Duke Diet & Fitness Center Success Story: Scott R.

Age: 43 Hometown: Stratford, NJ

"I lost more than 215 pounds in just 10 months." (Results not typical)

It was November 2004, at my aunt's funeral. I stood up to share my memories of her life and to say my goodbye. Surrounded by my family, I could barely stand: even 30 seconds on my feet made me gasp for breath and sweat profusely. I heard a little voice in my head say, "You're 41 years old, obese, and you're gonna die. Next week, next month -- who knows? -- but soon."

I went home from the funeral that night, at more than 430 pounds, and hit rock bottom. I wondered how on earth my once-bright future had become a living nightmare. In the coming weeks, I reached out in desperation to friends and family and begged for any help or advice they could offer to help me turn my life around. I was desperate -- I didn't want to die. I would do anything, go anywhere, leave my home and family -- anything it took to get my life back.

For years I had tried fad diets -- sometimes even starving myself. I knew I needed something different this time. I started searching the Internet, looking for someplace or somebody who could make me change. In late January, I discovered the Duke Diet & Fitness Center (DFC) Web site. I did some research and learned that this was a medically sanctioned program designed to teach obese patients healthful living habits so they could regain their health.

I sold my belongings. I took a medical leave from my job. I packed my car and headed for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center's residential program in Durham, N.C. Six weeks later and 45 pounds lighter, I had a new lease on life. After 10 months, I had lost a total of 216 pounds, more than half my body weight!

My experience at the DFC completely changed my life forever. What's unique about the Duke approach is the honesty. They don't pull any punches. They told me in a very direct way how I had gotten where I was and how to overcome my weight problem. All I had to do was listen and be willing to learn.

They helped me change my attitude about diet and exercise. Before I went there, food meant "comfort." Now, though I enjoy food very much, meals are more about quality nutrition that enables me to be active, rather than being a crutch. Before my DFC experience, I was unable to exercise. Now I look forward to exercising every day -- it makes me feel good about myself.

I went from a 6XL and a 56-inch waist to a Large (no X anything!) and a 36-inch waist. I was borderline hypertensive, with a resting heart rate near 90 BPM. I now weigh 200 pounds, and I have a blood pressure of 105 over 65 and a resting heart rate of 40 BPM.

I am living a dream -- one of wonder and joy, from every triumph and through every personal interaction. I love my life, and I love my body. The prison I used to inhabit now enables me to be active every day -- taking long walks, golfing, running, backpacking, bowling, lifting weights, and many other things that just 10 months earlier I thought I would never be able to do again. I marvel at even the simplest things that I can now do, like tying my shoes or crossing my legs. In just ten months I regained my health and my life. On the brink of death, I was reborn.

Best compliment: My cousin, who has known me my entire life, walked right by me without recognizing me. I actually had to introduce myself!

Favorite snack: Apples.

New accomplishment: In October 2006, I ran in and finished the GoLite Boulder Backroads Half Marathon. I didn't set any speed records, but I finished. I have truly been blessed.

Helping others: In November 2005, I went back to the DFC for a refresher. I went to celebrate being "half the man I used to be," to make sure I was still on the right track, and to take my knowledge to the next level. "Are you Scott!?" said the large man standing in the lunch line. "I heard you lost over 200 pounds since February! You look fantastic. How the hell did you do it?!" Over the past year, it has been such an honor and pleasure to share my story with others who are struggling with obesity, with people I meet on the street, through articles, or while speaking to groups.

Advice to others following the Duke Diet & Fitness program: Listen and learn. Every day, try to practice three or four things that they teach you. Make these things habits that you can live with for the rest of your life. Results will follow.

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