A simple push is often what it takes to begin an incredible journey.
“The final push last July was, my A1C was climbing. I was very, very close to being fully diabetic,” said John Vodochodsky, of Sioux City, Iowa.
Vodochodsky started doing some research, and in December of 2021, started the Sanford Weight Management program.
It started with a meeting at the Talley building in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with Dr. Adeem Abdulwahab, who is a family medicine provider at Sanford Health.
“We are all board certified in obesity medicine, we’re able to prescribe FDA-approved medication for weight loss to help patients lose weight safely and effectively, and not only lose the weight, but keep it off. That sometimes can be the struggle,” she said.
In addition to board certified obesity medicine physicians like Dr. Abdulwahab, the weight management center has registered dietitians, health coaches and offers counseling to those who need it.
Dr. Abdulwahab worked with John one-on-one to create a personalized approach to his non-surgical weight loss plan.
“We’ll talk about what I need to do, what I need to change, and I’ll adapt those changes accordingly,” Vodochodsky said.
Following his doctor’s diet and exercise plan caused the pounds to start shedding quickly.
“Well, I started at 415 pounds, and today I’m just under about 234.5 now,” he said.
A transformation beyond physical appearance
According to the CDC, losing 5% of your total body weight can reduce the risk for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular events, and other risk factors related to obesity.
“So, by losing 5%, which could be as simple as eight to 10 pounds, that could impact your health greatly,” said Dr. Abdulwahab.
The weight loss is transforming Vodochodsky’s health.
“I’m off my cholesterol medication. I’m off my blood pressure medication. So my health has taken a 180-degree turn,” he said.
At his last checkup, his A1C was a healthy level, and his prediabetes diagnosis has been reversed.
Vodochodsky’s success in the program inspired Marty Vodochodsky, his wife of 31 years, to take a step of faith.
“You can only do so much cheering. Sometimes you have to jump both feet, heart and soul, and get your team put together and run with it,” she said.
For a few months, she traveled the 85 miles to Sioux Falls from Sioux City with John Vodochodsky for his appointments at the Sanford Weight Management Center. After that, Marty Vodochodsky too signed up for the program and made an appointment with Dr. Abdulwahab. They worked together to first defy common misconceptions when it comes to weight loss.
“In high school they’d tell you, ‘You want to lose weight? Stop eating.’ With Sanford’s program it’s been intelligent, and it’s been sustainable,” said Marty Vodochodsky.
Today she’s lost more than 65 pounds.
“I’m actually the weight I was in college. It’s the first time I’ve been this low in 30 years.”
Following her personalized weight loss plan has made for significant milestones in just a few short months.
“I was ecstatic the minute I was able to walk into the standard size women’s department and buy the standard size clothes. I was so happy and so ecstatic, I probably danced my way up to the cashier and out the store,” Marty Vodochodsky said.
Dr. Abdulwahab says results come with hard work and dedication to the program.
“You can feel the struggles that patients go through sometimes, but you provide support, be there for them, make yourself open to suggestions, and tweak and change your plan if you feel you’re hitting a wall sometimes,” she said.
With the support of each other and their care team at Sanford Health, John and Marty Vodochodsky will continue on the journey of health that is before them.
“Don’t be afraid to start,” said John Vodochodsky. “Use whatever motivation you need to use to contact this program and ask the necessary questions.”