For Bridget Gilbert, losing weight has been an ongoing struggle for many years. But when her oldest daughter, Brianna, was diagnosed with high blood pressure and kidney problems at age 15, Gilbert knew she and her family needed to make some serious lifestyle changes.
Bridget sought help at the Sentara Starr Hill Health Center, an outreach service that focuses on improving the health of children and their families. The center’s four priorities are obesity, women’s health (especially prenatal care), smoking cessation and mental health services. Gilbert worked with Miranda Trent, a certified nurse practitioner at the center, to make a customized plan for lifestyle adjustments that would help her and her three daughters achieve their weight-loss and health goals.
When patients come in seeking help with weight loss, Miranda takes a full health history and reviews her eating, sleeping and exercise habits. She then assesses the patient’s motivation level with a standardized test.
The first step Miranda took in her lifestyle makeover, was keeping a food journal, with details on her and her family’s meals. Miranda then reviewed the journal and made suggestions for improvements, such as eliminating soda, and drinking water, instead. She encouraged incorporating more high-protein foods and fewer carbohydrates as well.
Motivation Means Success
After three months on the program, Gilbert’s daughter Brianna lost about 15 pounds, and her blood pressure improved. In the months to come, Bridget lost more than 50 pounds. Her family now exercises regularly and Bridget has been feeling great since she started following the program.
Making major lifestyle changes isn’t easy, and Bridget emphasizes the need for a good support system of encouraging family and friends. “It’s also important, to be determined and stay the course, she says.”
Bridget says she will continue with the Starr Hill program until she and her daughters reach their target weights, and hopes to become involved in coaching others who are struggling with obesity.
“For my whole family, just knowing that we’re all getting healthier and adding quality to our lives is the biggest reward,” adds Bridget. “I’m instilling better eating habits in my kids so that hopefully, when they become adults, they won’t have to struggle like I’ve struggled. I’m setting them up for success so they can pass that on to their children. That’s the best feeling in the world.”
With help from the Sentara Starr Hill Health Center, Gilbert now looks forward to a long, happy future for her and her family.
“I want to be here for my kids, I want to see them go to college, and I want to see my grandkids,” she says. “I’ve still got a lot of living to do.”