PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Weight Loss Lessons

Posted on Aug 21, 2012

Dina Barr lost 130 pounds with PAMF’s HMR Weight Management Program.

Dina Barr’s big dream was always to ride on one of the swings at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara. But at 350 pounds it wasn’t just a tight squeeze – it was impossible.

As long as she could remember Barr had been battling her weight – always on or off a diet.

“I was always really good at sticking to a diet and losing weight,” says Barr. “But I just could never keep it off. Finally, I just gave up.”

Barr kept gaining weight until her health issues resulted in a visit to an immediate care facility.

“I was told I needed ongoing medical care as I probably had diabetes,” says Barr. “I had been in denial about my health.”

Barr saw PAMF internist Patricia Sitnitsky, M.D., who confirmed the diagnosis of diabetes and high blood pressure and referred Barr to PAMF’s weight management specialists.

Although Barr was a candidate for weight loss surgery, she didn’t want to go that route. Instead she decided on PAMF’s HMR Weight Management Program to lose weight once and for all and regain her health.

“When I chose the HMR Program I promised myself I would stick to it for the rest of my life,” says Barr. “This was it.”

Barr is no stranger to successfully making big changes in her life. When she turned 50, she decided to follow her dream and leave her career of 25 years in marketing and communications. She’s been a middle school teacher now for 11 years and is currently teaching math and science to 100 sixth graders at Cupertino Middle School.

“Although the HMR Program was challenging, I was successful right away,” says Barr. “What’s cool about the program is that it’s really flexible. You can make it work in many different ways. Also the weekly meetings saved me. I loved the great support from everyone in the group and hearing other peoples’ stories.”

Although Barr quickly mastered the dieting part of the program, adding exercise to her routine to continue to lose and maintain her weight loss was her biggest challenge.

“The word exercise was just not part of my vocabulary,” says Barr. “I had every excuse ready – too exhausted at the end of the day, too boring, no time…”

A fellow HMR Program participant, who had been listening to her, finally helped her jump start her exercise regime.

“He came up to me at the end of the class and simply said ‘Just do it!’” says Barr. “I was surprised but hearing it from someone who was going through the same challenges as me was the motivation I needed.”

Barr began exercising 15 minutes daily with the Wii Fit program, then started getting up at 4 a.m. to go walking and also joined a gym.

“I discovered that I really love hiking a lot,” says Barr who now regularly hikes up to the Stanford Dish and around the local Bay lands.

Thanks to the HMR Program and regular exercise Barr lost 130 pounds and was ready to fulfill her two life time ambitions – a ride on one of the swings at Great America and a trip to Hawaii.

“I have to confess that I didn’t really like the swing ride, but I adored my trip to Hawaii,” says Barr. I had traveled to 48 of the 50 U.S. states and this was one of the last two I hadn’t seen,” says Barr. “It was wonderful – I fit in the airplane seat and loved my time on the beach. I could never have done this if I hadn’t lost all that weight. Now I feel like I can do anything.”