Teacher Loses More Than 100 Pounds!
"Many people have commented on how I've become a new person, but that's not true...I'm just myself again..."
In just a little more than a year, Sheryl Le Vine lost 115 pounds and drastically cut down daily medications. Her diabetic A1c level is back in the normal range and her blood pressure is nearly perfect. An elementary school teacher from Schaumburg, Illinois, Sheryl said, “I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve remained on this journey for over a year and I’m making it a lifestyle.”
Last summer, Sheryl had a very different story to tell. Like many others, she was overweight as an adult and maintained that weight for years. Sadly, she lost both parents and another loved one within an 18-month span and gained more weight. A few years ago, she became allergic to something in her classroom, making her progressively more ill and, partly due to medication, unable to control her weight gain. “I was larger than ever before, I couldn’t breathe, and was increasingly immobile. I was in a constant state of pain and exhaustion. The person in the mirror was not me.”
After finding Structure House online, Sheryl arrived for her first of three visits in June 2008. “It provided me a safe, nurturing place with a warm, caring, knowledgeable staff where I could concentrate on nothing but myself. I took advantage of a good balance of three daily nutritious meals, classes in nutrition, behavior, physical fitness, therapy, group support, and an up-to-date gym. I was able to change my relationship with food and take more time just to take care of myself.”
Sheryl, now 47 years old, lost 30 pounds during her first six-week stay and received her 100-pound jacket in July 2009, just one year after her first visit. “Many people have commented on how I’ve become a new person, but that’s not true…I’m just myself again. Most of all, I’ve established a lifestyle that has balance. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun…but it’s working and it’s worth the effort.”
Sheryl explains that her watchword this past year has been balance. “I strive for balance in my life: body, mind and spirit, but also balance in how I structure my day. I work, I work out, I try my best to create downtime, and I make sure to spend time with friends.”
After struggling with her weight for so many years, Sheryl learned to become her own best advocate. “I did most of this by myself and for myself, but was lucky to have a few wonderfully supportive friends and professionals, both at home and at Structure House. Big influences at Structure House are Randy Weiss, my personal trainer, and Nancy Freeman, one of the nurses. They helped me more than they will ever know, and I am so grateful. I also want everyone to know, that if I can do what I’ve been doing, despite some recent unexpected losses, as well as some injuries, that you can do it, too. We all have it in us…we just have to reach out and grab our lives back.”
During the past year, Sheryl started a program called, “Mega Minutes of Movement” with her 3rd grade classroom to teach the importance of exercising your brain AND your body. Sheryl and her students kept track of all their activities, such as bike riding, walking the dog, playing tag, sports, and other exercise. All the minutes were logged and charted on a huge thermometer on the wall. By the end of the school year, her classroom logged more than 75,000 minutes of exercise activity at home. “Most importantly, as my students watched me continue to lose weight in a healthy way, they were able to learn about the balance I always talk about and how to make it part of a healthy lifestyle.”
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