Harvey Robinson has lost something he took a long time to acquire — and he doesn’t care if he ever gets it back. He lost 11 inches from his waist and about 85 pounds in five months, with the help of a diet and wellness program based at the Hope Pharmasave.
In addition to the weight loss, Robinson says he has kicked his daily dosage of Tylenol 3 medications and his sleep apnea problems have also subsided.
His story has a long history of poor health, but Robinson’s big change started over the Christmas break in 2014.
“I was having some problems with my back and my doctor said there wasn’t much more she could do, as I was already taking up to six T-3s a day. I have a slipped disk and they wouldn’t operate on me because I was overweight,” said Robinson.
When the doctor said the last option was morphine pills, that was his signal that something had to change. At the suggestion of Robinson’s wife Adrienne, he took a look at the Pharmasave program run by a woman named Ronda Cushnie
“I started on January 20th and lost sixteen-and-a-half pounds in the first week. After that, it’s been 5-6-5, but it’s slowing down now. Altogether, I’ve lost about 85 pounds,” said Robinson, who certainly looks different than he did when he was pushing 323 pounds.
People would see him in the street and worry that he was sick. He’d like everyone to know it’s exactly the opposite. He’s getting healthier and there’s no need to worry.
“I used to go for a walk around the high school and I’d have to stop — I don’t know how many times this happened — just to get around the school. Now I can do it without stopping,” he said. “I have a CPAP machine that forces me to breathe when I’m sleeping. I got it in 2008. After starting the program, I haven’t used it.”
When he slips into the size 6X swim trunks he once wore at the local pool, the difference is astounding.
Robinson used to have no trouble playing Santa Claus for local schools at their Christmas assemblies. From now on, he’ll need pillows or he’ll be out of a job.
“It’s typical that you’re going to lose glucagon storage in the first week of the program. “But, the weight loss was significant in Harvey’s case,” said weight loss coach, Cushnie.
“I knew I had a good loser when I saw his numbers,” she said.
Participants are weighed and assessed each week according to Cushnie. “We use a machine that reads through their body and gives an accurate count of the calories they need, their hydration, lean muscle mass and percentage of body fat.
“In phase 1, we generally see people who are at risk for heart disease. We want them to lose weight quickly and get them out of the heart risk.”
At this stage, extra exercise is not encouraged and all participants should consult with their doctor before embarking on any exercise program according to the fitness guru.
Cushnie herself is an example of what the Ideal Protein program can do. “I consider myself in maintenance now. It’s a very different program — and I’ve tried almost everything. It’s the only program I’ve seen that rests the liver and the pancreas. When carbs are reintroduced, you can maintain your weight. I would say this is a wellness program, not a weight-loss program.
“I went from a size 12 to a size 6, losing 25 pounds — but a lot of inches. I’ve never been a size 4 and I am now.”
A consultation would give a more in-depth look at the program but Cushnie explained: “Basically, we’re reducing calories and carbs, while giving enough protein to maintain muscle mass. We encourage an alkaline diet, with two green salads per day and four cups of vegetables — and up to eight ounces of meat.”
Not all vegetables are allowed, though. Any which are high in sugar content are nixed: so corn, peas, carrots and beets are taken off the plate. Fruits as also dropped — though tomatoes are allowed.
Spices and hot sauce are not limited.
Hydration is huge. Robinson figures he’s downing six litres of water per day.
The withdrawn foods can be reintroduced in the later phases, with weekly coaching and daily e-mailed tips to maintain a healthy new balance.
“One-on-one coaching and weekly consultations boost accountability,” said Cushnie. “We encourage clients to keep a food journal, as this helps them to stay focused on what’s going into their mouth.”
With the program based at the pharmacy, clients can have their medications adjusted regularly by the pharmacist without necessarily visiting the doctor. One woman in the program had her type-2 diabetes medication reduced to zero over time.
“You get into type 2 diabetes with food — and you can get out of it with different food,” said Cushnie.The program has a selection of foods that are sold at the store and these are provided in a starter kit, included in the $250 program fee. Weekly coaching and assessments for a year are also included.Robinson figured he spends about $118 per week, currently, to replenish his supplies — but this will taper off as he moves to the maintenance phase.
“It’s not a program where they’re trying to make a lot of money,” said Cushnie. “I might see a client for a year and they’re not buying any products.”
Cushnie is taking her skills to the Chilliwack Pharmasave on Main and Spadina, starting next week. Willa Doner, who has gone through the program and has been working with Cushnie, will be moving into the lead role at the Hope store.