PLANO, Texas — Luis and Amanda Almanza have lived a lot of life together. The couple met in middle school, and over the last 27 years have gone through their teens, young adulthood, marriage and kids, all side by side.
As the years went on, they faced a major struggle.
“I knew that I was unhealthy and uncomfortable,” Luis said.
Since both had a family history of cancer, and Luis pre-diabetic, the husband and wife decided to tackle one of their toughest challenges yet: their health.
“We’ve done weight loss in general before… everything from eating one meal a day to crazy shakes,” Amanda admitted. “I was constantly looking for that magic pill … and there’s not one.”
This time, the couple called obesity medicine specialist Dr. Ruby Shah.
“A lot of times people think that your options for weight loss are commercial programs, something self-driven or bariatric surgery,” said Shah, who has offices out of Plano and McKinney at Vitality Weight Loss and Wellness Institute. “There’s an entire medical specialty called obesity medicine.”
The Almanza’s initial appointment was with Shah, but it doesn’t end there.
Patients see an entire support team including a personal trainer, registered dietician and behavioral change counselor.
"As a doctor, I look at what are some of the underlying causes of why someone is struggling with their weight?” Shah explained. “We have a whole ‘psychology of eating’ curriculum that patients also go through. It’s 10 classes really helping you understand the psychology of why you make some food choices.”
Side by side, Amanda and Luis started cooking more at home.
“We do a lot of beans, vegetables, oatmeal,” Luis said, with his wife chiming in about some of the biggest changes for the two: going mostly plant-based.
“Luis and I don't hardly eat meat,” Amanda said. “That's something I can't say would've ever come out of our mouths. Especially him.”
Both got back to walking and then running, and made exercise part of their regular routine.
“We'll lift weights or do stretches around the house... we stay active with our dogs,” Amanda said.
After just two weeks, they were seeing results. And by the eight month mark, Luis had lost more than 150 pounds, going from 375 to 218.
"I'm so proud,” wife Amanda gushed. “It makes me happy. It makes me very happy.”
Amanda crushed her goals, too.
“The heaviest I ever was?... About 205. I am down to about 128,” Amanda said with pride. “I have never been this small since I was in high school!”
Shah said this journey is about more than just losing weight. It’s about a shift in mindset that changes your relationship with food and your lifestyle. And it’s about optimal health. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable cancer diagnoses.
“If you can really learn how to change your diet-- we can teach you that-- you can prevent the vast majority of medical issues,” Shah said.
That’s something the Almanzas can both get behind. A lifestyle change that’s strengthened their health and their marriage.
“They are in the best shape of their lives,” Shah exclaimed.
Shah said that services at Vitality Weight Loss and Wellness Institute are covered by insurance.
To learn more about the institute, click here.