When a job change and new health insurance provided John Helmick with the opportunity to undergo a comprehensive physical exam, he decided the time was right to take a good look at his health.
At 75, John knew he needed to lose weight. “I had gotten to the point where I was avoiding mirrors and having my picture taken,” he admits. So while sitting in the waiting room at Virginia Heart to be seen for his sleep apnea, John noticed a brochure for the Ideal Protein medical weight loss program.
He mentioned his interest to Hannah Moon, a nurse practitioner in Virginia Heart’s Sleep Center, who referred him to the Ideal Protein program.
The more he learned about the program, the more John decided the time was right to finally do something about his weight, which had topped out at 242 lbs. With the support of his Ideal Protein Coach, John lost 30 lbs. in his first 30 days on the program! Within 60 days, he was down a total of 44 lbs. He attributes much of his success to the 24 years he spent in the U.S. Army. “I am very structured and I follow the program to a T,” he says.
Although his initial goal was to lose 50 lbs., John did not like the fact that his body mass index (BMI) was still in the obese range so he continued on the program. As of January, he has lost a total of 80 pounds! He is very excited to be, as he puts it, “out of the obese range” and improving his BMI below the obese range reduces his risk for cardiac disease and he has already seen a drop in his blood pressure. He has since moved into Phase 3 of the program. Phase 3 focuses on maintaining the patient’s current weight by following the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
John says being able to take care of his general cardiac care with his cardiologist Dr. Alireza Maghsoudi, his sleep needs through the Sleep Center at Virginia Heart and his weight loss with the Ideal Protein team is like “bringing your car in for a complete tune-up all in one place. It is great that all of these aspects of my care are all part of the same organization,” he says.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many traditions, John is looking forward to the day when he can return to his alma mater, Virginia Tech, and take his place in the Alumni Regimental Band and show off his dramatic weight loss. “I haven’t been able to wear my band letter sweater for years,” he says. “But this year I put it on and it fit!”