Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
Bill -- A MOVE! Success Story
William “Bill” Lewis started the MOVE! program in December 2014, but didn’t take it seriously until April 26, 2016.
“My primary care doctor, Monty VanBeber and nurse practitioner, Cheryl Collins, said my EKG results suggested I may have had a heart attack in my sleep,” said Lewis, a Marine Corps Veteran, about his appointment that day. “My cholesterol, blood sugars and blood pressure were all too high.”
Lewis added that his weight had sky-rocketed to 310 pounds, a body mass index, or BMI, of 45 for a man of his height of 5 feet 8 inches. A normal BMI usually ranges from around 18 to 25; over 30 is considered to be dangerously overweight, increasing risk of serious health problems. MOVE! is a weight management health promotion program designed to improve the lives of Veterans. In 2015, more than three quarters of Veterans receiving care in VHA facilities nationwide were considered to be overweight or obese.
Clinician-led MOVE! groups meet regularly and follow a structured format for weight loss by increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating behaviors.
Lewis credits the Hyannis VA Clinic’s MOVE! program for his success after he began his participation in earnest following his appointment April 26. “I’ve lost close to 75 pounds and 11 points BMI … in five months,” said Lewis. He added that his goal is to reach 180 pounds by April 26, 2017. “I’ve been on an exercise program and eating all the right foods, thanks to Deb Gibbons.”
Debra Gibbons is a registered dietitian at the Hyannis VA Clinic who works with Lewis and other MOVE! participants.
While Lewis admits he still has a way to go, he says that his cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels are now all in the normal range. “I have a lot of energy now and always look forward to going to the gym,” he said, where he participates in a regimen of 3 days of cardiovascular exercise and 3 days of weight training, with one day off each week to rest. He added that he now sleeps better and that most of the joint pain he had suffered is gone.
Veterans interested in the MOVE! Program should ask their primary care provider, or call Brooke Rao, the MOVE! coordinator at (401) 273-7100, ext. 2730.
When asked what he would like other Veterans to know about the MOVE! program, Lewis said, “That they shouldn't give up. I’m living proof … you can lose weight and look good at 65!”