Jumpstart Your Health empowers participants to make lifelong changes

May 21, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

When you’ve repeatedly tried to lose weight and nothing seemed to work, you might feel discouraged and give up. Or, as in the case with Robert Wozny, you might try something else — a program rooted in the basic science of nutrition and exercise with some added practical tools.

Wozny had been dealing with a number of health conditions and needed to lose a significant amount of weight. When he started getting serious about improving his health, he was able to shed an initial 40 pounds but plateaued.

A weight management specialist recommended Wozny try Jumpstart Your Health, an evidence-supported lifestyle change program designed to help people lose weight, increase activity and prevent disease.

Although at first the 71-year-old didn’t love the idea of a group weight loss program that shifted to a virtual platform because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he gave it a try. Now an additional 67 pounds lighter, he’s so thankful to have gained the knowledge and habits he learned from Jumpstart.

Wozny states, “my knees feel better and I no longer need to take medications for my heart, blood pressure and other conditions.”

For the past five years, Edward-Elmhurst Health registered dietitian Julie Sanfilippo has been helping Jumpstart participants gain knowledge, skills and the right attitude to make choices that are smart, attainable, long-lasting and effective.

Sanfilippo explains, “Jumpstart Your Health presents the basics of health and nutrition in an understandable way that empowers you to take charge of your diet and exercise in a manageable way.”

Rita Wirth couldn’t agree more. Since her childhood days as a picky eater and into her mid-20s, Wirth had no means to make informed and practical choices until a family member recommended Jumpstart.

Skeptical at first, she immediately felt inspired and supported by Sanfilippo and the other participants in the group. She was surprised how simple and scientifically sound the program is (think the MyPlate nutrition guide rather than a diet plan), yet the knowledge and tools gained are far-reaching.

Besides gaining an understanding of how exercise and proper nutrition can lead to a better lifestyle, key to Wirth’s success was learning to problem-solve and manage stress — factors which can greatly impact one’s ability to make and stick with healthy practices.

Losing a considerable amount of weight as Wirth has done (50 pounds!) comes with a host of benefits. She has moved from the obese range to normal and enjoys increased physical and emotional health, improved sleep and regular energy levels.

Jumpstart RitaWirth beforeafter


“Jumpstart was a big journey with some difficult changes at first,” Wirth shares. “But breaking poor habits into bite-size changes with the support of Julie and the group, change became doable to the point where I gained the confidence and desire to make good choices as my new normal.” She adds, “the class was such a blessing — one of the best things that could happen to me and will affect me for the rest of my life.”

Kim French decided to enroll in Jumpstart after developing gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her son and reaching her heaviest weight ever. From the program, she’s learned how to choose the right foods, track her food intake, cook more at home and be more active.

“Jumpstart Your Health has been the ultimate gift, giving me a chance to live the rest of my life healthy and active by providing the right tools for me,” French reflects. Being part of the group reinforced that she wasn’t in it alone and gave her new ideas and experiences to learn from.

Jumpstart KimFrench beforeafter


French has lost 60 pounds which has especially improved her mood and mental health overall. Self-care is important not only for herself but for her husband and four children. “At age 40,” she says, “I feel the healthiest I have ever felt!”  

Are you ready to make lasting lifestyle changes to improve your health? Jumpstart Your Health is a year-long lifestyle change program designed to help people lose weight, increase activity and prevent disease.

If you struggle with excess weight and obesity, you are not alone. Endeavor Health® Weight Management at Edward-Elmhurst Health offers both surgical and non-surgical options to help you achieve permanent weight loss and the healthy, active life you were meant to live.

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