Dr. Scott Morris reveals a simple plan to start controlling weight and Diabetes
Article by Dr. Scott Morris, founder of the Church Health Center in Memphis, TN and author of Health Care You Can Live With (Barbour 2011).
Suicide seemed like a good option. Nothing else worked for Rosie Murrell. She felt bad all day, every day—inside and out. Rosie was an abused child and a troubled teen. Even as the mother of three children of her own, the pain from those early years weighed as heavy on her heart as it did on her hips. Her weight peaked at 437 pounds, so it was no surprise when she developed diabetes. Although she lost 67 pounds at one point, now the scales were headed back up, and Rosie felt helpless to do anything about it. As self-hatred shrouded her life, Rosie thought the best thing she could do for herself might be to end her misery.
With this thought creeping from the back of her mind toward the front, Rosie decided to make one last attempt to improve her health. She walked through the doors of Church Health Center Wellness in Memphis, Tennessee for a fresh start on some serious weight loss.
The first person Rosie met with was Louise Jackson, a registered dietician. Reluctantly Rosie admitted that her previous success at dropping pounds resulted from a near starvation approach. Louise immediately added 1,000 calories a day to Rosie’s diet. Eat more? Rosie dissolved into tears of frustration and discouragement.
To Rosie’s astonishment, she began to shed pounds when she followed the food plan laid out by the dietician. “Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t have, we focused on learning to eat proper portion sizes,” Rosie says. “Louise told me there are no forbidden foods. Instead of saying no candy bars, at first we replaced just one of them a day with a piece of fruit, and then another. Before I knew it, the candy bars were gone and the fruit was there. It was so gradual, I never felt deprived.”
The staff at the center also challenged unspoken beliefs that kept Rosie from taking care of herself.
“Rosie, do you believe God loves you?” an instructor asked.
“Yes, I do.”
“Then why don’t you think God wants you to love yourself?”
This simple conversation was a turning point for Rosie. When she realized she could love herself, she also found the strength to do the right thing for her health.
“All I needed was for one person to tell me I was worth saving,” Rosie says. “When I came to the Church Health Center, I found a whole building full.”
Rule of 15
The Church Health Center Wellness looks at the whole person. A disease like diabetes emerges from habits and attitudes of a lifetime. Improved wellness comes from understanding the disease and taking control of change. The center teaches people with diabetes—including Rosie—to control their disease by following the Rule of 15.
- 15 minutes. Movement is key to managing diabetes. If you have diabetes and are not currently exercising, start with simply walking 15 minutes at a time. Aim to take two 15-minute breaks each day and walk. If you cannot walk, do simple exercises such as shoulder rolls, ankle rolls, leg lifts, or arm circles. When you can do more, go for it.
- 15 grams. Know which foods have 15 grams of carbohydrates. Become a savvy shopper by reading food labels and learning how many carbohydrates are in common foods. Fifteen grams equals one serving. One slice of bread, a half cup of juice, or a half cup of pasta have about 15 grams each.
- 15 grams plus 15 minutes. If your blood sugar gets too low, eat 15 grams of a carbohydrate-rich food, wait 15 minutes, and test your blood sugar again. If it is still below 70, take another 15 grams of carbohydrates, wait another 15 minutes, and retest.
- 15 days. New habits take time. Keep your diabetes supplies with you all the time. If you make a point to do this for 15 days, it will become a habit to always have what you need with you.
- 15 percent. A 15 percent decrease in body weight will make a significant difference in controlling diabetes. Start with a short-term goal of losing just 5 percent. Once you accomplish this, aim for another 5 percent, and then another 5 percent.
The Road to New Life
Rosie learned the Rule of 15. As she began to lose weight steadily, her life changed dramatically. Over the next two years, Rosie lost almost 200 pounds. Her dress size went from a 36 to an 18. She used to require 140 units of insulin each day, and now doesn’t use any insulin. More importantly, Rosie wants to live, and the change in Rosie affects the people around her.
Rosie’s three children, who also were overweight, began helping their mom and lost weight themselves. “We saw her change and we wanted to change too,” her son Jeremy says. Jeremy lost 50 pounds by increasing his exercise and eating his mom’s brand-new cooking. He adds, “It’s the best thing in the world to know that I’ll have Mom around for a long time.”
The best thing Rosie could do for herself was not to end her life, but to find her true life. Rosie’s success, and the rippling effect on the health of her family, is one of thousands of stories of hope and healing from the CHC.
You can learn how to apply the Church Health Center’s model for healthy living in the new book, Health Care You Can Live With: Discover Wholeness of Body and Spirit by Dr. Scott Morris.
Health Care You Can Live With: Discover Wholeness in Body and Spirit
by Dr. G. Scott Morris
Barbour Publishing/January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61626-247-1/Hardback with Dust Jacket/256 pages/$19.99
Simultaneous Spanish Release/ISBN: 978-1-61626-257-0
Dr. Scott Morris is available for speaking engagements. For more information, contact Helen Cook of The Barnabas Agency (email@example.com or 800-927-0517 x110).