LOCAL 12: Obesity Program Helped Couple Lose 200 Pounds Wednesday February 13, 2013 To view video of this story on Local 12's website, please click here. Local 12 By: Liz Bonis This Valentine's Day week, a couple from Florence says one of the best gifts to give each other is the gift of good health. Local 12's Liz Bonis shows us how together they lost nearly 200 pounds. Julie and Philip Steele said as their family grew and changed, so did their waistlines. This past year in anticipation of a family wedding, they decided to make healthier habits a priority. It worked! At the wedding, they were down almost 200 pounds. "We're healthier now than we've ever been in our lives." The Steeles lost that weight with the help of a comprehensive obesity program called New Direction. It's run by Dr. Troy Schumann at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood. It provides medically supervised weigh-in's, group instruction to stop overeating, and very structured meal plans. The goal is not just weight loss but maintaining that weight loss. Dr. Shumann says, "We give them safety nets, so they didn't work so hard to lose so much and then all of the sudden boom they are starting to re-gain." As part of the program both men and women are put on a very low calorie diet. You use meal replacements, such as shakes, 2 or 3 times a day. Julie says the shakes and meal replacements have helped her drop 135 pounds, she's kept it off for 6 months. "It's been great." Philip has dropped almost 60. Both say there are no forbidden foods, and that's one of their secrets to success. Julie comments, "Knowing that I am not restricted, there are things maybe I wouldn't help me on the maintenance plan that I want to be, but I can have periodically." The other secret is supporting each other, which reminds us all this Valentine's Day, that keeps love growing, not waistlines. For more information on this program, you can call 859-212-goal (4625). It costs about $90 a week. Some parts of it may be covered by medical insurance plans.