Erie VA Medical Center
MOVE! helps Veterans reach weight-loss goals
Before Doug DiPlacido, a 70-year-old Navy Veteran, started attending nutrition courses at the Erie VA Medical Center, he would have five greasy pieces of bacon and eggs deep-fried in bacon fat for breakfast.
It wasn’t until he went to the VA thinking he was having a heart attack from doing yard work that he found out the truth: he wasn’t dying, he was “just overweight and out of shape,” he said.
After losing 76 pounds over a year and a half through the MOVE! Weight Management Program, Doug has maintained his weight loss and no longer needs the blood pressure or cholesterol medications he used to take.
The MOVE! Program is dedicated to helping Veterans improve their quality of life through healthier eating habits and increased physical activity.
Sandra Luthringer, a dietitian with the Erie VA Medical Center’s Nutrition and Food Services, leads the Erie MOVE! Program and has worked closely with DiPlacido throughout his weight-loss journey.
According to Luthringer, with any major lifestyle change, a Veteran has to be ready to make the change.
“Doug was ready, and took on the challenge with full force” she said. “He let go of all of his prior excuses and has never looked back.”
DiPlacido said if any Veterans are struggling with their weight, the MOVE! Program will help if they want to participate and follow the lessons learned.
“It isn’t a diet…it’s a lifestyle change,” he explained. “You can learn to think differently about how you eat and make better choices.”
For DiPlacido, the group provided nutrition guidance as well as accountability.
“The benefit of it is we’re reinforcing each other, giving each other suggestions, and seeing how we’re doing,” he said.
Luthringer agreed that weight loss is much more successful with teamwork.
“Studies show that it’s easier to succeed if you surround yourself with people who understand and support your same goals,” she explained. “The goal of our support groups is to offer education, encouragement, and accountability to help our Veterans reach their health goals. “
The regularly scheduled weigh-ins also help keep him accountable, he said.
“When you’re going to eat something [unhealthy], and you know you’re going to have to weigh in on Wednesday, you rethink if you really want to eat it, if it’s worth it,” he explained.
DiPlacido continues to attend groups even though he reached his goal weight and said he noticed he felt better overall.
“Just walking around, you can feel the difference,” he said. “You can walk somewhere and you don’t get winded.”If you are ready to jump-start your New Year’s weight-loss resolutions, contact the MOVE! Program at 814-860-2554 or visit www.erie.va.gov/services/Nutrition_Clinic.asp.