Huntsville man on the road to a healthier life

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Your health matters to us. That’s why we’re bringing you stories each Monday in our Health Matters segment. We want to bring attention to getting healthier and living a better life. Even though Greg Screws and I are each on our journey to working out and losing weight, doing that can be a challenge for some folks. But there’s help.

Let’s face it. Sometimes instead of counting calories, we pack on the pounds. That’s where Huntsville Hospital’s Center for Medical Weight Loss can help.

Bill Nelson is a behaviorist. “We will take you as you are and we will formulate a plan, a program for you and we’ll help you lose that weight,” Nelson said. He’s part of a team that creates a plan for each individual because no two people are alike. “And from day one, we will focus on how to keep that weight off once you lose it because that’s the hardest part,” Nelson said. “That’s the maintenance part.”

Steve Cornelius, 53, started the program in late March. “My health was deteriorating rapidly. I’d gained weight. My blood pressure was up. My cholesterol was up,” he said. And he was pre-diabetic. Steve needed to make some changes. “Oh, big changes, absolutely,” Steve continued. “My downfall was sitting down, watching TV, watching football games and just eating constantly and I just stopped that.”

When he started the medical weight loss program, he weighed 275 pounds and he wasn’t exercising much. Today, he’s 90 pounds lighter and he’s not finished. “I've got five more to go,” he said smiling. Steve is riding his bicycle about 85 to 100 miles a week. “ I started riding again in mid-June this year and put about 1,500 miles on it,” he said.

So what’s down the road for him now?  “I still eat good food. I eat six times a day, drink a lot of water and do a lot of exercise,” he told me. And he’s never felt better. Steve added, “I feel probably 20 years younger than I did when I started.” And the center staff will be there to support him the rest of the way. “We're going to be with you all the way until you lose the weight that you want to lose,” Bill Nelson said.

I asked Nelson who’s a good candidate for the program. He says anyone who wants to lose weight. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s 20 or 200 pounds. They’ll create a plan for you to help you reach your goal.

Insurance does not cover the cost. But there are two programs, one for people who want to lose fewer than 50 pounds and one for those who want to lose more than 50. The best thing to do is call them at (256) 265-3072 and see which one would work best for you, or visit the Huntsville Hospital Medical Weight Loss Center website.