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Robbin's Story: A Journey to Better Health

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A year ago Robbin O’Neal would eat cookies or a bag of chips for lunch. She’d often wash it down with 104 ounces of regular soda a day

“My go-to food was always cakes, cookies and chips,” recalled O’Neal. “I would eat all that stuff you are not supposed to have. That was my breakfast, lunch and dinner.” 

O’Neal found out the hard way her eating habits were taking their toll on her health when she was diagnosed with diabetes. 

“I remember telling Robbin she needed to start taking medication to get her blood sugar under control,” said Gati Droove, MD, UnityPoint Clinic Multi-Specialty. “She seemed so shocked. I believe lifestyle changes are often underestimated. It is very important to consider lifestyle modifications along with medications so we had a frank discussion about her daily routines and identified areas to change.” 


“Prior to that appointment, I remember Dr. Dhroove telling me in so many words I needed to change my ways. I didn’t initially take her suggestions seriously. When she put me on medication – that was the wake-up call I needed to make some serious changes.”

 The first thing O’Neal did was ditch the soda. She instead reached for two bottles of water on her way to work. Just cutting out soda and junk food alone helped her drop 16 pounds in three months. 

“We set up a follow-up plan for her,” said Dr. Dhroove. “She had education through UnityPoint Clinic on healthy  eating so she had the knowledge to put into action. I was able to monitor her weight loss through periodic touch base sessions. She kept a journal, which recorded what she ate and twice a day blood sugar checks.”

 “Nowadays I stay away from fast food,” said O’Neal. “I use a salad plate as my dinner plate. I don’t go back for seconds and I eat real food – fruits, vegetables and protein. I generally stay away from processed foods, carbs and sugar.” 


 “Whenever I talk with a patient about making changes to their diet – I emphasize short-term and long-term goals,” said Dr. Dhroove. “It’s important to have both. Once you start achieving those short-term goals you feel successful. It’s important to your long-term success, which is ultimately making lifestyle changes. It takes days, months and years to change the behavior you have been doing most of your life.” 

Since she began her journey to better health a little over a year ago – O’Neal has lost about 50 pounds. 

“I looked at what I was eating and realized it’s a lot of empty calories,” said O’Neal. “I was eating many things I just didn’t need. I don’t miss  my soda. I feel good. I keep going back to those early frank discussions I had with Dr. Dhroove. I remember thinking back then – ‘why am I going to the doctor and wasting her time and mine if I don’t do something and make some positive changes?’ It was up to me all along – I had to want to make these changes and I’m so glad I did.”

 “It feels good I can make a positive difference in a patient’s life,” said Dr. Dhroove. “I have a partnership with my patients and it’s up to both of us to work together as a team to do what we can to prevent future health problems.” 

As for O’Neal – her blood sugar is down, which prompted Dr. Dhroove to reduce her diabetes medication. She’s now hoping to get off diabetes medication soon – all thanks to her healthy eating and weight loss. Find your partner in health today. 

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