Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 25, 2012

Losing to Win

About hope, possibilities, and change.

By Dena Lowry, RD/LDN

As part of my job at the Duke Raleigh Wellness Center, I help people identify lifestyle and mindset changes that have the potential to transform their lives. I could tell you about how powerful it is to see people regain control of their health and wellness, but a patient who recently completed our 12-week Lose to Live program can give you a first-hand account of her experience. Here’s a letter we received from Alicia Whitley of Middlesex, N.C.

Alicia Whitley

Thank you for what you have done for me over the last 12 weeks. I came to you and this program back in June broken in so many ways. Not only was I broken health wise, I was broken mentally and emotionally. With your help along with so many others’ help here, I have been able to accomplish things that I didn’t think I would ever accomplish. Week in and week out you have held me accountable and have worked with me. If I stumbled, you didn’t allow me to beat myself up but rather encouraged me to see the positives in what happened and learn from it. I have learned more than you know and continue to learn on a daily basis. The Lose to Live Program and what it does for patients who are committed to making it work is amazing.

The entire staff of the Wellness Center helped put me on the path to getting my life back. It’s one foot in front of the other, but it isn’t a race. It’s a journey. While I am on this journey to better health, I will enjoy the ride and the scenery. I will soak in lessons learned and understand that I will still have failures along the way. I will learn from the failures and grow from them.

I came here with the word can’t in my vocabulary. I now, more than ever, believe I can. While I must admit I am scared about this program ending for me, I am optimistic about my future. I have been able to see I am capable of doing things I once thought I couldn’t do. While I am committed to working on bettering my health, I think what you have helped me learn and what the Duke Raleigh Wellness Center has taught me over the last 12 weeks has also put me in a better position to be a patient advocate for my patients. I hope that along the 12 weeks here – while learning from you all – that I have inspired others in this facility who once thought they couldn’t. They can.

Alicia took part in Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Lose to Live program, a comprehensive 12-week program designed for people who want to lose weight and make permanent, healthy lifestyle changes. We treat the whole person as we address the areas of diet, exercise and emotional well-being. In other words, we integrate mind, body and spirit. Daily exercise, healthy eating, portion control, weekly weigh-ins, educational classes and meetings with a multidisciplinary staff are all part of the program.

The most important components, though, are a solid commitment and positive attitude from the participant. Alicia had both in spades.

Each participant gets two fitness assessments by an exercise specialist – one at the outset and one at the end of the 12 weeks. The fitness assessment includes:

  1. Resting heart rate and blood pressure
  2. Three-site skin-fold test to determine percent body fat
  3. Height and weight to determine BMI
  4. Waist circumference to determine risk factors
  5. Girth measurements of upper arm, chest, waist, hips, abdomen, thigh and calf
  6. Treadmill exercise test

Following a thorough nutritional assessment, every participant creates – with the help of a dietitian – an individualized healthy eating plan. Weekly private sessions with the dietitian allow discussion regarding food choices, progress and challenges. Finally, an exit interview at the end of the program helps participants evaluate progress, goals and establish ongoing strategies.

Everyone also receives a personalized exercise program that includes cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility. An initial one-hour personal training session is followed by weekly 30-minute sessions with a personal trainer.

Making major life changes is never easy. But with our guidance, it is most certainly possible!


The Wellness Center is on the Duke Raleigh campus at 3301 Executive Dr. Call 919-954-3174 or visit us at to learn more.

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