Culver City Middle School, Association of Classified Employees, Culver City
It sounds like a TV reality show: A school secretary receives a two-week all-expenses-paid stay at a weight-loss clinic and spa run by Dr. Robert Huizenga, the celebrity doctor on the reality show “The Biggest Loser.” She learns to eat and cook healthy, thanks to two personal chefs. She enjoys salsa dancing with dance teachers from “Dancing With the Stars,” one of whom choreographed a number for the Academy Awards.
With a personal motivator, a physical therapist, plus basketball and yoga classes, weight loss was fun, says Lelah Pealer. No, she wasn’t selected by Central Casting to visit The Clinic by Dr. H last February. Daughter Samantha Morley, director of the clinic in Los Angeles, used her discount and paid the $3,000 balance as a gift to her mom.
Pealer, 60, loves being a school secretary, but the combination of being sedentary all day and receiving goodies from parents caused her to balloon. The opportunity to “diet with the stars” was a starting point for making permanent changes in her life. Since January, she’s gone from 237 pounds to 175 and went from size 18 to 14. Her goal is to lose another 30 pounds.
She’s no longer pre-diabetic and much more energetic. She loves the compliments, especially when students tell her that she’s getting “littler.” Seeing her dramatic results prompted co-workers to jump on the bandwagon and join her for after-school walks. Parents are supportive, honoring her request for healthier treats. “They understand that we have changed our lifestyle here.”
The most important things I learned at the clinic…
is that it’s not about dieting, it’s about changing your lifestyle and your mindset. I learned what types of food to eat, like lean meats, sprouted whole grain pastas and bread, lots of fruits and vegetables, and low-fat cheese, and to avoid processed food. I write down everything I eat — and I mean everything — in a journal so I can keep track of it. I read labels and buy food that’s low in sugar and high in protein. It’s amazing. Once you start eating healthier, you begin to crave healthier foods.
My exercise regime now includes…
hiking every Saturday; walking after school with my daughter or husband or co-workers; and using the gym in our school two to three times a week for an hour workout.
One of my biggest challenges…
was hitting a weight loss plateau. I just had a two-month plateau. But I didn’t gain the weight in a year and I’m not going to lose it in a year. When you hit a plateau, it just means your body is adjusting to its current weight, and you should eat very little sugar and carbs.