Duke Diet & Fitness Center Success Story: Bill B.

Age: 35
Hometown: Hamilton, NJ

"I went from 312 pounds to 180 pounds!"*

I had always been a heavy kid. From my earliest memories, my weight was a topic of conversation. Whether I was eating too much, was referred to as "big boned," or had to wear "husky" clothing, being heavy was as much a part of my growing up as anything else.

It was a vicious cycle. Because I was overweight, I was always picked last for every team. Because I was picked last, I tried to avoid physical activity. By the time I graduated college, I weighed nearly 300 pounds.

After graduation, I worked for a candidate for the United States Senate. I remember very clearly sitting in a bathroom at some political event, having chest pains and thinking that I would not make it to 25 years old. During that campaign, I met a 50-year-old man who looked great and seemed to be in shape. My boss later told me that the man had just lost about 50 pounds. I called him and asked how he did it. He told me about the Duke Diet & Fitness Center (DFC), and I called the next day.

When I checked into the DFC in November 1994, I weighed 312 pounds. When I left four weeks later, I had lost 14 pounds. Afterward, I continued to drop one or two pounds a week until I got down to 185. In 2001, I started going back to the DFC for one week each year. A critical part of my healthy lifestyle is staying connected to the program that literally saved my life.

Now I'm able to keep my weight around 180 pounds. I once wore a size 54 long suit. I now wear a 40 long -- and I even have to have it taken in at the stomach!

The two most important things I did when I left the DFC were keeping a food diary and working out every day. The food diary forced me to think about food more than I had before I went to the DFC. Each day I planned out my meals, and by writing down everything I ate, including the calories, I was able to see how what I was eating affected my progress.

I was unable to do much physical activity before I went to the DFC. Climbing one set of stairs made me winded. At the DFC, I took advantage of many of the fitness offerings, including water aerobics, swimming, floor aerobics, and cardio machines. When I returned home, I joined my local YMCA, and every day I walked on the treadmill. I found that the more exercise I could do, the faster I lost weight. Eventually, I became an avid runner and competed in 5K and 10-mile races. I remember finishing my first 10-mile race and thanking God I had gone to the DFC!

The Duke Diet program isn't just about losing weight. It's about making a lifetime commitment to a healthier lifestyle. I like to say the DFC is the best "second chance" place in America. The combination of nutrition, fitness, and behavior classes gives you a complete plan to build that new life. The staff members also build your skills to ensure that you continue the lifestyle when you go home.

The DFC has also given me another family. The group of people who go back with me every year is as close to me as anyone. We talk all the time and have become a support group for one another.

Over the last 12 years, my life has become completely different. I am healthy, I work out, and I look like an in-shape 35-year-old. I can live now. I can climb steps without being winded. I can work out. I can fit into the clothes I want to wear. I can get a date!

Best compliment: I still meet people who are shocked at my ability to lose 130 pounds and keep it off. The best compliment, though, is from my doctor, who tells me every year how great my blood work is and how healthy I am.

Favorite snack: Bananas or pretzels.

Best advice to others following the Duke Diet & Fitness program: First, make sure you have a group of people that you call on regularly so that you can have a support network. Call on them often!

*Results not typical.

LEARN MORE: For more information or to speak to an admissions coordinator, call 1-888-313-7174 or use our online contact form.