SOUTH BEND - At nearly half the size she was a little more than a year ago, Lisa Neese says she's a changed woman - in more ways than one.
“I’m more outgoing because I have more confidence. I’m not afraid of trying new things. I’m very comfortable with my body,” she said.
The 45-year-old from South Bend has lost more than 100 pounds.
She began her weight-loss journey with the assistance of a free, online tool sponsored by the American Heart Association called BetterU.
The program, available at www.goredforwomen.org/betterU, provides healthy lifestyle tips and encouragement, along with recipes and more.
It’s rolled out in 12 weekly modules that can be started any time.
Neese was part of last year’s Michiana BetterU Challenge, an event in which about a dozen people from a select employer were chosen to try BetterU.
Challengers were provided with the free services of the YMCA of Michiana, a health coach and a physician, among others.
This year’s challenge involved 10 employees of Physician’s Health System and culminated in the Go Red for Women Luncheon on Thursday.
Neese was there, too, to share her story of using the 12-week online program as a catalyst to her huge weight loss.
Cindy Bouma, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, said different communities across the country have similar challenges.
This year’s local group, Bouma said, had good results.
“A lot of them are average women who felt they needed a lifestyle
change,” she said.
As for Neese, she said she’s at her goal weight, but she realizes the
healthy living process never comes to an end.
“I think of it as like alcoholism,” she said. “There are certain foods
(like Doritos) I’ll never be able to eat again because I can’t control
it. Having a few is just not a possibility.”
Neese said she’d tried other diets in the past, but wasn’t ready to
make the necessary commitment to healthy living until recently.
“You have to have a lot of desire for it,” she said, “and your whole
being, body, mind and spirit, have to be part of it.”
Staff writer Kim Kilbride: