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Name: Scott F.

Age: 38

Ornish Site: ‘Ekahi Health System

Health Challenges: Family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, high triglycerides

Greatest Motivation: After graduation, I felt like people expected me to revert to my previous lifestyle, so program adherence became something of a competition for me; ever since, I’ve been determined to show people that I can continue to adhere to the lifestyle

His Story: I first heard about Ornish Lifestyle Medicine (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) through my employer. I had a family history of heart disease, my cholesterol was 230, and my triglycerides were over 400. Both my cholesterol and triglycerides had been trending upwards for a while, and so had my weight. I’ve been in the healthcare industry for many years, so I knew that my health was something I needed to take control of – and I needed to take control of it soon.

Before enrolling ask: What is my purpose? Why am I doing this?

After talking with the program’s nurse case manager, I decided to enroll in the program. I was all-in immediately. I knew that the only way I could succeed was to have a full commitment and adherence to the program. It wasn’t easy at first, but now I can’t imagine my life without the program experience. Following the program guidelines has become routine. During the program’s 9 weeks, I lost 30 pounds and I’ve lost an additional 10 pounds since I graduated from the program. Additionally, with the support of my physician, I have eliminated the need for 3 medications (2 for cholesterol and 1 for hypertension), totaling 8 pills a day. I am happy to say that I take zero medications now!

Most importantly, I no longer question if I will be around for my children. Today, I hope and believe that the habits that I have learned through the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program will help me to live a longer, healthier life.

Update: 1 Year Later

It’s been a year since I graduated from Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, and I continue to be happy with the impact it has had on my life. In order to be successful, I think questions people need to ask themselves before enrolling are – what is my purpose; why am I doing this? For me, understanding my purpose with the program has been the most important aspect. The program is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle – that’s why it’s been relatively easy for me to maintain my success over the last year. Today, I’m more enjoyable to be around, I’m more active, and I’m healthier than I was before enrolling. I’m also still taking zero medications!

After graduation, I felt like people expected me to revert to my previous lifestyle, so program adherence became something of a competition for me; ever since, I’ve been determined to show people that I can continue to adhere to the lifestyle. When I find myself getting off track, I’m not hard on myself; instead, I focus on the program’s blueprint, which provides me with the knowledge needed to get right back on track. It’s easy to make excuses, especially with 3 kids, but that’s no reason not to take care of myself – in fact, having 3 kids is the reason I should take care of myself!

In the year ahead, my goal is to stay focused on my success with the program and to continue to expand my support system and family involvement. My wife and I are planning to enroll in a yoga class together and my mom is now cooking program-friendly foods for our Sunday family dinners. Having a strong support system is really important for success. I don’t keep in touch with the other cohort participants as much as I would like to, but when I do, it’s fun to reminisce and refresh the great friendships we developed. For group support, my advice to other graduates is this: make sure you keep in touch with your cohort participants, attend the alumni events, and find small ways – like reading alumni newsletters – to remind yourself of that group experience and support.

Overall, my lifestyle continues to evolve in a positive way. Before the program, I thought better health revolved around exercise, but now I understand that group support, nutrition, and stress management are all needed. When I’m missing one piece of the puzzle, I can feel the difference.



Contributed by

Adam Farina

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