by Jana Hunter
Growing up, Sarah Josselet liked anything outside, anything with animals, and anything with a little speed and excitement.
When she retired from a 38-year career in nursing, the Haskell native could hardly manage to get out of bed, much less make rounds, walk through the grocery store, or tend to her garden.
Now, a year later, the healthy-living convert has lost 89 pounds, 21 medications, eight pant sizes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, leaky gut, allergies, depression, and a great deal of hypertension.
“This is a new chapter in my life,” the 64-year-old said. “I’m able to walk and work and think. I’m more active than I’ve been in a long time. And I’ve lost 89 pounds, which is even more amazing. I was almost starving myself and still not losing weight. Now I’m not starving at all and I am losing weight.”
Sarah’s health decline began about 30 years ago with persistent and pervasive joint pain. Trips to the doctor resulted in the newest medication for arthritis, which would help a little bit for a little while, but it wasn’t solving the problem.
“I believe that was the beginning of my fibromyalgia,” Sarah said. “They called it chronic fatigue syndrome. Nobody knew what it was, so they just treated me for arthritis.”
In the intervening years, Sarah also contracted Lyme disease and cytomegalovirus; suffered from allergies, IBS, and leaky gut; and in a 12-month period had nine surgeries. Her doctors began addressing her digestive issues, first with shots to desensitize her from certain foods. For two years, a gastroenterologist further medicated her.
“He was trying to slow my gut down, and in doing so he slowed me down to the point where I just really didn’t care if I got up or not,” Sarah explained. “My body was absolutely falling apart.”
Add to that the stress of her job—director of nursing at a busy facility in Marble Falls, at which she took care of everyone but herself—and it became more than her body could handle.
“The main reason I retired (in December 2013) was because my health was such a severe situation,” Sarah said. “I wasn’t taking care of myself—I wasn’t getting adequate rest or exercise, I was eating poorly, I had very bad habits. My body was toxic, poisoned. It was just too much.”
But at the end of her rope was pforymWELL. A years-long friend of co-owners Melody Ogletree and Cheryl Benoit, Sarah accepted their invitation to move to Lubbock temporarily in March to work with them on two fronts. She joined pforymWELL professionally, but more importantly, she joined the movement of transforming her health through lifestyle changes.
The lab work told them what they already knew: her cellular inflammation was off the charts, causing most of her digestive issues. She began taking Clear Change™, a medical food program designed to detoxify the body and provide adequate fuel for cleansing, daily activities, and overall well-being. She received coaching from the staff on what to eat and what not to eat. She read a book on IBS.
And she began to feel better.
“We started seeing some improvement and began leaving out foods that may be bothersome to me,” Sarah explained. “I basically was on a Mediterranean diet and didn’t eat wheat or dairy. It just took off from there.”
After the detoxification program, Sarah started the Healthy Transformation weight-loss program and continued her shift in lifestyle and education, and her progress toward wellness. She went from skipping breakfast, not eating lunch until late afternoon, and eating leftovers from unhealthy family meals to eating breakfast, grocery shopping, and watching her sugar intake. She shifted from medications to supplements, saving money and side effects. She gave away her now too-big clothes.
And she began to feel energetic again.
“Changing my whole routine was difficult,” she admitted. “I gave up 12 cups of coffee a day, Dr Pepper, and almost all processed foods. I started taking responsibility for what I ate and how I felt. I learned to drink water for the first time in my life and to use lemon, olive oil, and vinegar for salad dressing. I’ve learned how to make great choices with food and portion control.
“I was somewhat overwhelmed in the beginning, but the more I learned and the more I studied, the easier it became. It’s just a way of life now. I go to the grocery store with a totally different attitude. I buy most of my food in the fresh fruit and vegetable section, with just a few things from the outer edges of the store.”
The transformation isn’t just anecdotal. The lab tests provide scientific proof that her body is healing.
“In March, every category on my report card was red,” Sarah said. “In October, exactly six months later, it shows that my body is responding. My hemoglobin A1c and bad cholesterol have dropped. My lipid panel is improving. My weight and body fat are decreasing. It’s still not perfect, but all are changing and improving.
“I just turned my life around, and they’re the reason, they’re the support, they’re the coaches who said to do this and drop this. I really feel like I owe them my life.”
And she wants to pay the inspiration forward.
“It’s been great being here in their office, meeting some of the people who are just beginning this journey, and being able to talk to them. Hopefully I can be as supportive of them as Melody and Cheryl have been to me. It’s pretty exciting.”