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Staying in the Box | Joan’s Hmr® Story

Staying in the Box | Joan’s Hmr® Story

Back in September of 2019, Joan Schanilec knew she needed change in her life. She could feel the progressive loss of energy and mobility and increased joint pain, but it wasn’t until she heard “pre-diabetic” and “high blood sugar” that she considered a lifestyle change.

“One day, something clicks, and you know it’s that time to make a healthy change in your life,” Joan mentions. “I have four daughters and 13 grandchildren, and I want to be around to watch them grow up and be a part of their lives.”

Not long after this realization, Joan received a postcard in the mail, inviting her to learn more about Altru’s Weight Management, an HMR® Program.

“I had tried other weight-loss programs and failed,” Schanilec says. “But they didn’t fail me, I failed them.”

Joan received a referral from her provider and shortly after started to meet with Altru’s health & wellness coaches to start her journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Joan had her first weigh-in on September 25, 2019.

“It was a shock,” says Joan.

Going into the program, Joan knew she wanted to improve her overall health while improving the way she felt about her appearance. “For me, I wasn’t as concerned about the pounds lost rather than creating new healthy habits that I could incorporate into my lifestyle.”

Altru’s Weight Management, an HMR® Program has two phases. Phase One includes the initial weight loss portion. Phase One is focused on “staying in the box” as Joan describes. “The program directs you to stay within the parameters of the program, such as eating HMR® meals and all of the fruits and vegetables you want,” Joan mentions. “If you stay in the box, you will lose weight.”

The program has the mentality that “more is better.” If participants are hungry, they should eat. But eat the right foods such as fruits, vegetables, or HMR® foods that are provided. Participants are asked to track all of their food and water in the HMR® app and add their weight every week.

When asked why the program has been successful for her, Joan’s answer was short and to the point: accountability. Rachel Aure is a health & wellness coach with the program and has been very influential in Joan’s journey.

“Rachel is great at holding you accountable and knows exactly when to praise you for doing a good job, but she isn’t afraid to challenge you and encourage you to set new goals each week,” Joan admits.

The program offers weekly group meetings with a health & wellness coach. Joan describes it as a safe place for people to talk about their successes, their struggles, tips & tricks and to offer help to those who are just starting the program. There are even Facebook groups with people from all over the country where participants share stories and recipes.

Joan said one of the things she’s enjoyed the most about the program is hearing the success stories of the others in her group and seeing changes in them that they might not see in themselves. “You become very close with those who are in your group,” Joan adds. “It makes it hard to leave them when you move on to the next phase.”

Joan Aure
Joan’s transformation from September 2019 to the current day.

Joan has now entered Phase Two of the program and isn’t looking back. She’s added physical activity into her weekly routine, something she had a hard time doing before the program. “Losing weight was a game-changer for me,” Joan says. “I have more core strength and I am able to try more physical activity than I ever have before.”

Phase Two of the program allows participants to add a little more variety to their meals. They can start adding lean proteins such as chicken and whole grains such as rice, along with their unlimited fruits and vegetables.

Joan has learned a lot about herself throughout her experience with Altru’s Weight Management, an HMR® Program. “I was making so many unhealthy choices before, and I’ve learned now how to control my cravings and the importance of daily activity.”

Pro Tip from Joan: If you’re craving something sweet, try blending a vanilla HMR® shake and add diet root beer for a low-calorie root beer float.

Since September, Joan has lost over 60 pounds and has incorporated new healthy choices into her life. “This isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,” Joan says. “This is a forever thing.” Throughout her journey, Joan has been able to continue doing the things she loves such as spending time with family and friends, volunteering and traveling, bringing her HMR® foods along for the ride.

“This program gives you the tools you need to succeed,” Joan says. “We each have been given one body to live in, and if you feel weight loss would benefit you and lead you to a healthier lifestyle, please consider trying Altru’s Weight Management, an HMR® Program.”

For more information about Altru’s Weight Management, HMR® Program, visit

*In published studies, average weight loss is 43-66 lbs. for the in-clinic Decision Free® plan and 28 – 37.5 lbs. for the Healthy Solutions® plan for those who completed 12 -26 weeks.