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Name: Pastor Jonathan W

Age: 65

Ornish Site: The Heart Health Center, St. Louis, MO

Health Challenges: High cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, excessive weight.

Greatest Motivation: My wife was practically vegetarian before I started this program, and now we do this together. It’s a joint thing. Our relationship has improved because we’re spending more time together doing something.

His Story: I started The Heart Health Center program with this idea that I was going to do it as best I could. I never had a problem with committing to doing something. I stopped smoking cold turkey with nothing other than the words, “I’m going to stop smoking.” I’ve been able to stay committed to that statement.

If you told me that I was going to lose 50 pounds in two months, I would’ve said: “You are crazy.”

Last August, I went in for my physical. They did a blood test, and on that blood test, I was diagnosed as being type 2 diabetic. I had an A1C of seven. My cholesterol was 125, and I also had some high liver function numbers. My blood pressure was running about 135, 140 over 90.

I weighed about 235 pounds and I tried everything to lose weight for years. In fact, at one point I was walking up to ten miles a day. I watched my diet and I just couldn’t lose any weight.

After seven and a half weeks into the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation), my A1C number had dropped to five point seven. My low-density cholesterol (LDL) had dropped to 65, and my liver function numbers were back on the way to being normal again.

Since I’ve been in this program, my blood pressure has been under control; it’s dropped to an average of about 112 over 60, 65. With my physician’s approval I could drop one of my blood pressure medicines. Basically, it’s been an answer to my prayers. I am really thrilled with the way this program has worked for me.

I lost 50 pounds in two months. If you told me that I was going to lose 50 pounds in two months, I would’ve said: “You are crazy.” I got down to the weight I wanted to be for the last 35 years, and I think that was the most rewarding; the fact that I stuck to it, and it really paid dividends.

My wife was practically vegetarian before I started this program, and now we do this together. It’s a team effort. Our relationship has improved because we’re spending more time together doing something.

I find that eating this way, I developed some new tastes, and there are new foods that I enjoy eating. It’s not something I’m enduring. It’s something that I just changed my lifestyle to be. This is what works for me, and this is what’s enjoyable for me.

Being a pastor tends to be a stressful occupation because you are not only dealing with your problems. You are dealing with everybody else’s problems.

The stress management part of the program is where I’ve had the most difficulty keeping up. For a St. Louis, Missouri Lutheran Pastor to admit that he’s going to do yoga is about akin to saying that he’s taking up voodoo. But don’t get me wrong, I really do think that it’s great.

I can’t say enough good things about the program. It’s just great.

This kind of lifestyle that has changed my life; it’s made it more worthwhile, easier to live and less dependent on drugs. I’m less stressed, happier and more energetic.

You have to commit yourself to it, but if you do, it really works. I mean, it’s going to do more for you than you think. You’re going to reap more benefits from it than you can imagine.

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Better Health Begins With You...

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