CLEVELAND — Entering the new year, we are all looking to feel and be a better version of ourselves. However, that can be extremely challenging and stressful.
One Northeast Ohio woman is sharing her story and proving you can make changes that last long term.
She credits the Cleveland Clinic in her weight loss journey—dropping more than 100 pounds and keeping it off for more than five years.
The moment you step foot inside 41-year-old Lindsay Montague’s second-grade classroom at Notre Dame Elementary School, you can feel her positive energy and zest for life.
She lights up the space with her smile and personality.
But when she looks back at old photos of herself, “I feel like wow…. I’ve come so far… Like, I remember feeling that way," Montague said.
She admits she sometimes doesn’t recognize that person. She says it's truly a different version of herself.
“I had come out of a kind of a rocky relationship, and I was weighing like 257 pounds," Montague said.
After cycling through a number of fad diets and trying everything imaginable, she says a change was necessary and clear.
“I finally realized when I eat crumby, I’m gonna feel crumby," Montague said.
She embarked on a weight loss journey six years ago, enrolling in the Cleveland Clinic’s Eating Well for Optimal Health program.
The program is a series of six weekly group visits that blend appointments, coaching and healthy eating. It helps shift your focus to body, mind and spirit betterment through yoga, mindful meditation and therapy.
Dr. Sandra Darling, a Preventative Medicine Physician and a Lifestyle Medicine Specialist at Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, worked hand-in-hand with Montague.
"When you're applying medical management with learning coping techniques for stress, that's what allows this program to be so successful. It's like taking a deep dive into understanding our patterns and behaviors," Darling said.
With her husband by her side, Montague transformed every facet of her life.
Over the course of one year, she dropped 68 pounds by moving away from processed foods and toward healthier and heartier options like fruits, veggies and proteins.
“I was looking to make more of like a lifestyle change. Something that was sustainable," Montague said.
She credits her success to Darling and the team who helped redefine her life.
"The reason why this program is so helpful for patients is because we focus on progress, not perfection," Darling said.
Montague admits a little cardio, even if it's dancing with her students, never hurts.
“To put in the work is definitely worth it. I know it’s hard in the beginning but definitely there’s hope,” Montague said.
Darling stresses it's not just about counting calories, but rather the overall quality of your diet.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and drink water. Sleep and exercise are critical too.
To sign up for the Cleveland Clinic’s Eating Well for Optimal Health program and learn more about how it works, click here.