Ridgefield woman finds big success, new life with weight-loss program

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

Published:

 

Learn More

For more information about the HMR program at PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss for Life clinic, call 360-514-6805 or email wlfl@peacehealth.org

RIDGEFIELD — Meghan Green had somewhat low expectations when she started the HMR diet last January.

Green weighed 412 pounds at her official weigh-in. Losing 50 pounds, she thought, would be awesome. Maybe, if things went really well, she could drop 75 pounds.

Never in her wildest dreams did Green think she would lose nearly three times that amount. In less than a year, Green has lost 216 pounds.

She’s below 200 pounds for the first time she can remember. She traded in her size 36 pants for size 14s. She no longer needs to order clothes online. Instead, she can walk into Target and buy clothes off of the rack.

“I never thought clothes shopping was fun because it was embarrassing and sad,” she said. “But now, I’m having fun.”

Green, 37, enrolled in the highly structured Health Management Resources program at PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss for Life clinic after seeing her mother’s weight-loss success.

Unlike most programs, HMR requires minimum food amounts, rather than maximums. Program participants meet weekly with dietitians, eat meal replacements. Many are medically supervised.

HMR was recently named the best diet for fast weight loss (tied with Weight Watchers) for the third consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report. Green is one of only a couple of local program participants who have lost more than 200 pounds, said Ali Jack, a registered dietitian at the clinic.

“Meghan has lost quite a bit of weight, and she’s done it fast,” Jack said. “The more weight you have to lose, the quicker that tends to be.”

To achieve that success, Green has followed the diet “to the letter” and worked hard, Jack said. She’s also been medically supervised, Jack said, ensuring that the weight loss was done safely. That monitoring includes meeting with a registered nurse weekly and undergoing regular blood tests.

“She has really inspired a lot of people in our program,” Jack said.

Ready for change

Green’s weight gain began when she was 17 years old. Eventually, she stopped looking at the scale and her own body. In her mid-20s, she started therapy, but her battles with food didn’t end.

She’s had weight-loss success in the past, but nothing ever stuck. But by the end of 2016, Green was ready to try again.

She had recently started her first job as a speech pathologist after completing grad school and taking time off to have a baby. Green struggled to get down on the ground with the kids, and she often fielded uncomfortable questions from curious youngsters.

“Kids are brutally honest,” she said. “And you can’t fault a kid for saying, ‘Why are you so fat?’ ”

At home, Green’s daughter, Maddy, who is now 3 years old, was getting more active. Green couldn’t get down to Maddy’s level. She couldn’t run around outside with her toddler.

“I was tired of that lifestyle,” Green said.

She enrolled in HMR and hoped to drop 50 pounds. In the first week, Green lost 16 pounds. The big numbers rolled in for weeks. Green set her sights on bigger goals: lose 100 pounds, see 199 on the scale. She hit them all. And her next goal — to weigh 180 pounds — is within reach.

“Part of why this has been so successful is because I can be so lazy,” Green said. “As a working mom, (the program is) easy.”

‘A whole new life’

The program is broken up into two phases. First is the weight-loss phase, which requires participants to use meal replacements and shakes to drop weight. Participants can choose to supplement their diet with fresh fruits and veggies or follow the “decision-free” track that utilizes only HMR food.

Green, who chose the decision-free path, is still in the weight-loss phase. Every day, she drinks five shakes — split into three servings — and eats two meal replacements. She drinks plenty of water and chews gum if she starts to get hungry before mealtime.

“Being hungry is not an emergency,” she said. “Who knew?”

Soon, Green said, she’s going to try incorporating fruits and vegetables back into her diet.

The second part of the program is the maintenance phase, during which dietitians work with participants to transition from meal replacements to preparing and eating healthful meals. Participants stay in that stage for 12 to 18 months.

“Phase 2 still seems a little daunting,” Green said. “I’m not ready for that.”

The program cost can vary depending on how each participant’s needs. Class fees are $22 per week and food is usually $100 per week or more, Jack said. Medical supervision costs extra, she said.

“It’s a whole lot cheaper than having a heart attack,” Green said.

In addition to the diet, the program encourages exercise.

Green started with “Walk Away The Pounds” videos in her living room. Now, she’s running outside to the gym, where she works out. She bought a treadmill for Christmas and recently ran her first solo 5K. She goes to park trails, where Maddy rides her bike and Green jogs. She plays in the yard with her daughter.

“That stuff never ever would’ve happened,” Green said. “So that’s cool.”

While Green still has more weight to lose, she’s embraced her success.

“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “I just have a whole new life, in so many ways.”