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Brian's Journey

Last Modified: 3/23/2020

At the age of 56, Brian Burkey is a small business owner with a demanding schedule. He was experiencing low energy, had atrial fibrillation (AFib), a rapid heartbeat, elevated cholesterol and A1C, and was on several medications. Brian knew he was headed down an unhealthy path and needed to make a change to his current lifestyle. “I noticed older people were working circles around me. I kept thinking this is not right,” Brian said.

After a cardiac ablation, Brian was referred to Anne Dietz, RDN, LD, on the recommendation of his cardiologist, Lawrence Gering, MD, PPG - Cardiology. This is where their journey began.

“Brian initially started his journey with his cardiologist,” Anne recalled. “His doctor was able to identify that he could make changes without starting another medication. That’s what brought him to me.”

“I believe it was the Lord that brought us together with Anne. I went to meet her, and we hit it off. I found out that she had a son who has had heart surgeries. So, for me, it just clicked. This was someone living the heart-healthy lifestyle,” Brian remembered.

Before meeting Anne, Brian’s routine consisted of frequently skipping meals, eating a lot of red meat with little to no fruits and vegetables. He was drinking lots of diet soda and had gotten away from exercising. However, during his initial session, he asked Anne, “Do you really follow what you teach?” With that, Anne shared her “why” and Brian went from being closed off to opening up and discussing the attainable goals he could set and the small changes he could make to his current lifestyle.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to make small changes and build upon those. That’s what’s going to lead to lifestyle changes,” Anne encouraged.

Under Anne’s instruction, Brian began food journaling, drinking more water (less diet soda), started exercising regularly, and snacking on fruits and vegetables while still enjoying his favorite foods in moderation. Both he and his wife, Nancy, made these small lifestyle changes together and as of August, Brian has lost 60 pounds. His total cholesterol and glucose are back to normal and he’s getting healthier every day. He continues to meet his goals and adds new ones.

“I’m off my heart medicine, eating better, feeling better and I have more energy,” Brian said. “It’s just keeping things in check and realizing that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet that I can go off once I reach a certain goal.”

Nancy has also lost over 20 pounds and has seen improvements in her blood pressure. Looking back, she couldn’t be happier with the process. “It’s been wonderful watching him lose weight, feel better, have a better attitude and look forward to the next day,” Nancy said. “There’s not a drudgery of life anymore.”

Anne had this final message for Brian and his journey to a healthier life, “Brian, I feel so privileged to be a part of your journey. Your hard work and dedication have paid off and you’ve given yourself the best gift, your health. Congratulations and keep up your hard work!”

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