Duke Diet & Fitness Center Success Story: Marilyn G.

Age: 63
Hometown: Gaithersburg, Md.

“As a result of my time at the DFC, I lost 135 pounds and went from a size 28 to a size 12/14 in a year and a half.” (Results not typical.)

I first went to the Duke Diet & Fitness Center (DFC) in 1992. I was very ill, and my ailments were the result of my overweight condition. I had Pickwickian syndrome, I couldn't sleep lying down. I awoke every night at 2 a.m. with splitting headaches -- I practically lived on headache pain medication. I could not climb stairs or walk anywhere without heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and pain. I could not go to the theater, fly in a plane, or visit other people's homes for fear that I wouldn't fit into the seats. Also, I had a rotator cuff problem, and I could not lift my arm above my shoulder or move it behind my back without severe pain. I was extremely sedentary, and this hampered me in my work (I teach third grade). All of this was accompanied by depression, worry, and a host of other emotional problems.

A week after arriving at the DFC, my daily severe headaches disappeared. When I went home after six weeks, I had almost full range of motion in my shoulder. I could sleep lying down again. As a result of my time at the DFC, I lost 135 pounds and went from a size 28 to a size 12/14 in a year and a half. I have been maintaining my weight loss for 14 years!

The DFC is like a weight-loss PhD program. I learned so much about health, fitness, nutrition, and behavior-change strategies. I also gained the confidence to stand up for what I know is right for me. For instance, in the gym I do the exercises that work for me. When some body-building "expert" accosts me with advice, I can say "Thanks, but no thanks!" Foods that were regulars in years past -- fast foods, doughnuts, and movie-theater popcorn loaded with butter and salt -- don't cross my lips now, and I don't even like them.

I could barely move before I went to the DFC, but now I hike for fun with my husband, do landscaping and gardening, and walk on my treadmill. At one time, I even belonged to two gyms! I believe exercise has the power to heal physical problems -- my own body's experience can attest to this.

My whole life is different. Thanks to the DFC, I got a full, active life back. I can walk miles for fun, and I love it. I can do my job successfully. I can work outside and have created a fabulous garden from nothing. I can dance again. I am 14 years older than when I first went to the DFC, but I feel younger!

Best compliment: Former students of mine came back to visit after a few years, saw me in my classroom, and left to ask which room I had been transferred to -- they didn't recognize me!

Favorite snack: Sugar-free Popsicles.

Favorite recipe: Fusili with roasted shrimp, tomatoes, garlic, and asparagus -- great for company.

Advice to others following the Duke Diet & Fitness program: No matter what, keep going back for refreshers. Even if you have relapses, go back, and always keep up the fight -- never give in. I'm fighting this problem till the day I die, but the benefits are worth the struggle.

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