Patient: The Weight Loss Clinic gave me my life back

January 27, 2016 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes
By the fall of 2014, Rachel Demma had hit a wall.

She was morbidly obese and frustrated, having tried almost everything to lose weight.

“I’ve always been one of those healthy overweight people,” said Demma, 44, of Naperville. “I had no medical problems. Then I hit 40 and all of a sudden I had high blood pressure. I had sleep apnea. I was pre-diabetic. I had plantar fasciitis. I just didn’t feel good.”

Surgery – or something else?

Demma said she was ready to try surgery—but her doctor could tell she wasn’t completely on board with the idea.

“I was very apprehensive (about surgery),” Demma said, adding that she had heard stories of people having the surgery and then gaining the weight back over time. “Just having the surgery and not changing your eating habits … it’s not going to fix anything if you don’t figure out why you have the problem. I wanted to be able to do it myself.”

Her doctor suggested she meet with Dr. Zaid Jabbar at the Edward-Elmhurst Health Medical Weight Loss Clinic at Edward Hospital.

“I’ve had a weight problem my entire life. I’d pretty much tried everything. I knew I had to make a change, or I wasn’t going to be here to see my kids grow up,” she said. “I decided I was going to take control of it, no matter what.”

Taking control

At her first appointment, Dr. Jabbar discussed easy, minor lifestyle changes to start her weight loss journey.

“I liked Dr. Jabbar a lot. He was really warm and friendly. I didn’t feel judged,” Demma said. “I just felt very comfortable. He assured me they would be able to find a solution to help me. I felt hopeful for the first time in ages.”

After a month, Demma and Dr. Jabbar tweaked her routine again.

“Seeing Dr. Jabbar every month was definitely very helpful to me. I did that for almost a year,” Demma said. “Having that accountability was important. He was always very positive about my progress and willing to tweak things or make suggestions if I needed help. He is very easy to talk to. I felt like he just got it.”

Changing for good

One key to weight loss that sticks is making a permanent change in your lifestyle, Dr. Jabbar said.

“The patient has to realize this is a two-way street,” Dr. Jabbar said. “They have to be willing to help themselves. They can’t expect to take a pill and wait for the weight to melt off. It just doesn’t happen.”

Demma has followed that advice, ditching diet soda, adding morning protein and following a low carb, high protein eating regimen.

Now, sixteen months later, she’s lost 100 pounds and is about 50 pounds away from her goal weight. In addition, her prior health problems are now gone.

“I drink over three liters of water every day and I crave healthier food. I don’t really feel like I’m on a diet, as I eat everything I want in moderation,” she said. “My husband has lost about 25 pounds. It’s been so good for my family. We make more family meals, we cook healthier and eat healthier.”

Focused on long-term benefit

She cautioned others to expect slow progress for long-lasting weight loss.

“When you have as much weight to lose as I did, losing a pound or two a week, it’s really hard to stay motivated,” Demma said.

She said her main source of motivation is her kids, ages 9 and 7, and the fear that a weight-induced heart attack or stroke would take her away from them.
The next step: joining a gym and working out, Demma said.

“Weight loss is 90 percent diet,” said Dr. Jabbar. “Weight maintenance is 90 percent exercise.”

“I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Jabbar and the Weight Loss Clinic. I have my life back,” Demma said. “On New Year’s Eve, when a lot of people were making their resolutions, I felt like I had already accomplished what I wanted to do last year. I’m hopeful and happy.”

For more information about the Edward-Elmhurst Medical Weight-Loss Clinic or to schedule a consultation and evaluation, call 630-527-7205.

Leave a Comment

cpr aed

Public places made safer with AEDs

Edward Hospital nurse Melissa Lund used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help save the life of Robert McCue.

Read More


The trick to avoiding weekend warrior injuries

One way to avoid common "weekend warrior" injuries is to NOT be a weekend warrior in the first place.

Read More

HD Hearts Sharon Bohlin

Retired teacher survives cardiovascular double hit

A visit to her local Walk-In Clinic leads to emergency surgery for Naperville resident.

Read More