Category Archives: Success Stories


Weight Loss Success: How Nancy Lost 100 Pounds

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This is a guest post from our patient, Nancy W., who shares her weight loss success story of losing 100 pounds. 

I had always struggled with my weight, and in the end, it seemed my weight just kept going up. Everything seemed to take so much energy; it was easier to just sit in a chair. I was embarrassed to go on trips because of my size, so it simplified matters to just stay home.

I also had high blood pressure, and my doctor told me I was headed toward becoming a diabetic because of all the extra weight I was carrying. I knew my high blood pressure was caused by my weight, and I didn’t want to become a diabetic. I needed help!

When I was taking a college Trigonometry class, my teacher always came in drinking his shake and told us his story of how he had lost weight. Since I kept inquiring about his diet, he placed Dr. Sam’s business card next to my books and told me to make an appointment.

When I made the appointment, I thought his scale was 10 pounds off because it registered 10 pounds less than mine! I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from college and trying to hold a full time job and had lost 10 pounds the month before I met Dr. Sam.

I started the diet with the shakes and bars. I mixed up the flavors of the shakes and bars, having a different one each time, so I wouldn’t get tired of eating or drinking them. I looked to Dr. Sam for guidelines of the food choices I should make in the day, how much protein, veggies and calories I should consume, and I tried to stay within what he suggested.

Getting a gym membership helped me stay focused on what I was trying to achieve. Exercising every day helped tone my body and gave me a positive outlook to stay on track with the diet, which helped me lose the weight.

After losing 100 pounds and going from a size 24/26 to a size 10/12, I feel like a different person with much more energy and a positive outlook on life.

Thank you Dr. Sam and your office staff for the help and support in getting my life back!

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your weight loss success story with us! We are so proud of you. 


Setting Weight Loss Milestones (and How to Celebrate Reaching Them)

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In a previous post about the power of negative thinking, I talked about how I used negative thinking to help me overcome my desire for high-carb foods and starchy foods. And I’ve had a great amount of success doing it – so much so that my family and friends shake their heads in disbelief when I easily turn down pasta dishes, breads and desserts.

Controlling my desire for carb-rich foods is one of the reasons I feel I’ve been so successful in my weight loss over the past 13 months – but that doesn’t mean I’ve never indulged now and then. I have a system of weight loss milestones worked out, and I reward myself with one carb-heavy meal every time I hit a new one.

You see, when you set out to work on big project – and weight loss and wellness definitely count as a big project – it’s always advisable to set milestones of achievement (smaller interim goals) between the start and the end goal. When you reach a milestone, it should be a cause for a minor celebration as a way to bolster your resolve and to mark your achievement. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back and a reward because it’ll just make you work that much harder to get to your next goal along the way!

When we’re talking about substantial weight loss, the milestones can be set fairly reasonably – giving yourself a little celebration for losing a decent percentage of your weight toward your final goal. So if you are trying to lose, say, 100 pounds, you might consider making every 20 or 25 pounds a weight loss milestone and a reason to celebrate. Of course, you should be careful not to make your milestones too easy to achieve because then they are likely to not feel like much of an accomplishment and defeat the purpose.

I had an enormous amount of weight to lose, starting as I did at 526 pounds. I told myself that I would stick to my food plan and live without eating high carb foods until I had dropped a significant portion of my weight. My first goal I set was 399 pounds.

Now, looking back, that was probably a pretty hard milestone to reach, and I probably should have made my first one at about 450 pounds. But I’m proud to say I still managed to achieve the first milestone I set in only 28 weeks, losing 137 pounds between January 2013 and August 2013!

michael before after

As a reward, I had promised myself I could go to any restaurant of my choosing and order a reasonably sized meal with an appetizer, main course and dessert and enjoy every bite guilt-free for all my hard work. It happened that I was taking a vacation to Virginia and Washington DC the week after I reached my first milestone, so I saved my special dinner until I had the chance to get to the Capital and find a really great restaurant.

My family took me to an amazing place called the Brasserie Beck right on K Street, just down from the Capital Building – a French/Belgian restaurant owned by award-winning chef Robert Wiedmaier. We dined on some truly amazing cuisine, and I can honestly say I think I had the best meal of my life. The crème brûlée was to die for!

But the very next day, I was back to my no high-carb food plan, having thoroughly enjoyed my reward, and looking forward to my next milestone at 349 pounds. Was it hard to go back to eating no carb-rich foods after a meal of boeuf carbonnade and crème brûlée? Surprisingly, not at all. I was darned proud of my weight loss and wanted to get to my next milestone goal with honesty and hard work.

So, set some reasonable weight loss milestones and give yourself a little celebration every time you hit one. It makes dieting a lot more exciting if you know it’s not all drudgery and deprivation along the way.

PS: I should mention that as I write this post, I’m already nearing another milestone of 299 pounds and have plans to go out for a sushi night with my friends once I get there! It makes me really look forward to my next check-up and weigh-in at Dr. Sam’s office – I’m sure I’m going to hit the mark this next appointment! 


Weight Loss Success: How I Learned to Change My Eating Habits

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This is a letter I received from my patient, Annette Wright, who wanted to share her weight loss success story. 

Dear Dr. Sam,

I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me. I have struggled with my weight for many years. I heard about you from a coworker who is seeing you, as well. She had lost a lot of weight under your guidance, and I thought it would be worth talking to you.

After my first visit, you encouraged me and taught me what foods I should stay away from and gave me ideas of what to eat and when. I understood from the very first day I wouldn’t have to go hungry, but just change what I was eating. I started by cutting out a lot of starchy carb-based foods because you said this was what had been causing my issues with my sugar dropping. The first week, I had withdrawals, even though I still had some breads. By the third week, I was ready to cut them out all together.

My husband was a huge help with my weight loss. He gave me many ideas on what to do and try. In the warmer weather, I had a lettuce wrap sandwich for lunch at work. As it got colder and I needed more substance and warmth for the cold, I used beans as a base and added as many veggies as I could, along with seasoning and some cheese. Dinners became a variety of meats and veggies, including homemade sausages.

Early on, I knew I would need to eat some of my old favorites. I decided to see what I could do to make them healthier. I searched the Web and asked you about different food and what would be good bases to start with. That is when I learned how good beans were for me. I started using bean flour in more recipes. It is great as a thickener for soups and stews. My daughter made banana bread with it, and it turned out pretty good! I used it to make bean noodles for lasagna.

I am also a chocoholic. That being said, I needed something I could eat without disrupting my new healthy eating plan. That is when I found an awesome recipe for black bean brownies. These turned out great, and I made sure I had some all through the holidays so I could enjoy these while not feeling left out or being bad with my eating habits. I also made some almond cardamom cookies as a variation.

Other helpful weight loss tactics I have tried include making veggie smoothies in the morning in order to increase my veggie intake. I knew I wouldn’t keep up with it daily, so I cut veggies for three days and keep them in a glass container so they are ready and I don’t have to do it daily.

I am on a tight budget, so I follow a local coupon site to see what is on sale and when to plan my shopping around the best prices. When dining out and the servers bring that big basket of carbs, I send it back so I’m not tempted (after clearing it with my husband!).

I am not big on keeping up with calorie counters, but every so often I enter everything in for a few days to make sure I’m still in the range I want to be. I have also found a few exercise videos that I enjoy, and I walk whenever I can. I work on my feet all day, so some days and times are harder for exercise, but I keep trying to push myself a little more.

Thanks again, Dr. Sam, for all your help, and I hope this letter helps someone else to achieve weight loss success!


Annette Wright


Weight Loss Success: 50 Pounds Lost & Learning to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

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This is a guest post from Shelley Tessmer, a patient of Dr. Sam’s who he successfully helped lose weight.

Hi, I’m Shelley, a 47-year-old woman who has been married for 25 years and has a 17-year-old son. I’m a finance professional who works 40+ hours a week and volunteers five days a week at our local animal shelter.

I first came to Dr. Sam’s office on August 26, 2009 weighing 171.5 pounds with a body fat percentage of 38.6. At that time, I was 43 years old. Today I am very proud to say I weigh 118.5 pounds with a body fat percentage of 22.4.

Here are my before and after photos. One taken when I started with Dr. Sam and one taken recently at the Zac Brown concert with my son and his girlfriend. Big difference, right?


shelley before








shelley after








The secret to my weight loss success is due to Dr. Sam and his staff. I find that being held accountable is how I have achieved my continuous and steady weight loss. Along with checking in with Dr. Sam, regularly using the weight loss/maintenance products he prescribed is how I maintain my weight.

Each day, I rise at 5 a.m. and exercise. This is key, everyone must exercise! I have always exercised. I have run 19 marathons in my lifetime and competed in several half ironman competitions, yet I let my weight get out of control through my obsession with hanging out with my friends and drinking too much wine over time. I learned that no matter how much you work out, bad habits will continue to add pounds, as evidenced by my beginning weight when I went to Dr. Sam in 2009.

As I mentioned, I start my day at 5 a.m. and exercise by running with my two golden retrievers or on the treadmill. Then I drink an Optifast 800 shake at my desk as I work. I eat a healthy, light lunch, which is well balanced. Throughout the day, I snack on protein bars or fruit. My favorites are the Chocolate Almond and Peppermint Cocoa Crunch. I drink three quarts of water a day at my desk, as well. I used to drink several Diet Cokes a day, but now I don’t. This is the result of adding Topamax to my diet regimen.

A huge contributor to my weight loss success has been the addition of Topamax. Topamax has made the taste of wine horrible. Like I said, I’m a fan of wine. I also have a large network of friends who drink wine and socialize. The first time I took Topamax and had a glass of wine, I could hardly stomach it. The taste was literally unbearable, so much so that I poured out the bottle thinking it was bad. I tried a different bottle the next day, and the same thing happened.

A few days passed, and the desire to drink wine was gone. By adding this medicine to my weight loss program, I have lost the last of my “back fat”. You know what I mean, the fat that is “old fat” – the fat that hangs on until the bitter end.

Now, I have no more fat left on my body to lose. I am down to a size 2. None of my clothes fit. My friends cannot believe the transformation! People who haven’t seen me in years or even months are shocked at my weight loss. I have always been a size 12, or at times in my life, even bigger.

Now, look at me! I will never go back to what I was. I have learned what it takes to lose weight in a healthy way thanks to Dr. Sam and his staff.

I still go out with my friends. I still go to the bar and out to dinner, yet I do things differently now. You can, too.

I am a regular 47-year-old with a full-time job. I am also a mom, a wife, a volunteer and super busy with a full schedule that keeps me on the go constantly. If I can successfully lose weight with limited free time, anyone can.

I am a huge proponent of Dr. Sam’s work and owe him my life. He has saved me from a life of obesity and ill health! Thank you, Dr. Sam!