Center for Weight and Wellness
Lifespan Weight Loss Services

Lee Anne Clift

A Weight Loss Journey Adds Up to Healthier Living

Lee Anne Clift Before and After

You might say that Lee Anne Clift is a numbers person. Throughout her 26-year career with Lifespan, she’s been on the finance end of operations, beginning in the budget office and working her way to her current post of two years as Manager of Finance for Gateway Health. “I love math,” she emphasized. “When numbers agree, it’s awesome.”

Numbers Don’t Lie

Last January, her numbers were adding up in the wrong direction. “It was just after the pandemic started, and everyone was talking about the COVID-19,” she recalled. “I had definitely participated in that.” She had heard about the Center for Weight and Wellness and was on the fence about participating. Until she received some surprising bloodwork results indicating she was prediabetic and had high cholesterol and glucose counts. “I said to myself, I don’t want to be unhealthy. My knees were hurting. I needed to get healthy.”

Clift was never one to be sedentary. The mother of three boys, now young men, and her husband, were an active family, and frequent campers, or as she emphasized, “glampers.” More than 20 years ago, they purchased a camper and toured from Canada to Florida over the years. “I'm not going to be the one that sits at home while they're all having fun,” she recalled, when facing her health situation. “I wanted to stay active, and my primary goal was to be healthy.”

Lee Anne Clift After
Lee Anne Clift enrolled in the modified fast program, one of a menu of program choices, each with varying criteria, offered at the Center for Weight and Wellness. Within two months, her bloodwork numbers were in much better alignment, and within six months, she had reached her weight loss goal, losing 35 pounds.

The results? Clift’s glucose level went from 107 to 92, cholesterol from 208 to 209 (a slight increase because she stopped taking statin to reduce cholesterol during this period), tryglycerides from 361 to 196, and cholesterol total/HDL ratio from 5.1 to 4.3. “

Those Vexing Vegetables

Although Clift had always been active, there were a few lifestyle changes and diet modifications that she wasn’t quite sure she could overcome. Namely, vegetables. Corn, potatoes, and peas? No problem. None of those were on the nutritionist’s approved list.

“Anyone who knows me knows I don't eat fruits and vegetables. As an adult, it should be easy, but when it comes to that, I'm still a five-year-old,” she said. Instead, the mother in her tricked the child in her by “hiding” the vegetables. “My food processor became my best friend,” she said. The modified plan begins with three daily shakes to which she added leafy greens, fruits, and other optional items. For dinner, she prepared regular meals for the family and a simplified meal for herself. Often, they would join in for the healthier option.

If Clift had to list one item that she misses most, it’s ice cream. Mint chocolate chip. But now that she is maintaining her weight and changed lifestyle, it’s on the list. “Once you come back to eating every day, you don’t have to give anything up."

"You just have to make smart choices. You can’t have a huge bowl, but you can enjoy a spoonful or two, and it satisfies the craving.”

The program that Clift chose was for 20 weeks and incorporated meal replacements and supplements, all under the supervision of a Lifespan team that includes physicians, exercise physiologists, behavioral therapists, nurses, and registered dietitians. Once patients are within 10 percent of their goal weight or have lost 25 percent of their body weight since beginning their weight-loss program, they can then participate in the Master’s Program that focuses on developing additional skills to keep weight off.

Mission Accomplished

Reflecting on her accomplishment, Clift realized that the program was much easier than she thought it was going to be, even with the fruits and vegetables requirements. “I thought I would be hungry, and the vegetables were an issue. Having the support group holds you accountable. It was nice to have people in the same boat. My family was on board and supported me – they got a little healthier.”

She is no longer hiding the vegetables. They are a part of all sorts of recipes and meals, from soup to chili. Another benefit of the program is Clift’s ability to take on the stairs without having to catch her breath. Now, it’s a piece of cake.

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