided to eat better and exercise more. And she dropped four pants sizes from a size 16 to a size eight. But three years later,
her pants began to get snug.

“I don’t want to gain the weight back, and it’s beginning to happen,” she says. “I’m ready to start over.”

Staas-Houser says to return to your weight-loss roots to keep the weight off.

  • Go back to pre-planning meals instead of responding to hunger by taking a trip to the vending machine or fast food drive-thru.
  • Get moving. Start off in small steps if you’ve totally abandoned exercising and work your way up to more.
  • Track what you eat so you can identify patterns and nip unhealthy habits in the bud.