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May 3, 2013

Program promotes overall wellness

(Continued)

“It’s a good feeling when I get compliments from everybody,” she said.

LOST 250-PLUS POUNDS

Smith’s weight problem was so severe that she looked into having lap-band surgery to restrict the amount of food she could eat. Doctors told her she could not qualify for the procedure unless she lost 50 pounds.

“My friend told me that if I could lose 50 pounds (without the surgery), then I could lose more weight on my own,” she said.

Over the next seven years, she was able to lose 288 pounds.

“I hit a plateau and wasn’t losing weight anymore,” she said of the time when weight loss seemed to abandon her. “I was getting depressed. I wanted to stay in my bedroom, didn’t want to leave.”

That’s when she joined Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds, which has also helped her aim for weight loss through small steps. She has lost an additional 45 pounds since then.

“I’d like to try to get out into the community more,” she said of the confidence she has gained. “I’m trying not to isolate myself. I feel a lot better about myself, a lot better that I don’t have all that weight.”

GROUP SUPPORT

The program has about 14 clients who support one another in reaching for their goals.

“One reason it has worked so well is that everyone encourages one another,” Recore said. “When one client doesn’t reach a certain goal, the others nudge them forward with support.

“When they do (reach a goal), there is active applause.”

The PROS Program offers a variety of services for community members with mental illness.

“We help people go to work or school, help them achieve goals of their own choosing,” said Shawn Sabella, director of the PROS Learning Center at the BHSN Center for Wellbeing.

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