Be Your Best Self

HMR program at St. Joe’s helped 62-year-old Ford retiree meet his weight-loss goal

Pat-Shifferd_After-1377059678-1536693750867.jpgPatrick Shifferd is enjoying retirement, feeling healthier than ever. He typically starts his mornings with a glass of water, vitamins and hot cereal before taking the dog out for a two-and-a-half mile walk.

It’s an active lifestyle Patrick says would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, when he was overweight and ailing from a host of issues.

Patrick, now retired from Ford Motor Company, said his doctor advised him since 2012 to join a weight-loss program. But it wasn’t until he weighed 375 pounds, and his doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery, that Patrick seriously considered making a change.

“I had never been on a formalized weight-loss program before, and I’m not one to get surgery just for the sake of having surgery,” Patrick said.

Determined to avoid surgery, Patrick researched weight-loss programs and came across the HMR program offered at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

St. Joe’s physician-directed HMR weight management program teaches new lifestyle skills to help people improve their overall health, while using nutritious meal replacements to jump-start weight-loss.

“HMR resonated with me, and I decided that’s the way I want to go,” Patrick said.

The simple diet and high-intensity lifestyle intervention program has been named a No. 1 Best Fast Weight Loss Diet by U.S. News & World Report for the past three years.

IMG_1655Patrick began HMR in August 2016, and he found the Phase 1 medically supervised, decision-free program easy to use. Under that plan, Patrick had a personalized prescription of HMR foods – shakes, entrees, cereal and nutrition bars – in addition to unlimited fruits and vegetables. Through the one-on-one consultations and weekly classes focused on behavior change, Patrick was coached on how to be more active and how to make healthier food choices.

“It’s very easy to follow, but what I tell others is that you have to have a strong motivation to lose weight,” Patrick said.

By December 2016, Patrick was 87 pounds lighter, and no longer considered a type 2 diabetic.

His all-time weight loss came in at 120 pounds in April 2017, at which time Patrick transitioned to Phase 2 weekly classes, using HMR foods and grocery store items. Over the next year, Patrick gained some of the weight back, but he knows that he’s healthier, and that HMR has given him the skills to get back on track.

Patrick said losing and maintaining weight is a lifelong journey.

“It sounds kind of cliché, but you have to do that,” he said. “You’ve got to find that motivation to keep that weight off.”

Patrick’s motivation is to stay healthy and not become a diabetic again. He follows a few rules that have now become habit – he opts for flavored seltzer water over pop; he walks several miles a day; he always eats a healthy breakfast; and he tries to choose healthy options while traveling.

In addition to the jump-start HMR gave him, Patrick said the support HMR staff at St. Joe’s provided was essential to his success.

“I thought it was outstanding,” he said.

He went in for weekly weigh-ins, one-on-one consultations with the nurse, and monthly visits with the doctor. Professional health coaches also provided consistent motivation via weekly classes and one-on-one phone calls, and helped Patrick build skills and strategies around his food triggers.

“You got that constant confidence to keep going,” he added.

Today, Patrick says he is more energetic than ever, he sleeps better, enjoys not having any knee or joint pain, and has fewer mood swings.

As Patrick continues in Phase 2, his goal is to lose 25 extra pounds to get to his ideal weight of around 250, and he says he’ll stay committed to the journey.

Visit to learn more about the HMR program at St. Joe’s, and sign up for a free orientation.

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