Losing Weight is a Family Affair for the Schott Family

Losing Weight is a Family Affair for the Schott Family

Amanda Schott is an 8th grade school teacher in Pemberton, NJ. She knows first-hand what it’s like to be an overweight teenager as she has struggled with her own weight since adolescence. After the recent passing of her grandmother, she turned to emotional eating to deal with her grief and fill the void of her loss. “I was all about comforting myself, and I did it with food,” says Amanda.

Amanda took the first step toward a healthier life

She consulted Virtua medical weight-loss specialist Elizabeth Levinson, MD. Dr. Levinson diagnosed Amanda as prediabetic and referred her to Virtua’s weight-loss program.

She started the program in May 2016, and has since lost more than 100 pounds. She weight trains and does cardio five days a week. “If you’re open and dedicated to the program, you’ll see results,” says Amanda.

She remembers a time when she did choreography for her school play and it left her sweating and out of breath­—but not anymore. According to Amanda, the program changed her approach to food and life. This long and satisfying journey has led her to more energy and stamina then she has had in years.

Amanda was Allison's weight-loss inspiration—and competition

Amanda’s sister Allison, a preschool teacher in Pennsauken, NJ, also struggled with weight throughout her childhood. Events in her life made her turn to eating for comfort as well.

It wasn’t until her school had a “biggest loser” competition last year that she became serious about losing weight. She lost 20 pounds and wanted to continue her progress. Her endocrinologist diagnosed her with hypothyroidism and referred her to Virtua’s weight-loss program. She realized if her sister Amanda could lose weight in Virtua’s program, so could she—it was a healthy competition for both of them. 

Allison joined the program in July 2016, and has since lost more than 70 pounds. She’s more diligent about exercising—playing softball and working out at least 3 times a week. “The program and staff are amazing,” says Allison. “They work with your individual goals and lifestyle in such a positive way.”

Dad, Mark, lost weight and said goodbye to some diabetes medications

Satisfied with the results they were seeing, Amanda and Allison decided to get their dad, Mark, involved in the program. Mark was getting ready to retire from his job at Columbia Bank. His daughters thought this would be a good program for him since he was overweight and struggling with diabetes, kidney stones and other health issues. To help their dad succeed, they got their mother Janice involved and had an intervention with Mark.

Mark’s daughter Amanda referred him to Virtua registered dietitian Dafna Chazin, RDN, LDN. He started nutrition counseling with Chazin 6 months before he retired. His goal was to improve his health so he could enjoy his retirement with his wife, walk more on vacations and improve his overall health. 

Mark lost 40 pounds in 6 months. As his numbers improved, he went off some of his diabetes medications. He learned how to keep a food diary and cut down on the sugar and salt in his foods. He now knows how to eat healthier, has more energy and is walking more. He doesn’t really like to exercise but hopes to join the gym because he does love to swim. Now that he’s retired, he also looks forward to getting on the golf course.

He credits Dafna with helping him reach his goals: “Dafna is incredible and down-to-earth,” said Mark. “I’ve already referred 10 people to her.”

Even though Mark’s wife, Janice didn’t need to lose any weight, she supported all three of them on this weight-loss journey by eating and cooking healthier, too. The family sits down to dinner every night together and continues to support each other’s weight-loss goals. Amanda and Allison continue their weight-loss progress, and they plan to run their first 5K before the next school year. 

Updated August 29, 2017

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