I’ve been struggling with weight and health challenges for the past several years. On two occasions my primary care physician at the Cleveland Clinic said to me “I have a guy to help you”. It wasn’t until the 3rd reference and over a few years later that I took my physician’s referral seriously. On June 18, 2017, I made the decision. I made the call and met with Dr. Gutman and his clinical assistant Betsy. We sat in a conference room at a round table where I proceeded to give my story and my excuses for my unwanted pounds. “I have Hashimoto’s, I was immobile for 3 1/2 months due to foot trauma, lifestyle indulgences, etc.” In my mind I thought that if I spoke the words my pounds would melt off. Wishful thinking! I found myself talking without taking a breath. And Dr. Gutman and Betsy just listened. They listened and said nothing until I was done rambling. “I am diabetic, I have high blood pressure, I have a thyroid disease, I like wine, etc.” Not being criticized was the turning point for me. I felt instant connection and confidence that I was in the right place. Dr. Gutman explained his program. To know me, you’d know that I’m the girl that never counted calories, didn’t exercise, indulged in dining out, cooked high calorie, high fat, sugary meals and never had a second thought about what I was putting in my mouth. My life was an unhealthy, spiral mess. I asked Dr. Gutman one question. “ How much weight could I lose in 3 months?” His response was “30 pounds”. SOLD! That number was motivation enough and I left Dr. Gutman office looking forward to my personalized program.

That day changed my mindset, my attitude, and my belief in myself. I started to work the Cleveland Nutrition program and had fun trying and creating new menus. The website is an amazing tool of information, communication and support. It really helped me get situated and stay motivated. Tracking my food choices and intake daily and logging helped me to be accountable and it also helped because Dr. Gutman and Betsy would give advice on limiting, eliminating or adding certain foods to my diet that would help me achieve my goals. If I fell off, I would get encouraging messages to start over and keep up the program. One time I reported that I ate 2 cups of pistachios, the response was “that’s a lot of pistachios!” That’s all I needed to get back on track. There wasn’t a time set for communication. I would get replies in the evening, weekends and even when the Dr. was out of town. Of course that was not expected but it was unbelievable and awesome and really showed how much they care for their patients.

I’m approaching 1 year of eating plant-based. I chose to eliminate dairy, meat, fish from my diet. 6 months into my program I had a blood draw and my primary physician was thrilled with my results. I was taken off of diabetes medicine and high blood pressure medicine. When I finished my program I had lost 38 pounds. Today my Husband has joined in this healthy lifestyle but still includes some animal products, he’s added more plant based to his choices and he too has benefited from weight loss and is feeling better. It’s not hard, it’s fun, and still today I can’t believe that I/we are doing it. There is no looking back. We still enjoy dining out and cooking but today we are educated and we are able to make better choices. I still have unwanted weight to lose and knowing it is not a quick fix I’ve also taken up a boot camp exercise program and I am at the gym at 5:30 AM for workouts. This, from the girl who didn’t exercise. I’ve turned 50 this year. I’m energized, I’m healthy, and I’m renewed. I give heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Dr. Gutman and his staff.

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