Laurie Flower

Health and happiness are more than weight loss.

For 20 years, my weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo as I switched from one diet to another, but nothing stuck until I joined the Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP).

When I was about to turn 50 years old, I made my annual New Year’s resolution to lose weight. My goal was to lose 50 pounds. I started a very rigid diet. For lunch, I ate a yogurt and a serving of whole-wheat crackers. For dinner, I cooked a frozen diet meal. I didn’t eat breakfast or snack between meals. After 45 days, I lost 15 pounds. I felt awful.

So I started a new diet. As long as I didn’t exceed my calories for the day, I thought what I ate didn’t matter. I was wrong. After 45 days, I had lost 15 more pounds, but I felt even worse.

Then, I heard about the BHS-CRI LEP. My walking partner, Madonna, and I signed up – I knew I needed help. As the BHS-CRI LEP began, I learned how unhealthy I really was. My vitamin D, white blood count, and blood pressure were all extremely low. I couldn’t do one sit-up or a push-up. My cholesterol was borderline high. Most curious of all, I felt extremely anxious all the time. The more weight I lost, the more vulnerable I felt.

The BHS-CRI LEP taught me that true health is finding a balance of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I’d been so focused on losing weight that I forgot to find the things that make me feel happy, healthy and grounded. The individual consultations with an integrative health specialist, nutritionist, physical therapist, and behavioral health expert were incredible. With their guidance and encouragement, I started making small changes, not just to my eating habits but to my exercise, my relationships, and my feelings about myself. I quit trying to lose 50 pounds. I learned to lose one pound at a time and keep it off. Over time, small changes led to big ones.

With the support of the BHS-CRI LEP staff at Fairview Hospital, my friend Madonna, and the other participants, I’ve learned that good health and happiness are more than weight loss. Now, I actually have lost 50 pounds – and for the first time in my life I have kept it off! I am feeling better, happier, and stronger than I’ve ever felt.

I am really grateful to the BHS-CRI LEP for helping me finally understand the small changes I needed to make. The BHS-CRI LEP is a gift to Berkshire County.

Laurie Flower
Program Participant
Berkshire Health Systems-CRI Life Enhancement Program at Fairview Hospital
Great Barrington, MA