Skip to Content

Patient Stories

  • Chris Johnson and Barb Simon-Johnson

Chris Johnson and Barb Simon-Johnson

Son’s comment jumpstarts couple’s weight loss plan

It started with a comment from their teenage son, Caeleb.

“Dad, you don’t need that ... I would like you to see my kids someday.” 

Those words stopped Chris Johnson, Holdingford, as he reached into the Christmas cookie jar in December 2014.

Chris, 52, had also just gone through a battery of tests at his annual physical and was reviewing his results on MyChart, an online health management tool that CentraCare patients can use to access their health information. 

As he reviewed his BMI (body mass index) of 45, he saw the words “morbidly obese.” At 5’ 11” and 326 pounds, Chris was told he was a “full-blown diabetic” and was immediately prescribed, Metformin, a medication used to treat high blood sugar levels caused by type 2 diabetes.

Chris and Barb with son Caleb

Dr. Shawn Day, a physician with CentraCare Clinic – Northway Family Medicine, had been suggesting to Chris for some time that he needed to lose weight.

Chris knew it was time to act. He turned to his wife, Barb Simon-Johnson, and asked her if she wanted to go to CentraCare Weight Management to check it out. Both had tried various other weight loss programs in the past. Barb had agreed to give it a try. “We grabbed each other’s hands and jumped in,” Chris noted.

That was in January 2015 and they haven’t looked back. Together they enrolled in the Medical Weight Loss Program. And together they lost more than 200 pounds in nine months — 120 for Chris and 90 for Barb.

Both Chris and Barb appreciated that this program involved more than just weight loss. They each met with a physician once a month, had regular blood draws and regular appointments with a dietitian and exercise physiologist.

“We also met with a behavioral specialist to discuss how bad habits start and how to change those habits,” Chris noted. “It’s really a comprehensive program that offers a holistic method to create a lifestyle change.”

Both are navigating the maintenance phase and adjusting to a healthier lifestyle. Chris has experienced some weight gain but is taking it back off by sticking to the meal plan and walking an average of five miles a day.

“The best thing about this program is the support we receive from providers and other team members,” Chris said. “We have a sounding board when we need help.” Within two months of being on the new meal plan, Chris’ blood sugars were all within the normal range and he was no longer considered diabetic.

Barb, 55, has most valued what she learned about how to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle through incorporating exercise and making good food choices.

“It is a bit scary when you start because you are moving from familiar comfort foods to a meal plan that is more controlled. Once your weight goal is achieved and you begin the maintenance phase, you make your own food choices. That was a bit scary too but the guidance from the staff is wonderful. We now have more energy and can’t wait until summer. We can get some much more accomplished around our home on 40 acres of land.”

They also are enjoying Caeleb’s last years of high school, especially watching his football games and are able to do more with their two grandchildren, Arabella and Reagan, the children of their adult daughter, Megan.

“It’s tough to make good choices. You have to commit to yourself to lose weight,” Barb emphasized. “Once you do that, you can take charge of your life.”

As for Caeleb, he is proud of his parents. “He likes showing us off to his friends and coaches,” Barb laughed.

CentraCare's My Healthy News

Get tips, a schedule of upcoming support groups and the latest news on the health topics that matter most to you — delivered straight to your inbox every month.

Sign up for our newsletter

Related Locations