Focusing on weight-loss plan a success for Bloomington man

Art Spain before his weight-loss journey


Art Spain is a lighter version of himself these days.

A year ago, Art weighed 279 pounds, wore pants with a 50-inch waist and was taking 90 units of insulin a day to control his diabetes.

The 64-year-old Bloomington man visited his doctor, where the conversation came around to Art’s need to buy new clothes because of his weight.

“And we discussed how high my blood sugar was and that I was having to take 90 units of insulin a day,” he said.

About five years ago, Art followed the Health Management Resources (HMR) program, a non-surgical weight loss option offered through the OSF Weight Management Center in Bloomington, and lost 60 pounds. He suggested to his doctor that he should give the meal replacement program another try.

As the leading provider of diet programs to the medical community, HMR has helped more than 1 million people make lifestyle changes to lose weight and stay healthy. It was named a Best Diet for FAST Weight Loss, and a Best Diet for Weight Loss by US News & World Report, 2017.

“I had been thinking about going back on the program, but was worried about losing, gaining, losing … My doctor said, ‘it’s a hard fight, but it’s one worth doing.’ I called and got set back up to begin the program,” he said.

One year later

That was January 17, 2017. Today, Art is down just over 100 pounds and is wearing pants with a 34-inch waist.

“This time I’ve been more focused on the long-term to keep it off,” he said. “I knew I could lose the weight, this time I’m focusing on keeping it off.”

Art Spain after his weight-loss journey


Art participated in HMR’s decision-free program. He met with a doctor every couple weeks and stuck to a meal replacement plan that included HMR shakes and entrees.

“I felt it was very easy to stick with. There are plenty of food options – 16 different entrees, a couple different shakes,” Spain said.

Art stayed on the decision-free plan until October when he began to transition into Phase 2, incorporating vegetables, fruit and lean protein into his diet, in addition to some of the HMR food options. He also walks a couple of miles a day and does some weight lifting. And he attends a weekly support group.

“Phase 2 has been great so far. The transition is very easy. The health educators are very, very helpful. The other people in the group are very helpful,” he said.

In addition to his weight loss, Art has seen other health improvements.

“I don’t take insulin anymore,” he said. “I’m really thrilled with that. And, I’m getting off some of the oral medications I take for diabetes. My doctor uses it as an example of what you can accomplish.”

Alison Tillery Kirk, Weight Loss Program Specialist with the OSF Weight Management Center, said losing weight takes more than willpower, it takes commitment.

“HMR participants achieve meaningful weight loss through lifestyle intervention. Adhering to the structured diet in Phase 1 and increasing physical activity can be intense for some participants to follow. Through practice these behavior changes become more second nature as they have a positive impact on weight loss and quality of life,” Alison said. “Art has strictly followed the structure of the program resulting in his fast effective weight loss. He’s dedicated to maintaining these changes and consistently attends Phase 2 class where he learns the skills to keep the weight off long-term.”

Success possible for anyone

Art also encourages others in the class to “just do it,” and follow the structure of the program for best results, she said. “He’s implementing permanent lifestyle changes that include healthy food choices and physical activity.”

Others can learn from Art’s story, Alison said.

“They can learn that they, too, can achieve weight loss with HMR which offers dieters a sensible, healthy way to lose weight without gimmicks or fads,” she said. “HMR offers a range of programs that enable fast, maximum weight loss. The program and weekly classes provide accountability and personalized advice for things like planning meals, getting physical activity and dealing with challenging food environments. It’s more than just a diet.”

Art agrees, saying being committed to the program is what makes it work.

“It’s worth it,” Art said. “If you’re motivated to do this, it’s a great way to do it.”

About Author: Lisa Coon

Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016.  A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.

She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, “The beach is good for the soul.”

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Categories: Diabetes, Diet & Exercise, Patient Stories