How Pam dropped 83 pounds, lowered her A1C, and reduced her blood pressure meds

How Pam dropped 83 pounds, lowered her A1C, and reduced her blood pressure meds

Pam Kanarr
Manatee County Sheriff's Office

With the combination of lifestyle changes and Bariatric Surgery I went from 237lbs, size 22-24 clothes, to 154lbs. I have lost 83lbs and now I wear a small-medium. My A1-C went from 6.7 to 5.2. I am off my blood pressure meds completely, I rarely need pain meds for my fibromyalgia and I am about to start taking stand-up paddleboard lessons.

I carried that 237lbs for about 15 years. I tried weight loss programs and I would lose a little weight and gain it back. I finally decided to try the County’s Bariatric surgery program. I had to lose 10% of my body weight in order to participate. That meant I had to be 213lbs before I would be eligible and ready for the surgery. I decided I needed help so I contacted Mirabai Holland, to see if health coaching could make the difference.

Having her support and feedback on a regular basis helped me become more focused on what I wanted and needed to do. We would construct small doable goals that helped me be accountable because each session my health coach and I would discuss if I had been able to fulfill my goals. Mirabai would give me positive feedback when I completed them. During the times when I was struggling she would help me tweak or in some cases just make new goals that were redefined to help me stay in my comfort zone and still make progress.

It took me at about a year to get going. Old habits die hard.

Many of my family were very overweight and morbidly obese up to 500lbs. I had genetics and the habits learned from my family against me. There were lots of sugary treats, lots of fatty foods and few veggies and fruits. Plus inactivity. Their idea of exercise was bowling once a week.

My journey to better health would take 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

I told Mirabai I wanted to give up during the first few months and Mirabai said maybe try a little longer and showed me testimonials from people who had succeeded and felt good and got healthier and that there was no hurry, no time frame. It’s a marathon not a sprint. And so I continued because after talking with Mirabai I felt more hopeful.

Little by little I was able to change my eating habits. I substituted old favorite unhealthy foods for new favorite healthy foods.

We did several food recalls and I tracked my food on fitbit for a while. I started incorporating more lean protein into my diet, adding in boiled eggs and almonds for snacks. I worked on better breakfast choices like plain instant oatmeal putting in nuts, berries and apples instead of sugar. I started to eat salads at lunchtime. I started seeing results and feeling better.

When I felt ready I started an exercise program.

Mirabai told me I should ease in so I slowly increased my activity level.

She showed me how to perform exercises correctly and modified them to accommodate my orthopedic shoulder and knee issues. The program started before surgery with really easy movements that felt good to my body a few minutes every day plus counting steps (5000 a day and now anywhere between 12,000-20,0000).

Now after surgery I exercise every day, walking 30-45 minutes. I do the exercises Mirabai gave me, which are a combination strength, stretch and cardio, the three major components of fitness. We also developed specific strength exercises to firm up problem areas like my core, inner thighs and arms.

In addition, I worked with Allison Minardi who was very helpful.

She kept me on track with a combination of walking and personal training before and after my surgery.

I discussed with Mirabai that I was having trouble getting a good night sleep so we talked about getting a sleep study test and I found out I had sleep apnea and got a machine that help me sleep better. Once I got the sleep apnea machine and was sleeping better it help lessen my stress. As I lost weight, my sleep improved, and I was able to manage stress better at work and home.

I would recommend health coaching for anybody to improve their lifestyle, particularly those who have bad habits that have impacted their health for decades, because it helps to guide them in a direction that they didn’t know they could go before. Combination of support and resources from Mirabai was imperative.

In my spare time I volunteer at the Palma Sola Botanica Park where I take care the butterfly garden. I nourish caterpillars and help them stay healthy so they can transform into butterflies.

I can relate to that.

Manatee YourChoice members receive their first five health coaching sessions at no cost. Visit to learn more.


Comments (4)

  • Allison Minardi

    Allison Minardi

    16 October 2018 at 09:59 | #

    Way to go Pam!!!!


  • Florey Miller

    Florey Miller

    16 October 2018 at 10:37 | #

    Great to hear you are doing so well, Pam! You need to be proud of yourself!


  • Michelle Coffey

    Michelle Coffey

    30 October 2018 at 10:01 | #

    You have worked so hard Pam, thank you so much for sharing your butterfly story!


  • Niki Burgess

    Niki Burgess

    06 November 2018 at 08:12 | #

    your butterfly story is so motivating, encouraging & inspirational. Lifestyle changes are good and I plan on making some new ones myself. A family member of mine is getting ready to have bariatric surgery & I plan on sharing with her your inspirational story. Thank you for sharing.


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